A dysfunctional branch.
“Oh swell…” my mother said. “Maybe we’ll be abducted by a Klingon Bird of Prey,” offered my father.
Seeing my big eyes, in a voice so flat it made a pancake look round he said, “We’re going to Uncle Milton’s in July.”
This was one of those puzzle moments kids of fourteen need subtitles to understand. Uncle Milton was rich, had a big property by a lake, and he’d always been cheerful and friendly at random social occasions.
Unlike my father’s other brothers and sisters who were seen outside of weddings/funerals Uncle Milton was a distant figure. Every year, however, he invited one family to spend the summer on his property. I understand that the last time we were the guests I was three years old. I remember the sun shining on the lake, and snails in the garden…
“You’ll find out…” my mother said to me.
We spent a lot of money on clothing, although my father said; “Don’t worry, he’ll find fault.”
We drove all the way up to the Lake. I sat in the back with my earphones near my ears. With my long hair covering them and swaying a bit my folks figured I couldn’t hear them.
They were speaking low, I caught a few words; ego manic, megalo manic, control freak, and bits and pieces of past acts which seemed to be done to make whomever they were done to feel small.
We arrived about six pm, tired, dirty, hungry. As we got onto the long drive and pulled up at the front door, there wasn’t any welcoming committee. We waited for a moment, looking at the huge house; “Are you sure this is the right place, Daddy?”
“Oh yeah…” he said.
He went to the door, knocked and out came Aunt Molly, telling us, nervously that Uncle Milton hadn’t returned yet. She seemed afraid to let us in, then did. His kids were there, all blandly dressed and silent.
I was tired and being fourteen and outspoken said something about going to my room. Aunt Molly said that Milton hadn’t assigned the rooms yet. I must of jerked at this idiotic remark, and she looked at me, looked at my father, then smiled in that false way grown ups do and said, as if imparting the answers to next week’s exam; “We don’t do things in this house like that.”
Published in: Family