I’m never ever gonna be unamused by clueless assholes insisting that general expressions of contempt for the heterosexism, homophobia, etc that cishets perpetuate means you hate your parents! I love it. Every time I get this big, shit-eating grin on my face in anticipation of the moment I get to say, “ACTUALLY…………..” because I’m a fucking brat.
“Dad!” She screeches down the staircase. I wince, rubbing at
my forehead where I sit at the kitchen table trying fruitlessly to concentrate.
Finn grunts from his spot on the window bench, looking up
over his Sudoku book to shoot me a pained expression, one of the kids pencils
clenched between his teeth. It’s got cartoon rainbows all over it. I only raise
my eyebrows in reply.
“Dad!!!” Nova shouts again, and I can tell from the force of
her voice that she’s now leaning over railing on the upstairs landing. “Oh my
god! Can’t you hear me? Dad!”
“What?” Finn shouts back, and I squeeze my eyes shut in
agony. It’s my absolute favorite when they yell at each other from opposite
sides of the house. Just the best.
“Have you seen my purple Chucks?”
“No! Aren’t they with the rest of the shoes?”
“No! I want the old ones, my old purple Chucks. Do you know
where those are?”
Finn shoots me a pained expression, dropping his book on the
table, losing his page. I chuckle at him, pleased that he’s getting a taste of
the Mom life. What, he doesn’t know where everything everyone has ever owned
is? Shame on him!
At least this crazy work schedule is good for something,
even if it is just teaching the rest of them how much I’ve been doing around
here for years without anyone noticing.
“Oh my god! Nova! You’d better get down here!” I call up to
her, not yelling like the rest of these heathens, just making sure I can be
“What?” She shrieks, alarmed.
Her footsteps pound heavy on the stairs. For such a tiny
little thing, she’s sure got a big presence. Heaven forbid anyone should be
below her when she’s up in her room. Their poor guests always look a little
harried after staying the night beneath her.
“What is it?” She pants.
“You’ve killed your father! I told you not to yell from
upstairs! He’s dead!” I call back, teasing fake concern into my voice. Finn
shoots me a crooked smile and obligingly goes limp, slumping down in the window
seat, head slumped over, tongue out.
Nova pulls herself into the kitchen with a hand around the
door frame, always in motion. She cocks her head at me knowingly, crossing her
arms over her chest.
“He’s not dead, Mum. Ugh. I thought there was actually something
“Look at him! He’s dead, bug! Dead! You’ve finally done him
in.” I sigh sadly, shaking my head at her. She tries to hold herself tough and
aloof, unaffected, but the corners of her mouth twitch up in a smile. She looks
him over, crosses the kitchen to playfully kick at his leg. He doesn’t move.
“Oh well.” She shrugs. “Truth be told, I never liked him
much anyway. He listened to the worst music and boy, did he prattle on. Maybe
now we can get a cool dad.” Laughter warms her voice, and I can’t help but grin
“True, true. He was also very smelly. Rest in peace, uncool
“Hey, I may be dead, but I can still hear you and I don’t
appreciate any of that.” Finn grunts without moving, eyes still closed in fake
death. “And I am very cool, thank you very much. Much cooler than your lame old
“Did you hear that?” I gasp, drawing my little girl into my
arms in fake terror. “I think he’s speaking to us from beyond the grave!” I
bury my face in her neck and she giggles. I press soft kisses against her sweet
“Go towards the light!” She half-yells, staring wildly
around the room. “We’ll move on. That new neighbor always looks at Mum, he’ll
move in and take care of us! I bet he’ll even let me eat cupcakes before
dinner. Go towards the light, Dad!”
“Nova, don’t upset your father, not now!” I pull back in mock
horror, shaking a finger at her, while still keeping an arm behind her back. “We
don’t want him to haunt us when we start our new lives!”
“Toooooo late!” Finn coos, drawing the syllables out in a
ghostly fashion. “I will torment you forever moooooore!!!”
Nova laughs, then breaks away from me, streaking across the
kitchen to jump onto Finn’s stomach in a pile of too long limbs and giggling.
He makes an oomph when she lands on him, eyes flying open and arms
instinctively coming up to catch her. He wraps her up in his strong arms,
fingers moving to all her ticklish spots. She lets him for a few seconds,
before springing up and away from him. He looks bereft for an instant without
her to fill his embrace, and I feel a wave of something wash into my chest,
stealing my air and tightening my heart. I think maybe it’s pure, painful joy.
It passes before long, leaving me smiling wistfully and watching two of the loves
of my life stare each other down.
“You guys are so lame.” Nova says, rolling her eyes, a grin
still wide over her freckled cheeks. “So, do you know where my shoes are or
not, Ghost Dad?”
“Uh…” He pulls a face, rubbing at his ear in confusion. “Did
you ask your Mum?”
They both turn their expectant gazes to me, and I cross my
arms victoriously in front of me, smiling smugly at them. Okay, so it’s nice
that Finn’s getting a taste of what I do around here. But it’s also nice to
know that I’m still important, still irreplaceable.
“On top of the dryer, sweets.”
“Thanks, Mum.” Nova bends to kiss my cheek. “See, Dad? You’ve
really gotta get your act together.”