*I was only going to give this to my mailing list but I decided to also post it here since you guys are always so kind to me. Thank you and have a great holiday!*
I sat across from him shaking my head in disbelief at how inconsiderate one kid could be. It wasn’t my idea to have him over to our house for the holidays. Believe me; I really had no choice in the matter at all. It was his parents that suggested it, well actually flat out begged for us to take him; seems like they had something better to do with one of their other hundred some odd children.
I know that sounds mean of me but I don’t care really. For me Thanksgiving has always been about family. The one time of year that we would stop everything for each other and remember who we were, the Richardsons.
Now that we were huge in Europe, it was getting harder and harder for me to be at home with my family. I also know that no matter how hard she pretended not to be bothered by it, my Mom must have been heart broken.
I wanted this year to be special for her. I had all of these big plans. If I could give my Mother the world on a silver platter I would. That’s how much I love her. Nick Carter didn’t fit into that plan at all. Not even remotely.
I glared at him and it must have made him feel uncomfortable because he looked away. Ever since he got into town, he had been a handful. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t even said one thank you to my Mom yet.
“He’s young sweetheart, you were like that too”
“No I wasn’t”
“He needs guidance Kevin, I’m glad he came”
But I wasn’t. Originally it was Brian’s family that was going to take him in. Brian was so excited about it, well at least he acted excited about it. That all changed when Brian’s Mom got sick. Nothing major but enough to merit them to have a quiet Thanksgiving at home and since quiet and Nick Carter were antonyms, we got stuck with him.
The kid grated on my nerves like you would not believe. I mean he was cute and all and he did have his moments, but most of the time, I found his behavior down right obnoxious and immature. The last person I felt like spending my only two days off with was Nick. It made me sick just thinking about it so once again I glared at him.
He was mid chew of something, probably some turkey which he never thanked my Mom for making. He nervously fiddled in his seat and drank some soda to shake my gaze off of him.
“You want something else to eat sweetheart?” My Mom asked him giving ME a dirty look, like I had done something wrong.
“No that‘s okay thanks Mrs. Richardson”
“I told you to call me Anne darling”
“So Mom, when are we going to see Dad?” Tim asked while motioning for me to pass the basket of biscuits over to him.
“Where are we going?”
My Mom looked over at Nick and smiled, “We are going to go visit Jereld after dinner. It’s a family tradition”
“Oh” Nick seemed unaffected by it as he piled a spoonful of mashed potatoes into his mouth. I don’t know why but that made me angry. “You know it would be nice if you could show a little compassion” Everyone at the table stopped and stared at me.
Was I wrong or something?
“Sorry” He said softly. I know I probably should have felt bad but I didn’t. I was just mad, at him, at dad at everyone and everything.
“It’s okay dear. That was uncalled for Kevin” My Mother was glaring at me, but so was everyone else for that matter. I suddenly just needed to get away from the table so I stood up and excused myself.
I walked outside and immediately calmed down. That’s what being back home in Kentucky did for me. The air, the smell of country and pine; my Father loved it here. He was a country boy and he made me love being a country boy too. God how I missed my Father. The time we would spend fishing on the lake or talking about sports while chopping firewood.
I felt a loving hand on my shoulder. I didn’t even need to turn to realize it was my Mom. “I know this day is hard for you Kevin. It’s hard for all of us, but it’s also hard for that child in there as well”
“I don’t care”
“Yes you do…don’t say that. Your father would not like hearing you say something like that”
She was right. If my dad was alive, he definitely would have been screaming at me, well more like talking sternly. My dad was not a screamer. Everything he did, he did with a gentle but firm hand.
“You are taking out all of your anger and frustration on that child in there. You need to stop sweetheart. He doesn’t understand how hard this is for you”
“But he doesn’t” I felt her grip on my shoulder tighten. I turned towards her and gave her a huge hug.
Thanksgiving was my Father. This was his special day. He enjoyed this holiday over all of the others. He said Christmas and Easter were purely religious and should have been treated as such. He didn’t like how commercial it all had become. But Thanksgiving, that was different. Thanksgiving was family and since he loved his family more than anything else in the world, he loved a day that he would revel in it; in us.
