Straightening Up by Jeffrey Ricker

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For most people the holidays mean family, togetherness, and focusing on the things that matter most in life. For Greg it means taking the artwork off the walls, putting away photographs, and sleeping single, because this Christmas his partner Michael's mother is coming to visit. Things would be easier if Michael would finally come out to her, but until he gets the guts to do that, it's up to Greg to do some straightening up. A holiday short story.


“No, it’s okay, really. There’s plenty of room here. So why isn’t Dad coming…? Oh, well, if he has to, he has to. What’s your flight number?”

Greg peered over the top of the newspaper. Michael clutched the phone between his ear and shoulder while he wrote something on a notepad; all the while, he made a point of avoiding eye contact. He had stopped writing now and was idly drawing circles. Michael rolled his eyes.

“Okay, I’ll be there. No, I won’t forget... Okay... Me too, Mom. Bye.”

Greg folded the newspaper and tossed it onto the coffee table. Michael continued to stare at the pad, tapped it with the pen.

“When does she get here?” Greg asked.

“This Tuesday.”

“Tuesday? She could have given us a little notice.”

Michael looked up, finally. “You agreed you wouldn’t make a big deal about this.”

“I didn’t think I was going to have to do this every time she comes to visit. Aren’t you ever going to tell her that we’re friends in that special way?”

“Very funny.”

“It didn’t kill your dad.” Michael’s father had guessed, actually, and it amazed Greg that Michael’s mother hadn’t.

“No, but she still expects grandchildren—try explaining that one to her.”

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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