Episode 1010: One Child“You’ve been quiet since you got home last night,” Bowie noted, handing his son an eggnog. “Everything okay?”
Bowie took the seat next to Jesse on the sofa deciding it was as good a time as any to take a quick break from the daylong endeavor of making Christmas dinner alongside his wife.
“You’re not feeling sick or anything?”
“I’d tell you. Obviously. Learned that lesson. I’m okay. Can I just watch the basketball game?” he gestured at the television, “Without an inquisition.”
“It’s not an inquisition, it’s caring about my kid.”
Jesse nodded, awarding Bowie a brief smile. “I know, sorry, just, like you noticed, I’m not in the best mood today.”
“Your girlfriend spending the holiday with her boyfriend?” Bowie asked in the gentlest possible way.
Jesse sighed. “Like I said, I just, I want to watch the game. Maybe you should send some of your caring Nate’s way, he’s the one studying on Christmas day.”
Sarette quickly tucked the Christmas card from her daughter into her handbag as her husband stepped into their bedroom from the adjoining bathroom. She immediately put distance between herself and the handbag as if just being near it, he’d see her guilt. A mother shouldn’t feel guilty for cherishing an unexpected holiday card from her daughter but things never had been the way they should be with regard to that relationship.
She straightened her husband’s festive red tie.
“All set for church?” he asked. “I just want to switch handbags, it won’t take a minute.”
“Good. That will leave us enough time to pick up Paul.”
“But he said-”
“I don’t care what he said. You don’t take time to be by yourself at Christmas. It’s selfish and some kind of cry for help, not to mention how it makes our family look that our only child is skipping out on Christmas with us. I won’t stand for it. It’s disrespectful to both of us. We’ll drag him to church if we have to. “He’s not a teenager, he shouldn’t be acting like one.”
Paul dragged his feet through the kitchen on his way to grabbing another cup of coffee. It was a weird way to spend Christmas, alone in his home, not a decoration in sight or anything remotely special planned for dinner. He felt guilty, too, knowing his dad expected a good showing from him in public, and his mom, well, she’d just plain want to share the day with him. But he’d felt so lost the last couple years, and it seemed like maybe the only way to figure it out was to just stop and take stock.