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daily – 3

“Patrick,” I tried again, but it was hard to finish. It wasn’t really his fault. “Look, you know things are hard enough right now. Maybe when you graduate high school, we-”

“High school? But that’s like forever!” He managed to look genuinely shocked for a full second, before turning back to his Gpad.

I wondered for a moment whether I had ever pulled off looking so disengenuous. Which made me think of my mother, which made me angry, which made it, for better and worse, easier to fend him off.

“Don’t start with me, young man.” That used to get his attention. He hardly bats an eye, now. I decide to channel the ‘failure as a parent’ reflex feeling over onto the ‘suffering as education’ soapbox. “You’re the one who decided to play fast and loose with that airline routing software job. Now you’ve got a warning on your permit and instead of helping pay the rent and making it possible to take vacations, say, to the moon,” I add for emphasis, but it hardly matters, “we’re stuck on my income which barely covers the bills, much less an odd dinner out.” I shake my head. “The moon is right out.”

Patrick blew out in that universal sign of mixed guilt and frustration. He knows better. And he keowe I knew that he knew.

He also knew I’m not really angry. I never was a good faker. Even riding the emotion of mom dying two and a half months ago doesn’t cut it.

Watching him lean against the wall, no longer aware of me, I realize how little he’s truly heard of what I’ve said, and how little I actually meant it. It shouldn’t surprise me, but it does a bit. It’s not that he’s going to run off and start taking more freelance coding jobs to spite me, and it’s not that I should be punishing him any more for the black mark on his worker’s permit, but none of it seems to sink in, lately. For either of us.

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