The Big C
Two for the Road

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Limited Omnipotent

She bought a twelve-pack of their father's favorite beer, before they left. He never bought it, because it was too expensive. Privately Paul thought that this was a metaphor for their family's existence, but couldn't resist the cheap shot. "So you're buying his love. That's nice." She understood what he meant.

They were already on the road, so it was time to admit he wasn't making amends. His unfinished business was actually unfinished: A time capsule buried in the yard, from a long time before he started splitting. He was fifteen. No business school, no curtain pulled. Not even the idea of a curtain, yet. When he father knew the face of the world and Sean was safe.

Sean turned on the radio, and Eckhardt Tolle began to speak. "Generally speaking, it is easier for a woman to feel and be in her body. So she's naturally closer to being, and potentially closer to enlightenment..." She was ashamed; self-help was shameful. Always. He laughed and blamed Eckhart Tolle, in a funny accent, for her new quest to be the perfect daughter. Sean's fingers twitched at the curtain.

"You really don't know, do you? Oh God," Sean groaned. "I thought maybe he was doing the same thing to you. Maybe I was just hoping I wasn't alone." Sean's sister got scared. Her stomach dropped, and her surgery scar hurt; he was pulling on the curtain again. Those little shocks he liked to give.

"God, Cath. I know you've always looked up to Dad. You've always been his... His little goody two-shoes. Frankly, I was too much of a wuss to want to burst your bubble. But since we are finally talking about it, you should know. Dad molested me."

She looked at his face and she couldn't even speak, and he began to laugh. She couldn't laugh along, just hit him again and again. Sean's sister was low-hanging fruit, he said, like low-hanging fruit, on a dwarf fruit tree. When she received a text Sean's sister turned her phone away from him, behind the curtain: It was Lenny, her lover, but he didn't know that yet.

Back home Paulie played video games with his son and two friends, and it was embarrassing and it was lovable. The sort of Paul that Sean couldn't help but like, a little, in a very secret place, that thought Paul was just a soft sort of child, underneath all the selling out and buying up. When the boys left Paulie threw some lingo their way, and even Adam thought it was funny. Paulie raised a toast to Adam, when they were alone; after a bit of thought and cajoling, he offered his son a beer.

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The Big C




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