“Maybe you should tell him how you feel then”
“But like you said Mom…he’s just a kid” She put her hands up to my face and kissed my cheek.
“I’m gonna go grab my jacket, then we’ll be going”
I decided to stay out on the front porch and just wait for everyone to come out, I didn’t feel like going in and especially didn’t feel like dealing with Nick. Within a few minutes they were all out and piling into various cars to take us up to wear my dad was buried. Nick looked at me and smiled but then turned away and went into Tim’s Van.
I decided to ride with Jereld.
Every time we came to this place, my heart ached like it was the very first time coming. That car ride up the long hill to my Father’s final resting place while trying to convince myself that I would never see his face again. It all came swooping back in one huge awful nightmare.
We all slowly got out of our cars and headed up the hill. Nick kind of stayed back by the van.
Like always, Mom took a few wild flowers which grew so abundantly in her garden and handed one to each of us. It was time for us to visit. Jereld went first then Tim. I was next. I walked up to his grave and kneeled down.
“Happy Thanksgiving Dad” I said gently placing the flower down. “I miss you”
Mom was last of course like always; whenever we made our treks up to see Dad she stayed the longest. I took that as my cue to go down and talk to Nick. He was kicking dirt back and forth kind of looking lost and uncomfortable. When he saw me coming towards him he tensed up. I felt bad about that.
“Hey” I said leaning against my brother’s minivan.
“Hey” He answered looking down at his feet.
“I’m sorry about dinner. I didn’t mean to yell”
“S’okay” He answered still looking down. I glanced over to my Mom; she was kneeling down in front of my father talking to him.
“I miss him…I miss my dad” I confessed to this fourteen year old brat.
“I know you do and I’m sorry about that” He looked up at me and smiled. I nodded.
My Mom was making her way back to us now which signaled the end of our visit, thankfully. I don’t know if I could have handled being there any longer.
“Do you mind if I go and see him?” Nick asked just as Tim opened his door to let him in.
It took me by surprise and once again it made me angry. “NO!” I shot back at him.
“Kevin!” My Mother said totally surprised by my behavior.
“Sorry…if it’s going to be a problem then I won’t…”
“Don’t be silly Nick…of course you can go say something to him. I’m sure he would love to meet you”
Mom looked a little surprised too, but didn’t let it show in her response. We watched as he made his way up the hill to talk to my father. He knelt down, and I found myself walking up the hill after him. “Kevin let him be” Tim said to me but I ignored him.
As I got closer I was able to hear him.
“It’s nice to meet you finally Mr. Richardson…your son can be a real pain sometimes. I mean he’s a great guy though. You must have been a great dad and probably really strict because your son enjoys lecturing me on…well…just about everything” I was just about to interrupt him but I decided to let him keep going.
“Anyway…I just wanted to say that Kevin loves you so much, I wish you could see how great he is doing. You would be proud. I’m glad God has you there to keep him company. Put in a good word for me” I stood in amazement. I was actually speechless. For a brief moment I thought maybe he heard me coming.
“I wish I could have gotten to meet you while you were you know…um...alive. But I just wanted to let you know how much your son means to me. He’s a good guy but don’t tell him I told you that. I have a reputation to uphold” I laughed which scared the holy hell out him. He screamed.
“Relax idiot it’s just me”
“What are you doing here?” He asked getting defensive. I guess he didn’t want me to hear that stuff after all so I pretended I didn’t.
“Just seeing if you were done… We should get going”
“Yeah I’m done” He said getting up off the floor and dusting off his knees.
“Good” He walked a little ahead of me down the hill, “Hey Nicky”
“Don’t call me Nicky. I hate when people call me that”
“Fine…” I said shaking my head at him once again, “Nick then”
“Thanks for coming to my house” Now he looked surprised.
“I thought you hated me being here”
“Thanksgiving is a day for families and you are my little brother aren’t you?” He smiled.
I wrapped my arm around him as we walked down the hill together. I never told him I heard what he said, but it’s always stayed in my heart; especially when I feel like killing him.
And I always feel like killing him.