What Happened While I Was Away

No matter how long I’ve been gone
or what occurred in the interim
the answer is always the same:
"Nothing much."

Just once I would like to hear:

"It was a good time for us, Father.
We missed you, but the absence
of a paternal influence forced us to dig
deeper within ourselves and to attain a
level of self-realization I would not
have thought possible during my previous
five years of life."

or

"The babysitter went mad and
attacked Harry with a butcher knife.
He tackled her like a linebacker and
knocked her to the floor, while Alice
used shambitzu--the deadliest of the martial arts—
to subdue her. Ralph dialed 911 from his playpen.
The reporters were a nuisance, but
afterward, we enjoyed pizza."

or perhaps

"All day I felt a certain electricity in the
air, a portent that something of great
moment soon would occur. Milk soured
in the belly of the cow, and a two-headed toad
was born. Then all at once
there was a crackling of thunder, the sky
was riven, and a radiant column of light
descended from the heavens. A voice
speaking in all languages announced that
the End of Days was upon us, divine wisdom
would be granted to all mankind, and the secret
of eternal peace would be revealed.
It involves ice cream."

But instead, their attention

already wandering, they simply say:
"Nothing much. How was your trip?"

"Fine."


Originally published in Caveat Lector, Winter 2008