It was supposed to be his birthday but instead it revolved around him. Jethro hated these times. He sat alone at the kitchen table, swinging his legs back and forth, while everyone gathered around him outside. His father had supposedly come down to Virginia to see him, not to be on stage for all the kids in the neighborhood.
“Happy birthday to me,” Jethro muttered. He hated his father’s alter ego. That was what they called it, didn’t they? By day, mild mannered professor, by night, whip wielding adventurer. And he just wanted his father, he didn’t want to share him with everyone else.
“Jethro? Why aren’t you outside playing with your friends? They’re having a great time with your father.”
“I know.” He didn’t want to be petulant but he couldn’t help it.
“Jethro?” His mother sat beside him, brushing his hair back. “It’s your tenth birthday. Why are you so miserable? Aren’t you glad Daddy came to visit?”
Jethro stared at the table. “He didn’t come to visit me. He came to show off. I just want my dad, not the stupid hero. Dad is good enough on his own. I don’t need the hat and the whip and the jacket. Why doesn’t he understand that?”
His mother shook her head, looking very sad all of a sudden, and Jethro felt horrible. “I’m sorry.” His parents had only been married a couple of years, because they weren’t enough for him.
“Don’t be, honey. I know how you feel. I always wished we were enough, Jethro, but we’ll never compare to his adventures. Someday you’ll see. Someday you’ll do great things and save the world as well. But you’ll learn from your father’s mistakes. You follow your heart. None of this two separate lives for you, son. You have you dreams and you go claim them, darling.”
She strode to the door. “Henry! Jethro would like to spend some time with his father. Get inside here.”
As his father walked inside, Jethro couldn’t crush the hope rising inside.
“Happy birthday, boy.” His father gave him a tight hug. “Having a good day?”
“Getting better all the time.”