Kevin leaned his head against the back of the couch and watch scenes flick across the television screen through half-opened eyes. He was bored. Bored with the television. Bored with the day. Bored with his life.
Over the sounds of explosions and screaming emanating from the television, Kevin heard his mother enter the room, her low heels clicking across the rich wood floor. She stopped behind him and Kevin felt a brush of fabric tickling his forehead. Kevin swiveled his eyes up and saw the lower edge of a dishtowel sweeping over his hair. His mother held the other end of the towel in her hand and seemed completely oblivious to Kevin as she stared at the television with a furrowed brow.
She could be so aggravating sometimes.
"I wish you wouldn't watch that garbage," his mother said, still frowning at the characters portrayed in the movie.
Kevin turned his eyes back to the screen with a bored expression. "Why not? Dad watches it," Kevin retorted laconically.
This was an intentional jab -- more for the purpose of making his mother stop nagging him than for the purpose of validating anything -- and it worked. Kevin didn't look up from the screen as he listened to his mother's footsteps retreat from the room.
But the movie seemed to have lost what little appeal it had for him. He watched a few more minutes so that it wouldn't seem like his mother had influenced him, and then he cut it off and headed upstairs to his room.
As he passed the kitchen, he heard a ragged intake of breath. Peering around the door, he saw his mother, leaning against the counter with tears streaming down her face. Guilt jabbed at him, knowing that it was probably his words that opened a wound for her. For a moment, he stood wavering in the doorway, unnoticed by his sobbing mother. He wished there was some way of comforting her, but he couldn't think of any. It wasn't his fault that his father was a crooked politician who rarely came home.
Kevin sucked in a breath and jogged upstairs to his room. The whole world was falling apart -- starting with his family.