Jeremy Mordue
You can get by even when you do hate people
Sun Mar 31, 2019 01:44

“Yes, it was excellent, thank you. Really excellent,” Jeremy nodded, as Felipe asked about his break. After all, who didn’t love Christmas?

Jeremy didn’t, actually. Christmas four years ago had been the last point at which the answer he had just given - the answer one had to give - had been true. It had been the last Christmas father had been there. Jeremy remembered it so well. He didn’t know whether it really had been bigger and better than all the Christmases that had gone before, or whether it was just the combination of being the right age to have been building to a fever pitch of excitement for the day, and the contrast of every crushing disappointment that had followed since, but it had seemed more full of presents and sweets and laughter than any Christmas that had come before, and very definitely any that had followed since. They’d got this really excellent game with miniature racing brooms, not to mention proper real new ones for themselves, and father had spent the whole afternoon playing with them, giving them miniature races and even real ones - a few around the yard, and then he’d got Jeremy practising his dives down the stairs once they got too cold to be outside. The only sour note in all of that had been how mother had really not been amused by the last part.

Four years on, he still had never recognised that day for what it had really meant - what most of his father’s parenting had been; overcompensation. Overcompensation by a man who lacked the responsibility to be a proper parent, and dispensed it instead at erratic intervals involving fun and laughter and presents. And mother’s killjoy attitude actually being that of a woman who recognised she was fighting a losing battle.

Since then, Christmas had taken on the same pattern as all other family occasions - they all got together and pretended nothing was wrong, even though the glaring asymmetry of their family structure was brought into sharp focus whenever they visited Uncle Alexander’s. The first year without Jeremy’s father had also been the year that Nathaniel, Sylvia and Simon were quarantined at school due to the illness going around the magical world. Their absence had been mourned. It had been allowed to be a strange and solemn Christmas because they were missing. The Christmas after that had been falsely joyful, as they got to be reunited. Everyone together again. They had all fussed over them, recalling the misery of the previous year, and pretending that was the only thing that had been wrong and that now it was all fixed. This year, he himself had been the main event. Of course, everyone else had had their achievements fussed over, and been given plenty of time in the spotlight, but the main subject of how this was A Really Excellent Christmas had been him. He had been away. He was back now. He must have so much to tell them. He had to keep providing news because if at any point they ran out of things to say they might all be forced to acknowledge that actually someone was missing and this wasn’t all that freaking great. Sometimes Jeremy wanted to just yell at - well, not all of them, because you couldn’t yell at Uncle Alexander or Aunt Avery or Sylvia, and even Simon had never really done anything wrong - but at mother and Nathaniel, certainly, and point out that no, this wasn’t all fun because it was supposed to be a time for family and they didn’t have a proper one any more.

And, as usual, however hard they all tried, mother inevitably went off by mid-afternoon to rest, claiming to have a headache or whatever. Like she was the only one who was upset. Like it wasn’t her constant fussing and headaches that had driven father away in the first place. He’d heard people say it at parties - if she’d been a better wife, he wouldn’t have got bored and left them.

“My family are all well, yes,” he answered the second question. “I trust yours are too and that you also had a pleasant break?”

  • I don't hate you, so that's good enough. (Tag Jeremy)Felipe De Matteo, Sat Mar 30 23:42
    As usual, the Headmaster's speech was . . . underwhelming. Felipe found it an admirable quality in a speaker, and was happy to begin the Feast with a great level of promptness than they'd done at the ... more
    • You can get by even when you do hate people — Jeremy Mordue, Sun Mar 31 01:44
      • But really, it's best if you don't hate them. Felipe De Matteo, Mon Apr 1 00:52
        Felipe nodded in acknowledgment, sincerely glad that Jeremy's break had gone well. He supposed that was a good sign of his own developing personality. He thought that "really excellent" was sort of a ... more
        • Try harder thenJeremy Mordue, Mon Apr 1 08:28
          You have a very big family. The jug from which Jeremy had been pouring jerked abruptly, spilling juice on the table. A nearby napkin leapt to attention, mopping it up. What was that supposed to mean? ... more
          • I was trying quite hard, thank you very much. Felipe De Matteo, Tue Apr 2 20:25
            Felipe withdrew slightly, replying the last part of their conversation to review whether he'd said something wrong. As near as he could tell, which was pretty near since he was pretty good at this... more
            • Ok then....Jeremy Mordue, Wed Apr 3 08:56
              “I see,” Jeremy replied evenly, when Felipe claimed only to be talking about the presence of cousins and such like – apparently something he lacked. “Well, with Nathaniel and Sylvia being the same... more
              • Glad that's settled. Felipe De Matteo, Wed Apr 3 11:41
                Felipe bristled at Jeremy's words. He was well aware that the Mordue cousins were close in age, and that they spent time together outside of school. Did Jeremy think he was a moron? It wasn't like he ... more
                • Yup. Good.Jeremy Mordue, Thu Apr 4 08:29
                  Jeremy tried not to raise his eyebrows in sheer disbelief at Felipe. Ok, yes they all had to put on a face and say proper things but he sounded like he’d swallowed a school pamphlet. Jeremy only came ... more
                  • Great. Felipe De Matteo, Thu Apr 4 18:49
                    Ah, yes, because there's no one in the world more interesting than the rest of Crotalus. Felipe heartily regretted being the sort of boy who would be placed there all of a sudden. He wondered whether ... more
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