Prize Fight

Prize Fight

“What did I do, exactly?” David’s arms slowly crossed in front of him as he leaned against the kitchen counter, awaiting a response. This kitchen standoff hadn’t been a part of his plan for the day. They were supposed to be leaving for a weekend away. They were supposed to be in the car, each singing poorly to songs that would drive the other crazy. The calm he was forcing out into the room was in direct contrast to the drumline of feelings he wanted to let out. Calm was the only way he could hope to get an answer, so calm was what he showed.

“Nothing.” The lie lingered between them, and Trevor didn’t know how to say anything else.

David looked at his son. He had made this young man, almost entirely on his own. Stephanie had carried him through the pregnancy and David had done all the rest.  She hadn’t even come home with them from the hospital. Trevor hadn’t met her, though David had kept the few pictures he had of her around for him. They’d been on their own together for twelve years now and, until this month, had a good relationship. Watching his son close himself off had already been hard. He’d even turned to friends for advice. Nothing had worked and, now, bearing the brunt of his anger when he couldn’t fathom what he had done was pushing him to his limits.

“Trevor, I want to believe that I haven’t done anything. I certainly don’t remember doing anything that could have upset you or given you a reason to treat me the way you have been this week. And yet, here we are. If you’re NOT mad at me or something I did please tell me why your face falls as soon as I walk into a room and your shoulders slump and your walking turns to stomping as you leave. I’d love another reason.” The effort it took to keep his voice level was making David sweat. It felt like this was some sort of battle for the soul of his son and he was up against some big professional fighter. Trevor had grown so much since his twelfth birthday. He was tall and thick, matching his long-forgotten uncles far more than David. David’s family ran small. The men in the family were narrow and lean, favoring books and art more than muscles. At 35, David was already dwarfed by his son. Smart and scrappy sometimes won in the movies, and he needed to use all the tools he had to make a go of it.

The first slam of Trevor’s fist on the table made David jump. The second made him tense. The third made him dash over to the chair where Trevor sat and wrap his man-boy of a son in his arms. Trevor gave a half-hearted struggle – he was strong enough that he could have broken free if he’d wanted to – and then dissolved into sobs that shook them both.



* All 500Words are fiction.  Any resemblance to people or events is strictly coincidental. *

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