Yesterday, I wrote for Flash Dash. This is a new challenge on the Flash!Friday page, in which you have only thirty minutes to write a flash piece up to 30 minutes long. The first sentence was supplied. As I looked at the sentence, the father/son dynamic came to mind. It could have easily have been a father/daughter dynamic. As a kid, I felt like I was constantly striving to make my dad proud. I also felt like he was critical, and it hurt. Now, I know that’s just his personality and he is proud of me. I explored that theme a little bit in my story yesterday.
Make Me Proud
Winning was all that mattered. But, unfortunately, I was a born loser. I couldn’t even hit the ball off the tee when I started tee-ball. My father shouted from the stands, blaming everyone but his loser son. And the losing streak continued. My father, a wolf of the banking world, could not stomach my losses.
At my basketball games in middle school, shoulders slumped over my chest, keeping the bench warm, I cringed as my father shouted at Ryan Peterson, the star.
“Come on Ryan! You got this. Four more points, and they’re beat.”
Then, I think he started coming to my games only to see Ryan. Silent meals, as I speared cauliflower and my Dad recanted Ryan’s winning moments. I sank further and further into myself. My mother’s sidelong glances couldn’t even save me from the fact that my father was overlooking me.
I joined drama on a whim. Everyone has to be good at something, right? Turns out I’m good at stabbing Mercutio and rinsing imaginary blood from my hands.
Back at the dinner table, I recited my monologues to the tone-deaf ears of my father. He rambled on about how the basketball team missed me.
“Missed my what, Dad? My prowess of securing the bench to the ground?”
“You should have seen it. I thought for sure we were going to lose, but then a foul was called, Ryan got the free throws, and as the ball was being bounced up the court, Teddy Andrews—do you know him?—stole the ball and threw the winning shot. It was something else.”
The peas felt squalid and heavy in my mouth. I ate them, because if I didn’t I wouldn’t get any blueberry cobbler. And my mom makes the best blueberry cobbler.
“My play’s on Tuesday night,” I told my mom the next day.
“You should tell your father.”
“Why? He won’t come.”
Friday night, costumes littered the stage. Everyone rushed around, practicing their lines one more time. When the curtain rose, the lights glared in my eyes. I couldn’t see if my father was there.
I recited my lines, stabbed Mercutio.
“THAT’S MY BOY!!! THAT’S MY BOY!!! Look at that. Did you see the flick of that knife?”
Peals of laughter rang out around us, but the show must go on. At least I knew he finally thought I was a winner.