The protagonist meets his parents. At last. Find out how their first meeting since goes. If you are unfamiliar with this series, click here to read from the beginning.
It wasn’t till they removed the machine before I felt it was time.
“I’m ready,” I said and breathed deeply. I savoured the lies against my tongue. The room was quiet and I could hear myself clearly now.
I almost missed that steady rhythm. That beep.
The nurse smiled at me. I think. It was in the way her touch lingered against my arm, the positivity in the sound of her step.
“I’ll be leaving you with them then,” she said. Click click she went. The handle was turned and a door swung open.
I hadn’t wanted mum and dad to see me like this. Still don’t. They made to visit every day and I told the nurse not to let them see me. They waited outside during visiting hours, likes always and when the hours ended, the nurse came in smelling lovely. She told me they brought flowers.
They had removed my restraints and I touched a finger to where the nurse had said she’d left them. She didn’t need to tell me. I knew where to by how they were by how they masked the air. The petals are unbruised and delicate to the touch. I imagined they were a blue. Mum always liked blues.
There was a turning of a handle, a door that swung open and I pulled my hand back from the flowers.
There was a pair of two steps. Two people not two legs. One of them stopped near the entrance, the other continued forward.
“Hello son,” said dad. There was a brevity to his voice that was unlike him.
Did I look that bad?
“I’m ok mum.” I still wasn’t used to the sound of my voice and I grinned. Part to mask my discomfort and part to mask hers.
“How are you?” she said, voice raspy with the quality of tears. She stepped forward and stopped somewhere where I last heard dad. He’d be holding her how I remembered, just different. Crying I imagined, the ways that lovers do.
I felt something wet string on my cheeks. “Never been better,” I said.
I’m not ready.
Not for this.
Mum and dad drew close and I held a hand each. Her hand was steady but shaking. His grip held firm.
They were looking at me. I knew, how I don’t know. I just knew they held themselves back. They were lying to me.
What were they thinking?
Lost in our facades, we stared at each other, unseeing.
Their lies felt more opaque than mine.