Standing in front of his house nostalgia hit him like a wave, creating a tingling sensation in his gut. His house, his beautiful house with a garage, a mowed lawn in private society, some would say he was a lucky man. It had been six months since he had left this house. However, it felt like years, and he wondered if it was a good thing or a bad one. He exhales, deeply, exactly how a wrestler would have exhaled before entering the ring, getting ready for the fight of his life and he opens the door to his house.
The smell of food washes over him making his belly rumble; he had missed his mother’s cooking. He sees his mother, who looks up to him and smiles. Putting his suitcase down beside the front door, he mirrors her, comes close to her, and holds her in his arms, rubbing her arm gently as if to soothe a non-existent bruise on it. He breathes her in, she smells warm and familiar, and he is at ease for a moment. His sister carrying the dishes to the dining room stops, when she sees him, greets him loudly, and smiles.
He sees in the lounge sitting on the couch, scrolling on his phone, his father. Hearing his daughter’s loud greeting, his father looks up and meets his son’s eyes. He senses his father’s mood, even from a distance, just like he always could.
“How are you, my son? Everything alright?” A pause. “I hope you are sleeping well at night?” His father continues giving out a sharp laugh.
“Yes, everything’s perfect!” He takes a step forward like a cat ready to pounce.
His mother, however, interrupts him, “Dinner is ready! Let us eat it while it’s hot!” she says in a fake loud cheer.
His brother appears in the lounge just then, “I hope I didn’t miss out on the big show.” His brother whispers to him, “I even saved some popcorn to enjoy it!”
“Hah Hah… very funny!” He slaps his brother with all his might.
“Ouch! Blame the circus, not the audience!”
While the family is having dinner, everyone adds tidbits of random talks to keep the conversation flowing, laughing lightly at some funny things. To an outsider it would look like a perfect family but, to someone with good observational skills, it would feel like a show on Broadway, people would never pay to watch.
“Your sister made the cake for dessert! Would you like to have some?” His mother offers.
“No, it’s fine, I can’t eat anymore,” he says.
“Leave him! It’s obvious he doesn’t care about his family!” his father quips loudly.
“What? When did caring for my family become linked to my lack of appetite!” He suddenly turns to his father, offended.
“I am not talking about your appetite! I am talking about your irresponsible attitude!” his father answers.
During this argument, an observer will notice how everyone else in the room has gone quiet, holding their breath, exactly how a skydiver with a faulty parachute would, before his impact to the ground.
“My irresponsible attitude?” He asks, already knowing what his father is talking about.
“Yes! How dare you leave that university!? Do you know how many people envied you for getting in? Now they will laugh at your face because now they have proof of how big of a failure you are!” His father bellows.
“Please stop this, calm down! you don’t know what you are saying!” His mother puts a hand on his father’s shoulder to calm him down.
His father shakes her mother’s handoff. “Shut the hell up, you!” His hands go up and his wife flinches, but he stops, remembering that his rage is not for her. He redirects it towards his son.
“Tell me! Why did you leave that university?” His father inquires again.
At that moment, he feels helpless, voiceless even, why did he leave the university?
Words come out as a sob as if the tears spilling from his eyes are words as if he is defying the rules of nature. But his father does not believe in the extraordinary.
“Answer me, damn it!!!!” His father stands up in a rage, toppling his chair
“I left because I felt cold there!”
A wrong thing to say to his Father, he realizes.
Too late! he is slapped square on his face…