Family & Friends
Featuring stories by writers Rhuar Dean, Ellen Goodlett, Marilyn Messenger, Melanie White, and L.S. Bassen; performed by Calaine Schafer, Mark Woollett, Jeff Wills, Andrea Marshall-Money and Hannah Seusy. Hosted by Andrew Lloyd-Jones at KGB Bar on 5th February 2014.
After 38 years, Carl had had enough, but he wanted more. Both his sons were married and had each reproduced twice. Carl had finally moved to the top of the tallest ziggurat he was likely to climb, the presidency of an international bank branch in Palm Beach, specializing, predictably, in wealth management. Carl had loathed banking since his first appointment, post-Princeton (’70), in Syracuse, NY, having married into an influential family there where his wife, his roommate’s sister, recreated her mother’s diorama-life with their boys.
The night lights twitched and died along the hospital corridor. Pete slowed, not sorry for an excuse to put off his visit. The wards were dim enough at this hour; now they fell from medicinal blue to lifeless grey. Monitors blipped through the quiet, drowned out now and then by a quailing newborn. Each warbling cry was different from the next, yet each sounded... normal. Right. Pete had had time to register this, slumping in one of the waiting area’s orange plastic chairs throughout last night, and now this one.
Family first. That is the way we have always operated, for generations now – my mother before me, her father before her, and so on up the chain. Sometimes we skip generations; sometimes we hopscotch from matrilineal to patrilineal lines, but you can always tell who is true family. Their priorities prove it. Everyone in the family has a job, and they do that job to make us stronger, as a whole. They put us before anything and anyone else in their lives, and we put them before our lives, and together we thrive. It is a proven formula. It works.
Ruth spent Christmas day alone, but she has no problems with this. It has been a quiet but pleasant day and she is looking forward to the pleasure of a visit from her son, Mark, on Boxing Day. Ruth knows how busy he has been over the last few weeks and she is all set to spoil him a little with his favourite food.
I think mummy is very beautiful. Her hair is beautiful, long and straight like a pony. She has a beautiful face, it is gentle and happy. She smiles a lot, all the time to people even if she doesn’t know them, and they always smile back. Sometimes she tilts her head when she speaks to people so that her hair drops off the side of her face like a waterfall. I often tilt my head like that now, like I’m thinking or I’m trying to look beautiful like mummy. I don’t smile at strangers, daddy says I mustn’t, but mummy can. I only like mummy, daddy and Carla. Rosa isn’t very nice.