Before I know it we’ve weaved our way out of the suburbs and onto the highway. The ride home is usually about 4 hours but more often than not I fall asleep for most of the ride.
It’s been nearly a half hour in this car before my father asks me, “How was school this year?”
Before I can properly mull this question over my mother is already shrieking at me, “Your father asked you a question.”
The crash of cymbals, the squealing of trumpets, the honking of the saxophone – all emanating from the car stereo; mother punches the power on the car’s stereo.
“Terribly nerve-racking music.” mother says to no one.
She stares momentarily into the rear view mirror, long enough to burn a hole in the center of my forehead.
“Your. Father. Asked. You. A Question.”
“It’s no big deal.”
“It is a big deal, dear. He needs to learn respect.”
Fun, no? My parents continue their bickering back and forth about how disappointing a child I am. I tune it out until an appropriate time had elapsed and I felt like their argument should come to an end. In my never being around they had managed to forget I was there.
“-understand why you have to be so-” my father was saying when I decided to speak up.
“I learned what sedentary means.”
“Well mother you wanted me to answer father’s question. What I learned this year is what sedentary means.”
A stifled laugh, sounding more like a pigs snort, came from the passenger’s side of the car. I couldn’t be sure I’d heard what I heard; I wasn’t sure I ever heard either of my parents laugh, let alone smile. The only assurance that what I heard was real was the dark glances my mother kept shooting at my father. He and everyone else in the car was quiet from then on.