He comes in.

Looking up, she sees him and asks, “You’re already here?”

Clearly, it’s a verbal tic. As an expression, it puzzles him. They’re looking at him and asking if he’s already there, when he clearly is. But that’s the nature of those things, something employed to buy some thinking time.

It’s one of two tics which dominate the family. He’s been away so much, he doesn’t have them, so he notices. The other comes up as he says, “I’ve already put the garbage out,” or, “I already ate lunch.”

The reply comes back, “Really?”

He mostly bites back the response, “No, I’m making these things up.”


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