Proud

He looks at you like your something worthless and although you don't show it, it hurts.

A lot.

Your mum encourages you but it's only because she doesn't want to lose to your father. She wont admit defeat that you are a failure.

You never meant to be a failure.

It was just that the only job that you ever really wanted was to make people happy.

Then you realised that whenever you had a job then they were happy, it wasn't what you wanted but you wanted to make them happy.

The reason you've been sacked so much isn't because you're crap at your job, you just rebelled because it wasn't what you want.

You want to be able to go into work each day knowing that at the end you'll go home with a glow inside because you put a smile on somebody's face.

Not because you got promoted or a pay rise or what have you, just the simple fact that you made just one person's day that little bit brighter was enough for you.

But not for your family.

You've lost count of how many times you've been belittled and yelled at and told off, it's all you've ever known.

And it hurts.

But you've always been a believer in the old saying, fake it 'til you make it, so that's what you do.

Put on a fake grin and pretend you're happy with whatever job you've managed to snag for the week. Act cheerful and try to make your mum and dad proud.

And that's the one thing in life that you have ever wanted to do more than make people smile.

Make your parents proud.

Then you saw how proud they both were when Janey moved out to university and how happy they were.

And you feel sad that as the eldest you never made their faces light up like that.

And you're sorry.

So you pack your bags with a wasted life time's worth of crap and you leave never to return.

Partly so you'll be able to get a job where you can make people smile.

Mostly so you'll make your parents proud that you're moving out.

And you regret that you won't be there to see Michael and Abby grow up or look after Mum and Dad when they get old or take care of Kenzo after school when Janey is at work and take him to the park for ice-cream.

But most of all you regret who you are.

And as you take one last look around your room and look on as your crazy, nut load of a family laugh and talk together just before you sneak out the door with a note left on your bed; you send up a quiet prayer to a God that you don't even really believe in but you hope so.

You pray that you make them proud.

Like Janey, like Michael, like Abby, like Kenzo.

You pray that you can become like them.

And you offer up a humble apology for sneaking off.

That night you leave.

In the hope that you can make them proud.

Like you've always wanted.

Like they've always wanted you to be.

You hope you can do it.

And as you stand on the step as the front door slams behind you, you imagine you can feel your self clapping you on the shoulder, whispering in your ear,

"Go make 'em proud Nick."