I Didn't Ask for Champagne
1451 words long
No one gets to choose how they feelóbut it seems unfair that someone else should get to choose how I'm going to feel.
Notes from the author:
Whenever I write a story featuring a dysfunctional family, I feel like I have to reassure the reader that it isnít autobiographical. Dadís neither a stockbroker nor a magician, and my clothes were just about never in fashion. My best friend did accuse me once of cheating at the Atari 2600 game ďBreakout,Ē but we made up about a week later.
Father comes home from work pleased with himself. That means this evening will be a good evening.
When Father comes home displeasedówith work, with the traffic, with the weatheróthen the evening is not so good. He says nothing to anyone about it, but his displeasure seeps through the house like fog, damp and chill. It soaks into everyoneís spirits until thereís nothing left to do but huddle in solitude, each in our own rooms, unable to find enjoyment in any solitary pastime. Nor is there any comfort to be had in company on such evenings. We all find ourselves easily irritated. We rub each other raw. All we can do is hide, or leave the house entirely. These days, I leave. I bike into town, or I just walk into the woods and lose myself for a while. Sometimes I donít come home until morning. It doesnít matter that Iíll get punished the next day for having been out alone after curfew, or for leaving the house while grounded for having stayed out late the last time. The punishment is preferable to putting up with that awful miasma of Fatherís evening sulk.
Itís because Father is a magician. Or he would be, anyway, if he ever got the training. But his parents refused to send him along, and once he got old enough to make his own decisions, he refused too. So he never really learned how to keep his emotions to himself. He never learned how to control what he can do.
I donít know yet if Iíve inherited the magic gene. Probably not; it usually shows up by the time youíre twelve. But itís not impossible for the talent to show up as late as your early twenties. If I turn out to be a late-bloomer, Iím damn well going to get myself trained, however you go about doing that. Iím not going to ask Fatherís permission, either. Itís not like I ask anyoneís permission to leave the house on the bad nights. You donít ask permission to escape, or to keep your body fed and healthy. You just do what you have to do.
Anyway, tonight Father is exceedingly pleased with himself, so weíre having a fantastic evening....
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for October 23, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1451 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.
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