Paul was still so exhausted that he nearly fell over getting out of his car. As he was walking toward the front door he felt like if he didn’t lie down again soon, he was going to pass out. The last thing he expected when he walked into the house was to see his mom and dad sitting on the couch in the living room, yet there they were. To Paul, it seemed surreal. “Hi son” His dad said as their eyes met. Paul didn’t know how to interpret the emotion in his dad’s voice.
“Hi. What are you guys doing here?”
“Well, your sister called us. She was concerned about you; and so are we.”
“There’s nothing to be concerned about. It’s all good. You didn’t need to drive all this way to rescue me. I’m fine.” That’s what Paul wanted to say at first, but he hesitated and said what he was really feeling instead. “You should be.”
“We’re taking you back with us.”
“Good. When are we leaving?”
Paul’s father was taken aback by that reply. He had expected some resistance, maybe even an ensuing argument. After a slight hesitation, he said “Tomorrow morning, after you have your things packed.”
Paul processed that, pausing for just a moment, and said “Okay. I’d like to go to bed now.
“Don’t you think we should talk about all this?” his dad asked.
Paul’s reply was wearily stated “No…Not ever. I just want to get out of here for a while…to clear my head…get my shit together.” It was the first time Paul could recall swearing in front of his parents, outside of telling a joke. He wasn’t sure how it would be received, and really didn’t care, with the way he felt. It just seemed appropriate – bluntly accurate. “I really need to go to bed now if you don’t mind. I need to sleep.” His dad was confused but nodded his head. He could tell that Paul was not trying to be rebellious or argumentative but was truly exhausted. He looked like he was about to keel over right there. He wanted to know what was going on but he knew now was not the time to ask for the answer. Paul went into his bedroom and quietly closed the door. Stripped himself down to his underwear and climbed between the bed sheets. He couldn’t believe how good his bed felt. He was asleep a few seconds later.
When Paul awoke Monday morning, he could hear his parents talking to someone. Listening closer, he could tell it was Karen. He couldn’t hear what they were saying exactly, but the conversation sounded like it was a bit heated. He guessed that he was most likely the main topic. He started to put on the clothes he had thrown on the desk chair the night before, but realizing he had worn those same clothes for the past couple days and seeing the sweaty salt stains on the shirt, he changed his mind and put on a fresh pair of jeans and a clean t-shirt. He combed his hair the best he could, which is to say, not very well at all. He had let it grow out to near shoulder length during high school and without washing it since Friday morning, it had become a dirty, tangled mess. Still, he tried to make it look the best it could before he went out to talk with his parents. He didn’t want to talk about this with them or anyone else, ever; but he knew it was inevitable. The conversation between Karen and Paul’s parents came to an abrupt halt when Paul stepped out into their view. There was dead silence and everyone was frozen, as if somebody had hit a pause button on a remote. Breaking the stillness and silence, Karen got up from the couch and walked quickly across the room, turned to her parents and said “let me talk to him.” She grabbed Paul’s arm, pulled him back into his room, and closed the door.
Copyright © 2015 Mr. Flying Pig