I watch you as you dial the phone.
I am filled with malevolence that seethes inside me like water bubbling over in a pot.
I am angry. I don’t want to go see my relatives either. But I must. I’ve agreed and I consider myself a man of my word. Even if you and your mother don’t think so. I am tired of making conversation. I am tired of making small talk. I just want to sit in front of the TV and look at transformers and Macaulay Culkin celebrating Christmas in a hotel.
You’re speaking woefully, as if the excuse you’re making is real. As if you really are being held back by an unnamed client. As if you’re not lying to have your own way. I loathe it when I have to lie for you. No matter how many times you point out the fact that I seem to lie effortlessly when it suits me, I dislike it immensely when I must do it for someone else.
You put down the phone, your face in smiles. “I’m free! I’m off the hook!” you squeal.
I try to stop my lips from moving but I can’t. I open my mouth, and the words, “Why are you so happy? If this is the way you want to conduct your life, then what can anyone do?”
You stop moving abruptly. I know I’ve hurt you, and I take some pleasure in it. Why should I suffer alone tonight? They’re your family too. It’s your duty to come. So what if they’re boring?
You look at me steadily. You are upset…but you’re trying to hide it. “If you say so Daddy,” you say and walk away.
I want to stop you but I won’t. I will my eyes back to the TV as you disappear past dining room.
I know this will be another thing you will remember for years and I will forget in an hour.