Issue 6 Sept 2013
Mother had just put the last bowl down on the table when the house shook again. Dad jumped in his seat. Nana moaned. The rest of us, Jessica, Uncle Brian, Aunt Florence and me, watched for Mother's reaction through the flickering candlelight. Untroubled, she sat down, put her hands together and said: "For what we are about to receive, may the lord make us truly—"
Again, the house shook. A picture fell from the wall and the house began to lean very slightly to one side. Some of the smaller, lighter items, the cutlery, the tumblers, the nearly-empty jar of English mustard, journeyed toward Aunt Florence and Uncle Brian. They spread their arms wide to block anything from falling while Jessica and I, from the opposite side, leaned over to grab what hadn't slid beyond the length of our arms.
It was beautiful outside, but I was an inch away from my brother’s computer. A thin ray of sunlight lit up his cluttered desk; it was the only light in his room. As I stared into my reflection in the empty screen, I thought: what have I done?
It’s not that I’d done anything wrong, rather, I hadn’t done anything. I never joined the circus. I never went to space camp. Never started a band. Never asked Suzie Brown out to the dance. I felt like I was just drifting through life, moving from one random event to the next. My internal conflict exploded a few days after graduating from high school, when Dad wanted me to intern at Uncle Bill’s carpentry business downtown. Definitely not my idea of a career.