Family Night

by Kyle Decker

I settle into my chair. The hard day’s work has ended. My loving family gathers around me. My wife and son ask me what I want. My son looks up at me with wide eyes as I run my hand through his brown hair and muss it up a bit.

“Why don’t you run and get daddy his slippers?” I suggest. Without a word, my boy, my good, obedient boy, runs off to his task. I reach over and pull my wife onto my lap. I tell her I love her and she tears up as I kiss her. “Say you love me too?” 

“I love you too,” she softly whispers. 

“Is that meatloaf I smell?” I ask. 

She quietly nods. 

“Mmm,” I say. “I can’t wait.” She gets up to check on dinner. My son comes in and hands me the slippers. I put them on and sink into my chair. 

“Dinner is ready,” my wife says, setting up the table. 

“Oh boy!” I say. My son, who had been playing with his trains on the living room rug looks up at me. I take his hand and we walk into the dining room. I tuck a napkin into my shirt as my lovely, caring wife serves the meatloaf. 

“How was your day at school, son?” I ask. I get no response. “Son?” I try again. 

“Answer him,” my wife says sternly, but not too sternly. 

“It was good,” he says. “I got an ‘A’ on my spelling test!” And I swell with pride at his accomplishment as if it were my own. 

“I’m proud of you, Buddy,” I say. He thanks me. He does this because he is polite and we raise him right. He is a very good boy. 

“Dinner is delicious, honey,” I say. 

She turns red and looks away. But her modesty is partly what drew me to her in the first place. Shy as she is, she saved me from my loneliness. 

After dinner I suggest we watch a movie. My son picks Finding Nemo. We laugh and cry throughout until my son falls asleep. My wife puts him to bed and I tell her we should probably settle in, too. I kiss my sleeping son on the forehead, and follow my wife into our room. My wife cries when we make love. My wife always cries when we make love. 

I don’t know where I would be without my family. I was on a dark, self-destructive path until they came into my life. They have saved me. With them I can do anything. And I will never, ever leave them. I whisper all this into my wife’s ear and caress her as I lie next to her, and she continues to cry. I move the gun to my other hand and wipe away her tears, and then I kiss her on the cheek.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll take out that trash in the garage. He’s beginning to stink up the place.

Kyle Decker graduated from Drake University in 2007 with a degree in creative writing. As child, Kyle was raised Catholic. He lost the faith, but kept the guilt.
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