Mom drives halfway there 

, and Dad says, “Hellooo,” to us drawing his o’s out as long as his jowels which precede him more prominently this year than his offering of redder eyes, and fuller belly with cotton shirt tucked in. I still won’t look too long into his laser surgery eyes; listen too intently to his long wind-ups to long-winded questions for his greased and oiled college-educated children sitting across from him on the bed. His idle anger over higher education makes me hate the fact that I ever wished to marry him,–and his thick folded hands make me burn against him when he announces over eggs and cinnamon rolls in Perkins that this will be our last family vacation. I avert my gaze askance from his bloodshot eyes as Mom tears up, –I teach her soft shoulders and neck to say goodbye by patting her back like I’m burping a baby who has air to pass, but who might also very well spit up.

::

for Real Toads