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RELATIVES BEHAVING BADLY

Sometimes Lucas had suicidal thoughts. About twice a day, actually. He had them almost as far as he could remember. He was five years old when the first one happened. It was on a road trip. His favorite toy was a miniature of a VW Beetle and her sister tossed it out of the window on the highway. She laughed hysterically while he looked at the car being reduced to a single dot rolling on the tarmac.

            “Deborah, why did you do it?”

            “He was laughing at my shoes, ma!”

            “Lucas, why did you do it?”

            He said nothing, doing his best to keep his eyes dry. Father was listening to a football match on the radio. Mother asked Deborah to give her the shoe box, starting a conversation about fashion as if nothing happened. That VW was the world for him and all he wanted was to cease to exist.

            For the last three decades Lucas kept the habit of having lunch alone on the rooftop of the office. It was a mix of quality and ending-it-all time. He sat with his feet floating over the street fifty storeys below, opened the plastic box heated on the microwave and ate his rice with chicken and vegetables from last diner while facing his demons. Somehow he had the hope of being defeated and finally take the big dive.

            All demons were family, as everyone else’s. Family was a central of abuse and that kept him from trying to build one.

            “Sorry, kiddo. We can’t let them down. I promised grandma you would play at her bingo party.”

            “But I will be travelling with Kelly and her parents that week. This is settled for months.”

            “Kelly’s too skinny for you and her parents are presumptuous bastards,” retorted Father. “You’ll find a lot of starving granddaughters to screw at the bingo. I would be swimming on Claudia’s rack if I were you. Her boobs shiver like pudding each time you blow that trumpet.”

            Now and then, Lucas did some playing with his stomach filled up with rice. He wondered what it would be like to play on a free fall.

            “Take me with you, beetle boy,” demanded mother. “Take me to see your friends. Bring your trumpet and I will sing for them.”

            “I am not taking you, ma. I’m not losing friends anymore. Let me live.”

            “You’re in my house and I’m feeding you, Lucas. Is it too much to ask letting me have some fun with you? Where do you think your talent comes from? You’re not only taking me to the pub, you’re inviting me to the stage. That’s what you’ll do.”

            Let me live, recalled Lucas, playing trumpet with his eyes on the far distant street. His breath failed him. It usually did. He would think of playing better next time and would not throw himself out.

Saturday, October 2nd 2021

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