The Wasted Summer

In response to Show and Tell: Only in…

Brian pushed the Cheerios around in the milk, watching the eddies swirl around without interest.  He was dimly aware of others in the room, but an absolute boredom had taken hold and his concentration had left him. His mother’s voice pierced through the fog.

“Brian! You answer Aunt Ethel when she’s talking to you! And stop playing with your food!”

Brian glared at Aunt Ethel, hoping she realized that her stupid house and her stupid rules and, most of all, her stupid snotty nosed son was going to ruin his summer.  “Yes ma’am Aunt Ethel?” He really hoped she could hear his sneer.

“I asked ya what sorta plans you and little Eric had today.  Are ya going to do anything fun?”

Brian stared at “little Eric”.  Little Eric was a year and a half younger than Brian, yet was already at least fifteen pounds heavier, and Brian was on the skinny side.  Eric sat there, looking into space, chewing his food with his mouth open because he refused to blow his nose and couldn’t breathe.  Thank God we are four states away, if anyone at my school saw us together I would never live it down!

“Oh I don’t know,” Brian began slowly, trying  to think of something really good.  Dad had always taught him to start bargaining high so when they give you what you want they think they actually won.  “What if we spent the day at the skate park?”

Aunt Ethel cackled in laughter. “Don’t be silly! Only in the city they got them fancy skate boardin’ parks! This is Mills Lakes, darlin’!  Besides, little Eric might get hurt. He’s so prone to bruising!”

“I don’t see how,” Brian mumbled. “It’s not like he needs extra padding.” He felt the swat of his mother’s hand against the back of his head before he finished the sentence.

“What about the library?” Brian’s mom offered. “I saw Mrs. Limpkin at the Piggly Wiggly and she told me about the reading programs for the children. Only in summer will they put on the plays and such. That might be fun, right Brian?”  

“But it smells funny in there!” Eric wheezed. “And it makes my throat sore.”

“The ventilation in there isn’t good for little Eric’s asthma,” Aunt Ethel informed the others. 

Brian sighed in exasperation. So both outside and inside are out, what does that leave? A sudden burst of inspiration hit him.  

“What about the trains?  Uncle Albert’s train collection! Couldn’t we play with them? We could run the track all through the house and make bridges, and rivers and mountains for them to go through.” Hope surged through Brian for the first time in days, only to be quickly dashed by Eric’s nasally voice.

“Only in Father’s garage is it permissible to play with the trains and only under his strict supervision.” Eric intoned.

Brian sighed in despair. It was settled then.  He would spend his day on the front porch again, staring into the field, daydreaming about life. Only in dreams, his parents hadn’t fought, and his dad hadn’t left, and they had never had to come spend summer with his mother’s horrible sister while she tried to find work.

This was done solely on my iPhone, so please forgive any mistakes.

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