Written for the prompt 'Daddy, i'm fine.'
It's a Monroe kind of day when they come, and they're not at all how she remembers them.
They're too grey, too small. Too lined and creased like scrunched up paper thrown about her sitting area and she knows they should be familiar, but there's too much silence, nerves with hands to fidget and a pungent sense of disconnection that seems to vacillate between the here and the there and the twenty years of absentee parenting hanging in the room.
There's no sense of relaxation, too much of a tightness. She has questions, she has plenty of questions, but she really just doesn't know what to say to either of them, if there's anything to say at all, and that bothers her.
She squints, tilts her head, squints a little more. If she looks just right, in just such a way, she thinks she can see the shadow in the light, the hidden distance, the cracks and the crevices in the substance that separates their world from hers, even as they sip tea just across the table. She makes no effort to bridge the gap.
In the end, it's details, misdirection. Avoiding the course of discussion that they need to have. She knows they've condemned themselves to circles, to repetition of parenting and communication failures passed, but she won't touch it. That part of herself is completely closed off from any discussion. That snake can go right on chomping down on its own tail because she is done.
They are as necessary in her life now as she was in theirs then, and she is comfortable with that.
She is just fine with that.