My parents finished their conversation, and it was obvious that one of them was heading up to speak to me. I turned from the window and stood in the middle of the room, mentally running through my nonexistent options for escape.

Soon I could tell by the sound of the steps it was my father. His walk was slower, heavier, more deliberate. My mother tended to move up the stairs in a sprint. He lightly knocked on the door and slowly turned the knob. The door opened slightly, and he peeked in. His easy half smile, almost a look of innocent curiosity, assured me that, at least for now, the beating would wait.

"Hey, Main Man, do you mind if I come in?" I'm told that he had many terms of endearment for me, but Main Man is the one I remember. I didn't even look up but nodded slowly. He had to duck to clear the low doorway. He picked me up and, as he sat on the bed, placed me on his lap. As I sat there, all of my anxiety released. I could not have felt safer, more secure. He began to explain what I did wrong and why my mother was so angry. "Main Man, you just can't hit people, and particularly women. You must defend them, not fight them. Do you understand?"

I nodded, then asked, "Is Mommy mad at me?"

"No, Mommy loves you, like I love you, she just wants you to do the right thing."
Excerpted from The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore Copyright ?? 2010 by Wes Moore. Excerpted by permission of Random House Group, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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