The prodigal son

An elderly father and Glory,  his daughter anticipate a visit from  his  son, her brother who has kept away from the family for many years.

‘What followed were weeks of trouble and disruption, dealing with the old man’s anticipation and anxiety and then his disappointment, every one of which made him restless and sleepless and cross. She spent the days coaxing her father to eat. The refrigerator and the pantry were stocked with everything he thought he remembered Jack’s having a liking for, and he suspected Glory of wanting to give up too soon and eat it all on the pretext of avoiding waste. So he would accept nothing but a bowl of oatmeal or a poached egg, while skin thickened on cream pies and lettuce went limp. She had worried about what to do with it all if Jack never came. The thought of sitting down to a stale, humiliated feast with her heartbroken father was intolerable, but she had thought it anyway, to remind herself how angry she was, and with what justification. She had in fact planned to smuggle food out of the house by night in amounts the neighbour’s dogs could eat, since it would be too old to offer the neighbors themselves, and they would no doubt feed it to the dogs anyway, tainted as it was with bitterness and grief. ‘

Marilynne Robinson Home, Picador, p 29

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