The Worst Thing Is by Josette Akresh-Gonzales

—You are still definitely looking for his approval. Your dad’s I mean, I said.
—You are. You sat down at your parents’ kitchen table and told your dad you’d bought that record on vinyl. On vinyl. That’s because you care.
I sat back in the chair and waited. He would come up with some answer.
This was my husband’s brother. He was known for the witty comeback. All over Allston and on the intertubes, young hipsters admired him for his snark and out-of-left-field comments. He’d walk a block and half a dozen people would call to him or slap him a high-five, like on a black sitcom from the 70s. His threadbare hoodie and his longish hair, his pink and lime green sneakers. Matt said his brother just didn’t honestly give a fuck.
—Did you forgive your dad for hitting you when you were little?  I asked. Matt told me how your dad beat the shit out of you when you crapped your pants. There was a Bible salesman or a World Book guy at the door, right? And he belittled you and backhanded you with his thick ring on. There was a mark. Matt said you never had your own birthday party, that you wore hand-me-downs and the brunt of your parents’ hard times.
—That’s all true, he said.
—Yeah, I said. —And I’m sorry I know too much about it.
—I don’t know if I forgave him. I don’t know that, actually.
—His cousins made fun of him at Christmas over his dentures.
—They were always like that. Bunch of snobs.
—That’s what he said.
—He’s going to die of a heart attack one of these days.
—I know.

Josette Akresh-Gonzales
strea Josette mimageJosette Akresh-Gonzales lives in Waltham, Massachusetts, with her husband and two sons, and is a production editor at the Massachusetts Medical Society. While at Boston University she co-founded the BU Literary Society and the journal Clarion and was its editor for two years. Twitter: @vivakresh.