Family Matters (A scene from the final season)
“Could you pass the syrup, Dad?”
Judy waited patiently, smoothing the wrinkles on her black velvet dress, nervously pushing her palms against her thighs; back and forth. Carl didn’t move—not a muscle, not a twitch, not a break in his sullen gaze as he stared into the depths of his untouched plate.
“Dad? The syrup?”
“Huh? Oh.” He lethargically passed the syrup across the table not bothering to close the stained and moldy bathrobe he’d been wearing for as long as the Winslow family could remember at this point. He sat back down and got back to his painful staring. Judy chewed quietly while Eddie perused the newspaper, not so much reading but skimming his tired eyes over the pages. Harriette stood cautiously and put her purse over her shoulder.
“I’ll go get the car ready.” She exited through the front door and closed it gently, as not to disturb the eerie quiet.
“That little shit,” Carl muttered under his breath.
Eddie folded his paper down, utterly surprised. His father hadn’t spoke a full sentence in quite some time. Not since the accident. “Dad? Did you say something?”
“That little shit. Every day, every single day of his life testing my patience, pushing me, running my blood pressure through the god damn roof and now? Now nothing? Now this awful ever-expanding space inside of my chest? It’s as if he died solely to vex me one last time—a final goof to ache my heart for eternity. He was the son I never had. And now my son is dead.”
Eddie became enraged. “Dad, I am your son. He wasn’t even your blood! You hated the kid! Look at me, for Christ’s sake! I’m your own flesh and blood and I’m begging you to love me. Look at you. You sad old man.”
“Stop it! Stop it, you guys!” Judy burst into tears as Laura descended the stairs in her night t-shirt, her mascara running under the pair of Steven’s frames she’d been wearing lately, undoubtedly degrading her eyesight. Harriette reentered the home.
“Alright everyone, the car is in the drive—Judy, honey, why are you crying? Laura! Laura, what on earth are you wearing? Get dressed! We are not showing up late to your grandmother’s funeral!”
“My one true love is gone, Mother, a lit candle in its prime pinched out by the dark, calloused fingers of Death.” Laura plopped herself down at the table, exhaling loudly.
“Good grief! You make no sense, baby! Alright, everyone who is coming to Estelle’s funeral get your backsides in the car, now!” Hariette stomped in her shiny heels through the front door, leaving it open.
“Come on, Judy, wipe your face.” Eddie handed her a napkin and picked her up. The sweetness on his face vanished as he narrowed his stare toward Carl and Laura. “You two need to get a grip on yourselves. This family is falling apart.” Eddie and Judy left, closing the door firmly as they exited.
Carl continued to stare at his full plate with dead eyes. Laura reached for the open syrup container and slowly, as if she were possessed, drizzled letters over her short-stack: U-R-K-E-L.