>Life Lesson #42


At a dinner party when he was seventeen, Gabriel remarked that this dressing smells like his favorite. He held the wooden salad bowl and healthfully scooped two servings before he passed it to his left. His Uncle Charles helped himself and handed the bowl to Peter, who received the bowl with a scant amount of balsamic vinaigrette-covered salad left. Two more people to his left still had empty salad plates.

Peter knew that there had been an injustice done and remembered his son’s comment. He saw the sizable portion on Gabriel’s plate and told him that he had taken too much. “Put some back,” he commanded. Gabriel defended himself by showing how much he had taken, and was confident that that he had done no wrong. But beneath Peter’s vehemence, he began to see that he had more before others had any.

Peter passed the bowl back across the table. Gabriel’s cheeks burned as his aunts and uncles looked on approvingly, silently. He put a serving back, returned the bowl to his father, and dinner proceeded.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.

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