He came over today, just walked in like he owned the place. New shirt I thought, but old shorts I recognized so I let the shirt slide. I avoid eye contact when I’m anxious or irritated but this time I was neither so I looked right at him when he spoke. Not much to say, per usual, but I gave him a courtesy laugh at the end of each joke.
I ducked into the kitchen, hemmed and hawed over unfinished lunch boxes, knowing he would follow. I get nervous when he’s close to me, like his dirty lust-filled electrons might leap off and infect my newly grown skin. He kept his distance though, so I relaxed a bit, shoulders slouched and back swayed, hips jutting out like they owned the place. He talked about movies and music and other things equally as unimportant, leaving me to fight with peanut-butter and jelly and half-peeled bananas alone at the counter.
We danced politely around it all, like always. I poker-faced-up bravely and fought onward until the school bell was close to ringing, and reminded them all softly that it was time to go.
They hurried out together, clumsily piling into the sterile apartment hallway, loaded up with book bags and lunch boxes and big smiling faces. They always smile when he comes to see them, even when those times are stretched and far between, diluted to an almost transparent thin nothing. Its like time doesn’t exist between the four of them, like they all belong to some secret dimension that suspends such inconveniences when father’s don’t show up.
Honestly though, sometimes I can’t tell if they are the ones being conned or if it’s just me, and I’m the poor sad sappy sucker stuck in this shit storm on top of this tree.