The words over at Three Word Wednesday are hinder, journey and rigid.
My father sits at the kitchenette, drinking strong black tea in a chipped China cup.
Next to the door is a steamer trunk, ancient and slightly moldy smelling; it’s massive brass latches dulled from abuse.
Before I can inquire, father tells me that he and my mother have a expedition ahead of them. He tells of a long, winding road, an odyssey of heartbreak and toil. And suffering. Lots and lots of suffering.
“I’m not going?”
“Too dangerous,” he says, fishing lemon seeds from the bitter tea.
Before I can protest, father puts up a rigid hand, wags a single digit, signaling that the conversation is over.
I slump over a small plate of soggy toast.
Father checks his watch, stands, takes a broom and begins tapping manically at the ceiling. Mother responds with her own Morse code, heavy stomps coming from someone so diminutive.
Thunderous footfalls echo down the stairwell.
She’s dressed in bush garb, gauzy tans and light browns. On her feet are old-style waffle-stomper boots, heavy black lug soles and acres of brown leather tied closed with jaunty red laces. On her head, a pith helmet with a built-in mini fan.
She wears no makeup, just a mask of singular resolve.
She assesses the scene, gauges the tension swirling around the table.
“Honey, the journey will be protracted, it will be treacherous and I’m afraid you’ll just be a hindrance.”
My upper lip begins to quiver.
Father takes the opportunity to cuff me across the scalp, throwing static cowlicks in the wake of his open fist.
“Boy, we’re protecting you from all manner of unknown dangers,” he says.
“Alas, yes,” mother says, smoothing my hair with tiny kisses. “You know how the mall can get around the holidays.”