Father

By Emily Lannon, Arts & Entertainment Editor

She pulls her car into the driveway. He’s there, propped against his muscle car. It’s an orange Mustang, she knows that much but she isn’t sure on the year,  old is all she knew, ‘70s maybe.

His hip is resting against the front wheel well, leather jacket open and brushing against the hood. Glasses hide his eyes but the wrinkles push out from behind the lenses and the flash of teeth reveal a smile.

Excitement sparks in her chest at the sight of him, the man she recently learned was her birth father. Confusion quickly follows, there’s no reason he should be here, her mother didn’t mention it, or seem like she wanted him around.

“Hey,” she closes her car door and walks around to the front of the car to mirror his pose on her own car.

“Hey sweets,” he says, his smile broadening as he slips the sunglasses from his face to rest them on the collar of his shirt. He runs a hand through his black hair and straightens his stance. “I’m just here to see your mom, I invited her out to lunch you know, mending things. Plus I want to help money wise, I know it’s been a bit tight since the divorce and all.”

“Huh, weird she didn’t tell me you were gonna swing by. Or about the money.”   She shifts uneasily, moving to the other side of the car, closer to the house.

“Ah, she probably didn’t want you to worry-” He starts before she cuts him off.

“No, I mean I know things are tight, I just didn’t know you were going to be helping.”

His posture shifts as he fishes for something in his pocket. “I’m not surprised, she’s a proud woman, not wanting to admit when she needs help.”  He unfolds the crumpled piece of paper he found in his pocket and hands it across to her. “She’s been showing me some of your finances, doesn’t look great. This kind of house you really want a second full time income.”

She examines the paper skeptically, her mother surely would’ve mentioned including someone else in their household to this extent. The bill he passed over was a copy of the electric bill from last month.

She looks over it recognizes is as the same bill she used another copy of for scrap to write out a quick paper outline. She spots notes he’s made along the margin, talking about his contribution.

Her breath catches in her throat as she turns over the bill. On the back is her outline, an outline she threw away after she transferred it over to the computer.

She looks up, trying to hide her emotions but confusion breaks through.

“Are you sure she gave this to you?”

He only nods in response, but  rocks off of the car completely to stand up, feet slightly spread as if ready to move at a moment’s notice.

“Really?” She questions, disbelief clouding her features. “Because I don’t know if you looked at this closely or not but that’s my handwriting on the back, and I know for certain that this was tossed in the trash over a week ago!  So the Hell man!”  Her voice rises and wavers at the end.

She chucks the paper and it gets picked up by the wind and hits the ground a few feet away. One hand pulls her hat off her head as the other runs a hand through her hair and fists at the back of her neck trying to calm herself.

He takes a step back, then one forward rising a pointed finger between them. “Listen she wouldn’t tell me alright, but I knew she needed help. I did what I had to do.”

“So you went through our trash, man, uncool,”  She walks toward the door and put a hand on the door knob. “Does she even know you’re here?  Dude, do yourself a favor and just leave, forget us.”  Her voice was a forced calm, her heart pounding a mile a minute as she tried to get the man to leave.

“Ungrateful piece of shit, just like her! You need me!”  He rushes forward to try and grab her.

She slips through the door and closes it quickly behind her, locking it as she goes. She runs through the house clumsily, locking the remainder of the doors as his voice booms from the driveway.

“You need me, the both of ya. Useless on your own you need me! You want me!”

Her hands shake as she pulls out her phone, getting ready to call her mom, or maybe the cops, just someone. The phone starts to ring and she drops it. Picking it up she answers it reflexively.

“See darlin’ you picked up, proves you want me around,” His voice comes over the phone line and out the speaker.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

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