Bait

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Baiting, he says, “You’re a procrastinator.”

I ignore it a full three seconds and then bite:

“Some people have more to worry about than themselves.”

To which he replies, “You’re full of shit.”

I abstain.

“Why do you have to push everything to the last minute?  You know we had to get gas before we leave for the doctors…”

Just keep driving, eyes on the road, I insist to myself. I know he’s baiting.

I know how he deflects the dissatisfaction of an 82 year old man who needs to be driven to doctors now, and I pray for patience and composure to rise above my own self pity.

“I mean, it may be okay for you who always runs out of gas…” 

“Dad, I haven’t run out of gas…oh maybe once, but…”

“Yeah, don’t give me bullshit; you run out of gas the way you put everything off.”

Fucking traffic at 7:00 in the morning…it’s my one day off before I work tonight…

“You like living like that but I don’t like ruining cars like you do…”

“The car did not need gas; it was not even below a quarter of a tank, and your fucking neurotic obsession about insignificant bullshit doesn’t change that fact!!!”

“Yeah, sure, you know best. I’m not as smart as you. We all can’t be as smart as you.”

Shaking my head in silence, the anger spat out of me like a solar flare, scarring its landing like the faint white stitched line just below my abdomen ever reminding me that we evolve, leaving behind ancestral appendages no longer useful to us as outgrown beginnings. 

Baited, I bit. Again. Just waiting for the flip side…and three…two…one…

“But I appreciate everything you do for me. Really I do. I can’t thank you enough.”

And so it goes, we two relics, this dance we substitute for conversation underneath which lies halved relationships lost to time, decay, disorder and disease. 

Eggs Out

  

  
“I was going to make you a cake, but I had no eggs,” she cried and then crumpled to the floor. No consoling her. She was crushed, fragile as the empty space where the egg carton used to be–a shadow of a former delicate, susceptible embryo container.

She too had been plucked from her mother’s warmth too soon, arresting her world in a devil’s playground of tears and fearful misfortunes always on the verge, always.

“It’s okay, really okay. It was their time to fly. You couldn’t have known. It’s not your fault. I love cake, but I love you more. Come up and sit beside me this time, just now.” 

She wiped her nose in the plaid flannel folds of her elbow and rose. It was over.