The kids could be cruel. He could see them, groaning at the sight of him, as he rolled up in the volvo. They were embarrassed they’d say. They’d call him weird and look away. His wife always seemed tired. She didn’t laugh at his jokes anymore. She often slept on the couch with the television on. Sure, she’d smile big for the family portrait, but in private, in the bedroom, things were strained. As with so very many husbands and fathers across this wide world of ours, it seemed that no matter how hard he tried, and no matter how much he wished it were otherwise, Wendell’s wife and children just didn’t “get” him. You know?

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