Lineage

Mother’s rebellious, more rebellious than me, though less rebellious than Father. Father’s so rebellious, I sometimes believe he must be acting. Just this morning, for example, when he skipped into the kitchen, late, patting his shoulder holster, and commenced to prepare biscuits and huevos rancheros, I told him that school doesn’t wait for me to begin — that maybe I should catch the bus this time — but he only said, “Oh, nonsense,” and flung Mother’s blood-red apron at my head. So I sometimes believe he must be acting, even though Mother’s rebelliousness (which I never question) is likelier an act, seeing as she so often remains upstairs in the spare bedroom, crocheting scarves and watching Kurosawa films. Women, after all, are prone to acting — a claim Mother would dismiss; Father, too, for that matter, if only for the sake of dismissing something. You can imagine, maybe, how difficult it is to live with them: the house filled with squabbling, clanging pots and pans, the staccato grunts of dishonored samurai. Would you even believe that I hopped onto a train last night — neon signs buzzing, mist hovering in the cornfields — then leapt off at the first red light? I suddenly believed that running away might seem too rebellious; it might, in fact, be the very rebellious act they had been waiting for. I have to break tradition. Put my foot down, so to speak. So I started back home — military pack slung over my thin shoulder — whistling in the middle of the road.

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