Man of the House

by | Aug 10, 2021 | Fiction, Issue Twenty Two

Is what they call you, shifting their weight from one leg to the other, maybe sighing, always a little tentative, though sometimes they lean down instead, the women especially love to lean down until they’re pressed against your shoulder so you can smell skin cream and perfume, put a hand on the side of your face as if they will feel the manness there, and that’s what you wonder, tugging at your Garanimals shorts, the jaguar, what does it mean that you’re the man of the house and what are you supposed to do about that, fix the car, do something to the car burr ader the way the man upstairs says he has to, talk about no jobs no more no jobs like the other man upstairs, or is there something else, you want to know, something different from the bill-complaints and the home-cooked meals your mom, woman of the house, seems to always have on her mind, on her tongue: that’s what you want to ask but you don’t because you don’t know yet that’s what you want to ask, won’t find out until many years later when you find yourself stuffing crumpled fifties and hundreds into the tin brush case that came with your new boots, climbing out the window when the sky purples with bacon streaks for clouds to make one more sale, so instead you look for an endcap display of coffee syrup or Necco wafers to hide behind because next to all this you don’t know for certain you do know this: that if you are truly the man of the house you can disappear.

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