Father comes home from work pleased with himself. That means this evening will be a good evening.
When Father comes home displeased—with work, with the traffic, with the weather—then the evening is not so good. He says nothing to anyone about it, but his displeasure seeps through the house like fog, damp and chill. It soaks into everyone's spirits until there's nothing left to do but huddle in solitude, each in our own rooms, unable to find enjoyment in any solitary pastime. Nor is there any comfort to be had in company on such evenings. We all find ourselves easily irritated. We rub each other raw. All we can do is hide, or leave the house entirely. These days, I leave. I bike into town, or I just walk into the woods and lose myself for a while. Sometimes I don't come home until morning. It doesn't matter that I'll get punished the next day for having been out alone after curfew, or for leaving the house while grounded for having stayed out late the last time. The punishment is preferable to putting up with that awful miasma of Father's evening sulk.
It's because Father is a magician. Or he would be, anyway, if he ever got the training. But his parents refused to send him along, and once he got old enough to make his own decisions, he refused too. So he never really learned how to keep his emotions to himself. He never learned how to control what he can do.
I don't know yet if I've inherited the magic gene. Probably not; it usually shows up by the time you're twelve. But it's not impossible for the talent to show up as late as your early twenties. If I turn out to be a late-bloomer, I'm damn well going to get myself trained, however you go about doing that. I'm not going to ask Father's permission, either. It's not like I ask anyone's permission to leave the house on the bad nights. You don't ask permission to escape, or to keep your body fed and healthy. You just do what you have to do.
Anyway, tonight Father is exceedingly pleased with himself, so we're having a fantastic evening....
__This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for October 23, 2015. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1451 words) from Patreon in PDF or MP3 format depending on their pledge tier.Cover art features original photography by the author, who doesn't actually have any champagne in the house.