Chapter 24: Hammer to Fall

Things have been a bit tense of late around the Rex household, for obvious reasons. Well, that’s not completely accurate. In an attempt to be good parents and not screw up our kids, we’ve tried to keep all tension strictly between Nalani and me. I think we’ve succeeded at that, mostly. Byrd hasn’t shown any sign that she’s onto us, anyway. If Boone has any idea what’s going on, he’s not talking about it, but that may just be because Boone can’t talk yet.

Not that Boone would care if he knew what was going on, of course. In his current stage of development he really doesn’t seem to care much about anything other than eating, sleeping, vomiting, and soiling his diapers, and seems to take a great deal of enjoyment out of of never wanting to do any of those at an appropriate time.

Boone is a man of few words. Zero, to be precise.

Nalani and I have tried to discuss things like how our relationship got into the state it’s in now, and where we go from here, but it’s still hard to find the words to talk about it. As a result, most of the time we get anywhere near the topic, we fall back on silence. Some things are just easier not to talk about. It doesn’t happen every time, though. We’ve managed to communicate the basics to each other, at least, such as that I am very hurt and disappointed, and that she is very sorry it happened. She has promised me that her infidelity is a thing of the past and that she has no desire to ever be unfaithful again, and deep down, I believe her. For some strange, unexplainable reason, I think she’s telling the truth. That doesn’t change the past, however, and I’m not sure there are promises Nalani could make that would take away the pain I’m carrying around.

So, mostly, we don’t really talk about it. It is so much easier just to put it off until later. In the meantime, we try the best we can to go on with our lives pretending everything is normal. At this point, I think we’re both resigned to just trying to pretend it never happened, in the hopes that if we ignore it long enough, it’ll go away. I come upon it naturally; it was typically how my family dealt with uncomfortable issues, and it’s the same reason Uncle Thaddeus was missing most of his left leg. That’s the problem with ignoring your problems, I guess. Sometimes, instead of just going away, they start smelling bad, turn gangrenous, and then your doctor tells you he’s going to have to amputate at the knee.

But enough about Nalani and me and dismembered limbs. Let’s talk about something else.

I Stream, You Stream

Byrd’s taken a real interest in what I do for a living, which these days consists in large part of making videos and sharing them on the internet. I’m still working for Sahara Social, but it’s mostly in an advisory capacity these days. Most of my income, if I’m being completely honest, comes from posting short clips of me telling dad jokes with my shirt off. Don’t ask me to explain the attraction, because I really can’t; I just know that as soon as the shirt comes off, follows go up. It’s a very strange world and I’m just doing my best to be successful in it, and if flashing a nipple or two means the kids get to eat tonight, then so be it.

At this point I should clarify that Byrd has no interest in telling jokes topless, and if she did I would consider it a major parenting fail. She is, however, very interested in the process of making and editing videos, and posting them online. She’s even dipped her toes into the waters of livestreaming while she’s gaming, both of which she’s actually pretty good at, in her own little pre-teen way. We’ve made a deal. She’s allowed to stream whenever she wants as long as she’s never on-camera, I’m around to keep an eye on things, and I have full moderator privileges on her channel. The second someone crosses a line, I have her permission to bash them upside the head with the ban hammer. I can be downright Asgardian with that thing, far more often than I’d like. People on the internet can be really creepy sometimes.

Of even greater concern, though, has been the shortage of available computers in this house. It was getting increasingly difficult to find an open seat at my own desk, and I eventually had to fork over enough cash to get Byrd her own PC. My little girl is growing up so fast.

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