Family: a tale

Part I

No need for plans.

See you whenever.

Doors are always open.

Walk in, put on the kettle.

You know where the biscuits stay.

Look at them, it’s so great that cousins can be so close.

Can’t imagine them apart.

Part II

Turn friends away, Saturdays are for family.

Laughter, teasing, bike rides

Uncle, don’t ruffle my hair.

Need any help with homework?

Take up whole rows in the cinema.

Barbecue, anyone?

Let’s plan a family holiday.

Part III

Has it been a month?

School takes up time, it’s great to catch up.

Lighthearted teasing – know where to stop.

I feel like fireworks.

Give the sparklers to the younger ones.

They have so much fun.

They make so much mess.

Part IV

Family dinners, once in a while

Questions at the dinner table.

Life-update, please.

Genuine smiles, friendly competition.

Teasing that cuts just below the rib;

All in good faith.

We should make plans soon. Definitely. Definitely.

Part IV

It’s so great that you’ve come to visit.

Put on the tea, let’s get some take-away.

Better not.

You know, I heard you said…

That loan…Of course, of course.

The fair’s coming to town – are you planning to go?

We haven’t decided yet. And you?

Part V

Big celebrations call for big tense smiles.

Something feels different this year or is it just me?

Kids, go outside.

Egg shells, snide comments, a retort.

Word vomit. Stupidity. Unfounded accusations.

The cause? Who knows.

I think it would be better if we stayed out of each others lives.

Part VI

Tentative reconciliations and nervous encounters.

No apologies.

But those aren’t needed in families. Right?

Gossip through the kitchen windows. The whole town is talking.

Have they been saying it’s our fault?

Blood boiling. Forget it. It’s over.

We can go back to the way things were. Right?

Part VII

Re-connection attempted (weakly).

Let’s just pretend everything is okay.

Polite greetings. Impersonal teasing.

Appearances shall be kept.

Big events celebrated together (awkwardly).

Dread this day each year.

Mummy, can we go home yet?

Part VIII

Been a while.

Not sure what you’re up to.

Don’t want to pry. None of my business.

Still celebrate together.For one day each year, fake smiles.

How many more years are we going to keep up this pretense?

And the younger ones dread it; such a bore. They don’t know what they’ve lost;

Impromptu outings, loving teasing, spontaneous water fights,  late-night road trips

A second-home.

 

 

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