Time Doesn’t Heal Everything
Michael rapidly paced around the living room, while his wife Diana sat in a brown wooden roller chair. Diana was talking to Michael “I know it’s been years since you last saw him, but he is your brother, and your only brother.”
Michael grasping his hands behind his back increased his pacing. “It’s also been years since our mom died, and he picked up that trophy wife of his.”
Diana sighed, her husband didn’t normally act this way but since Jack went to college and his boss got rough on him, she had been seeing more and more of his bad side lately. “You might want to tone down your language for when they come over; you know the kids are coming too.”
It wasn't that the children were bad they just seemed to be the culmination of all the parents, and while Diana hid it she hated them as much as Michael did. Then there was a knock on the tall dark wood door. Diana went to the door and after composing herself opened it. A gangly tired man with slight smile lines and thinning hair opened the door and said in a welcoming light voice said “Hey Diana”
“Hey Rick” Diana responded.
Behind Rick a beautiful woman in a red dress and heels, lightly pushed Rick out of the way and hugged Diana. “Hey Natalie” in a monotone voice greeted the Wife.
In a warm voice Natalie said “Diana, it’s been years!”
Diana looked from her young narrow form and designer dress to wide body and her slacks and house tennis shoes, she sighed and reminded herself that she wasn’t a trophy wife, she was a real wife.
Looking up Natalie made a disgusted face and said “Still living in this hut, isn’t your husband a doctor?”
And saying this turned to Rick and darkened her tone and said “The Hotel better be better than this.” Waving her hand at the 3,800 square foot house as she spoke.
Rick blushing said “Don’t worry honey, it’s a five star.”
“It better be” She threatened.
Turning back to Diana she turned back to the warm voice and said “So Diana can I come in, I mean I would grab the luggage but these heels squeeze me feet SO much, so if you could be a dear…” Pointing to the rental Ferrari which sat at the side of the curb.
“Sure” Diana simply said controlling herself, as Natalie’s two six year olds walked in behind them.
Behind Diana soon stepped out Michael “Hey Rick”.
Rick filled with new enthusiasm stepped forward “Hey big brother” And so saying so clapped him on the back.
Shrugging him off, he said “Hey Rick”
“Short greeting for four years” Natalie helpful added on.
From behind Natalie came the kids “Oh, I guess you never have meet your Uncle Rick have you guys.”
Richard the youngest in a pitifully naïve voice said “Mommy, who is the old guy.”
Natalie almost slapped him, but notably restraining herself said “I already told you Honey, it’s your Uncle Rick” seeing the lack of understanding in his eyes she pulled herself up, and Rick said “Go wait for your brother outside will be out in moment”.
Now Natalie turning back Michael all smiles said “Sorry I normally have the nannies deal with the kids”.
Diana who had seen the whole affair muttered “No kidding”
So Michael stunned by the encounter turned to Rick “So why did you ask the kids to leave.”
“Well it’s our big night in town so we wanted to take you guys out to dinner.” Natalie said, now she turned to Diana as if surprised to see her to be carrying the luggage. “Oh, sorry you can just take it back to the car; I think we will just go to the hotel after dinner”.
Here Rick turned to Michael “You guys know any good restaurants.”
Michael and Diana groaned it had been years since they had last been out to dinner Diana remembering back said “I think He ’Shu’s is still good”.
Michael nodded his agreement and they set out of the house to go.
“Have you tried out the new Ferrari it burns up the road, Mick.”
Michael grunted as he hated being called that, which soon overturned into being puzzled. “We are taking your car Mike?”
“I mean, we are right” as he looked to Diana for support but found none.
“My car, Rick”
“Because my house, my rules.”
Rick shrugging his shoulders in defeat climbed into the car and so they tumbled into the aged Ford Flex which Michael adored, with his special lamb-skin front covers, and after multiple startups the car came to life and with it the Allman Brother Band Ramblin’ Man. Rick tried to relax and close his eyes for the dinner.
He woke as they pulled up to the old He ‘Shu’s Chinese Eatery. Diana soon realized that the years had not been kind to old He ‘Shu’s and the shop had fallen into more or less disrepair, thought the open sign still glow bright. Natalie sitting on one corner of the backseat with the kids penned between her and her husband, pouted as she realized by the neon sign this was He ‘Shu’s, and the children's “Ewwww’s” mirrored this. They parked the Car and walked to the little restaurant at the corner of town. Soon they opened the gold-leaf handle doors and the whole family walked into a cramped one open room with crumbling brick walls and TV’s blaring and in accordance to the sign they sat themselves. They choose a corner booth with the least damage in the room; there they sat with the brothers on the side and the rest on the family in the middle. They sat in horrible silence for a few minutes, until in the TV above them a Reds game came on. Rick groaned “horrible season this year”.
Michael for the first time that night laughed “Maybe the worst one this decade, you still follow the Reds, Rick?”
“Well it was what Dad raised us on, that and that abyssal lasagna.” Rick retorted choking on his horrible General Tso’s chicken.
Diana stared in amazement that after all this the boys still had one thing in common that they loved: The Reds. She glanced over to Natalie to see if maybe she could also break the ice behind all that makeup, but forgot about it when she realized she was deep in her phone. So she decided just to try and relax. She succeeded in doing that for a while until they were into their meals, and the brother’s mirth continued until Michael asked a question which froze the table. “So what did you come to ask?”
Rick was startled by the question “You know what the best tourist spots in the city are.”
“Rick” Natalie chided him “Don’t you have something else to ask?”
“Well I didn’t want to ask you until later but I was wondering whether or not I could look at Mom’s will.”
Michael silently shook with anger, and Rick quickly tried to redirect the conversation “But we can talk about all that later no need for the now right?”
Michael started quiet and slow venom dripping from each syllable “You made me take care of mom while you enjoyed the free life, you robbed her silly asking for money to repair your flooded basements, trying to be her little boy while she wouldn’t even look at help paying for Jack’s college.” Michael took in a long breath “And after all that you forgot to come to her funeral. Her funeral, the last time that got to see her, and I know that she didn’t raise us the best but”
Rick butted in there “Didn’t raise us the best?” He guffawed
“We would go home to a mother living off her dead rich husband, getting high every day, sometimes she beat us, and you didn’t see the worst of it. You went off to college leaving her little boy to fend for himself.”
“That doesn’t give you the right to forget about your own mother, and give her to your brother to rot.”
Here a waiter came over “Please gentleman calm down, you're scaring everyone.”
The Brothers looked around to see what everyone was, to see a tired Mother seated in the corner across the room with two little boys, with terror written on their brows.
Michael ruffling his grimy sweatshirt grabbed Diana and said “Don’t worry we were just leaving”
With saying this he dished two one hundred bills out for the meal on the table, and with his wife in tow he throw open the gold-leaf doors into the cold winter air.
“Michael what are you doing” Diana shouted as she was being dragged out by the door to the car.
“The right thing, Diana just get in the car” Michael replied through grit teeth.
Busting through the door behind him came Rick with Natalie tripping on his heels. “Michael calm down” getting desperate added on “Our car is at your house”
“Call a cab” Michael simply replied, “If you want the will call the lawyer not come to piss on our mother’s legacy to my face”.
With that Michael slammed the door of his Flex and he drove out of the parking lot, leaving Rick, Natalie, and the kids in their finery staring down the car in the dirty parking lot of the fallen He ‘Shu’s Chinese Eatery.