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Lance sat at the table and waited.
Folding and unfolding the napkin, sipping beer and checking his phone for imaginary messages, It was time for him to deliver this speech, and once it was done, maybe his life would finally make sense.
Just as his nerves were on the verge of taking over, he heard the telltale shuffle and deep baritone of his teenage son. He didn’t even have to turn around to know that Blake was flirting with the hostess seating him and winning her over as evidenced by her giggle.
When they reached the table, the girl smiled and handed Blake a menu, Blake winked at her and plopped himself in the chair opposite his father.
“Hey Blake, thanks for meeting me.”
“Free lunch? Anytime dad.”
Lance watched his son unfold his napkin and place it in his lap. His thick dark hair was shaggy and badly in need of a haircut, but he knew that Melinda, the girlfriend, liked it. He could still see the little boy, with skinned knees swinging a blue plastic bat, in the face of this hybrid man child. Lance had always been proud that Blake resembled him, loved the comparisons to temperament and good looks that people often offered. It had made it easier to live the lie, to stay, but now Blake was off to Penn State Main Campus at the end of the summer and he was taking all those reasons with him.
Lance took a deep breath, a sip of beer and looked his son in the eyes.
His son slouched against the table, hands folded, “Yeah, Dad?”
“I have something I need to talk to you about.”
“Ahhh, Dad. This isn’t going to be about sex is it?”
Lance laughed, “No. Well not your sex life anyway.”
A blush crept up his son’s neck and moved into his cheeks, “Hey Blake. No! This isn’t your ‘before you go to college’ speech. It’s about me…” he paused and went on “…and your mom.”
Blake pushed himself into the back of the chair and folded his arms, “are you finally going to leave her?”
Now it was Lance’s turn to turn red and sputter, “What are you talking about?”
“Dad, I’m your son and I love you. I love mom too, but she doesn’t love you. Not like she should. ” He picked up the sweaty water glass in front of him and took a drink before he went on, “she takes advantage of you and she’s mean.”
“Buddy, I don’t think you should talk about your mom like that.”
“Well, she is.” Blake shrugged. “So? Are you leaving her?”
Lance sipped the beer and wondered how this had gotten so easy, “I am.”
“Good.” Blake said, opening his menu, “Are you going to try to find that girl, Kate? The one you were going to marry before mom?”
“I just know Dad. You still love her don’t you?”
Lance felt the weight on his heart lift at the thought of Kate, “I do.”
This week, your prompt is a simple concept that can be fraught with complication.
You have 400 words to write a fiction or creative non-fiction piece about freedom, in any way that makes sense to you.