your stepfather

smoke

Uncomfortable silence.
Somebody turn the radio on at least
The quiet hurts
It’s not a reflective, meditative quiet
It’s the quiet of rage and fear and ignorance and denial
Of codependence
Resentment
Poisoning by secondhand smoke
The residual smell
Acrid and nauseating
Chemical
Noxious and toxic
Like the waiting room of an auto body shop
But it’s the family car
Brings me back
My teen years
Rides to family dinners
Yeah huh
Family
Put that in quotes
Because it was silent
No one talks
There is no bond
No kindness
No humor
No fun
No FEELING
Now it’s the smell of age
Impending Death
Putrid vapor discharge from regular medications and Marlboros
Just as bad as the black coffee cups
And cigarette-infused car upholstery
Drive for miles
Say nothing
No wonder my mother rambles
No wonder she can’t be quiet
She can’t wait to get out of the car either
Talks about traffic lights like they’re jailers
This is maddening
Talking to yourself is better
Than having to endure
The selfishly shy and socially deficient
The consciously unnecessary stoicism
The anti-person
The unspeaking
Walking dead

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