Friday 18th September 2026: Jac

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"It's good to see you, Jac. I mean, it doesn't happen very often, but it's good when it does."

The aroma of good, rich home-cooked food, drifted around the kitchen as hazy afternoon sunlight stretched and slanted through the blinds. A perfect moment. A snapshot memory. Warmth of every kind.

"Oh, Papa, you know how busy I've been getting ready for the opening tonight. Once this weekend is out of the way, things'll calm down again and I'll be here all the time, I promise. Also, lunch smells delicious." Jac Etienne leaned around their father to sneak a spoonful of the soup that was bubbling on the hob.

"Fine, fine, the famous artist doesn't have time for their parents anymore but can somehow make time for food."

Jac laughed, more warmth. "Papa, I'm not famous!"

"Are you not, now? Really? And how much do your pictures sell for these days?" Jean-Pierre winked, then turned back to stir the soup on the hob, large hands gentle at work.

Jac's mother came to their defense. "Jean-Pierre, stop teasing. The good Lord blessed us with a child and he blessed our child with talent. Jac works hard and deserves all the success they get."

"Mama, you must stop referring to me as a child! I'm thirty-one years old."

"Jac," Evangeline replied, "You will always be our child, even if you live to be a hundred. Your papa and I will try not to make a fuss over you in front of all the important art people at your big exhibition tonight, but when we're at home, you are our child and we will feed you too much and constantly remind you how proud we are of all your hard work and success. That's what parents are for."

Jean-Pierre interjected before Jac had a chance to respond, "Your mama is right. We love you. The world has seen some dark days of late but the Lord saw fit to keep us safe together."

Jac turned away for a moment, fleetingly somber, before their face lit up again. "He knows how good your cooking is, Papa, and how much Mama is needed at the school. And he knows how much I need you both too. We're blessed."

Jac wasn't sure how much they still believed in their parents' religion, but they believed in something, grateful to have been brought up with a peaceful, loving God rather than the fire and brimstone version touted by the street preachers.

"Child, we raised you well." Evangeline beamed. "There's not enough meat on your bones yet, but there will be soon if your papa and his cooking have anything to do with it. We want people buying your pictures because they love them, not because you look like you need the money for food. You spend too much time at that gym of yours, running on those machines, staying skinny."

"Mama, I'm not skinny! And I've told you, I go to the gym to be strong and fit. I don't even know what I weigh."

"You don't weigh enough, if you ask me. The good Lord blessed you with a body and—"

"And I'm looking after it, Mama! But since you're so concerned about fattening me up, maybe I should get a head-start on lunch." Jac grabbed a bread roll from the table, ripped off a chunk and ducked under their father's arm to dip it in the soup, grinning.

Jean-Pierre swatted Jac away with a booming laugh. "The Lord blessed you with no patience, child. None at all."

"And you love me anyway," replied Jac, knowing every word of it was true.

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