David Huddle’s story, “Poison Oak,” appeared in NER 1.3 (1979):
Just before bedtime I slipped outside to stand for a while in the yard. I was afraid of the dark, and so I would not walk all the way around our house, but the side yard held shafts of light from the windows of my parents’ bedroom and my father’s study. I went along the edges of the lighted grass and stood for what seemed like a very long time. My father, with his glasses tipped down to the end of his nose, was so serious when I looked in at him like that, but I knew he was more kind than he looked when he was working in his study. On the ceiling upstairs I could see the moving shadows my mother made as she got ready to go to bed. I was not able to see her, but the shadows told me she was there, all right, in her nightgown, brushing her hair or putting cold cream on her face. Standing out on the damp grass, with cricket and frog noises all around, and looking into my own house, I imagined I had spun loose from my family.