Rune remembered sitting on the couch, to the side of the television, looked at the game his father was watching. Basketball — of all the spectator sports his father watched, Rune knew it to be his least favorite. Refs let the players show off too much, there’s not enough discipline in the game, not any more anyway. In the Banks household, it was to be taken as fact that all spectator sports had been so much better when his father was Rune’s age.
A moment later, Rune had gathered enough information to determine it was a collegiate game, between two schools toward which his father had previously expressed any fondness or animosity. Watching the game was an escape, his distraction more powerfully fueled by the liquid contents of the glass on the side table next to the recliner.
Rune rose from the sofa, assuming his father was too busy with his distraction to notice. He turned, took a step toward the dining room. And stopped when his father asked him a question. He looked down at his father, his eyes still focused on the television screen, which had gone to a commercial, and realized he had been too surprised to decode the transmission. He needed to request a re-transmission.
His father frowned, looked over at his drink. Picked it up, drank. Two ice cubes (still in their relative shape, Rune noticed) slid down the glass, now empty of liquid, slamming into his father’s upper lip. The middle-aged accountant and father of two swore, spat at the cubes, held the glass on his stomach. And resumed staring at the television screen. For a moment, Rune thought his father had forgotten about him. But then he cleared his throat.
“I said, I don’t know why you even bother.” Rune recognized the words, but this time struggled with the meaning.
His father waved his left hand in Rune’s direction. “This fencing, thing that you do. I mean, I don’t understand why you keep doing it.”