You can’t beat childhood favorites. –anonymous
Matt loved everything about his family.
You’d never get him to admit to it, after all, what self-respecting twelve-year-old would admit that they loved spending a nice evening at home with your mother who was practically ancient (all parents are after all) or his lame older brother who was probably the lamest lamer to ever lame.
(Matt thought he was the wittiest kid in the apartment complex.)
But he loved being at home with his dorky family, whether they were watching a movie or a special on t.v. or playing some stupid board game like Monopoly (his mother always had this ridiculous look on her face whenever one of them took over Boardwalk and Park Place and still lost the whole game because they blew all their money on hotels that no one ever landed on.)
It was just having a quiet evening at home reminded him of playing Sorry with his parents going all out against each other and ignoring their young sons winning the game within half an hour or his father trying to make spaghetti and failing epically while his mother burned the garlic bread to charcoal.
(“That only happened once and I was delirious with a fever! Why can’t you let that go?” his mother would say whenever his father pointed out the spaghetti and bread had been going great until Mary had tried to ‘help’ by pouring four tablespoons of salt into the sauce pan and doing…something…to the oven.)
It was the love and the feeling of home and safety and the ‘nothing can get you while you’re under our roof’ that his parents had always managed to pull off even after they had separated and divorced.
The quiet evenings with everyone in didn’t happen an awful lot anymore. Terry was too busy with work and school and his stupid girlfriend (who Matt actually liked pretty well, but she was taking up more of his lame brother’s time than she needed and she must have something wrong with her in the first place to agree to even be friends with Terry let alone date him.) His mom was always working, even when she was at home, practically glued to her laptop while finishing whatever project was assigned for that week. When she wasn’t working she was exhausted even as she went through the motions to put together something for them to eat.
That didn’t mean that they didn’t have quiet evenings now and then and for that Matt would always be grateful. He didn’t think he much cared for growing up when he realized that it meant things like this could slowly vanish from your life with just enough of it left for you to remember better times and strive to bring those moments back. Life was a lot harder than he had ever thought it would be when he was sandwiched with his brother between their parents watching some meaningless movie while consuming an unhealthy amount of salt and butter on their popcorn.
Matt shook his head at his maudlin thoughts and moved into the kitchen before his mother could come out of the bathroom she’d disappeared into after returning home from work. He might as well get dinner started as Mary had looked a little more drawn around the edges than usual and he didn’t want his mother to be even more tired than she already was.