1. to treat as a pet; pamper; coddle.
  2. a lamb brought up without its dam; pet lamb.
  3. any pet.


The TV suddenly went dark, turning the screen it into an ebony mirror of Jack’s slouching reflection.

“It’s time to go,” his mother said, setting the remote on the coffee table as she breezed through the living room, fixing her earrings.

“What are you talking about,” he asked, observing his mother’s change of attire from this morning’s breakfast. She had put on her gold hoop earrings as well. This was obviously a special occasion.

Jack had come over early for Saturday morning breakfast, his norm for the first Saturday of the month.  After their standard breakfast of eggs, ham, and biscuits with tea, he was usually able to lounge on the couch after having fulfilled his duties as an only child.

“We have lunch with your Aunt Bertha today, remember?” His mother’s quizzical look matched his own feelings.

“I reminded you last week to dress appropriately…I thought that was why you were wearing your nice slacks today…”

Jack glanced at his khakis, the only pair of clean plants he had available that morning.

“Well, they were less wrinkled until you got so comfortable on the couch… here, let me iron those for you.”

Jack scurried off the couch, keeping his mother’s hands at bay.

“I am not going to Aunt Bertha’s,” he said matter-of-factly. He resisted the urge to stomp his foot for emphasis. That would’ve defeated the purpose of his stance. Just then his father appeared in the doorway behind his mother.

Twenty minutes later, Jack was in the back of his parents’ Audi in his freshly pressed pants, staring at the homes as they passed by his window.

He hated moments such as these, when he failed to assert himself sufficiently and his parents still treated him as if he were 8 years old.

It was the worse.

That feeling was only magnified when he visited his Aunt Bertha who, instead of treating him like a man, was prone to cosset him like a cocker spaniel. He mentally prepared himself for the usual, the pulling of his cheeks, which were still chubby despite puberty, but now hidden behind scruffy facial hair, and the vigorous touseling of Jack’s curly hair produced knots and annoyance.

Her insistence on spelling out words as if Jack was unable to comprehend “adult” conversation felt the most demeaning.

He sighed deeply in the backseat, vowing to doublecheck his mother’s schedule before visiting for breakfast.



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