Following you is not easy. In fact, I grew tired of following you many years ago. I just simply forgot to stop doing it. It became habit. Thinking now I can’t remember when I noticed a difference in me. Maybe I was drinking coffee and was struck with the notion all at once. Perhaps it was something that developed overtime creeping through me like a spider crawling on top of sleeping bodies at night.
What do I do now that I remembered? Do I simply forget again or should I do something about it this time? You appealed to me so. Your very nature and need for me so strong that I always felt as though I was locked in as if on a Ferris wheel with a bar holding me in place, going round and round peaking and falling.
Other bonds have come and gone. Ours has remained steady over time breaking that which was important to me all along. Breaking me, no, I was broken long ago.
This time might be different. I have found someone. Found someone again who can cure me of you. If you were here right now standing in front of me I would have the courage to tell you once and for all. I would tell you that you are no good for me. You lied to me. You said that we would make it and be happy. Brother, you lied to me.
If you stood at my door I would cast you away. I would not go with you on your next hunt. It is entirely possible that I never knew what you were hunting. I just wanted to make sure that you would be okay. So I stayed or I went depending on what you needed.
I know I would have the courage this time to dispel you forever with the promise that I would see you on the other side. Yes, that will be my promise to you. Brother, I will see you on the other side.
It rarely rains in Los Angeles in October. Yet there it was, a wall of rain coming down as I tried to make my way to the grocery store. My wind shield wipers could barely keep up and left huge streaks reminding me that I needed to go to Shucks and get new wipers for my car and Jennifer’s car.
I planned to make seafood fettuccine for our anniversary dinner. Today was our fifth wedding anniversary. When I reached the grocery store parking lot I circled a few times hoping to get a spot closest to the door so that I wouldn’t get soaked. I looked up at the temperature gauge in my jeep and saw that it was sixty-eight. Still pretty warm.
There were about five cars circling the lot waiting for a closer spot to open. I saw someone walking toward me juggling keys and a bag of groceries. She stopped right in front of me. Perfect, this was as close as I was going to get. She tossed her bag into the backseat of her Honda and pulled out in front of me, I had to put my car in reverse and inch back a few feet to give her enough room. Just as she pulled away I saw headlights turn in front of me and park in the spot, my spot. Damnit!
She was a young thing, in her early twenties. I guess I was still pretty young too, only just thirty. She got out of the car and ran into the store. She had a very nice ass. A car honked behind me. It startled me into action. I pulled into a spot that was about in the middle of the lot. I scoured my back seats for an umbrella or coat or anything I could put over my head. Nothing. I made a run for it.
I grabbed my cart and headed toward the seafood section. My flip flops squeaking against the linoleum floor at each step. The store was florescent bright in comparison to the dark clouds that loomed outside. After I grabbed clams, halibut, shrimp, and salmon, I turned down the pasta and sauces aisle.
She stood in front of the canned fruit holding a can of mandarin oranges. She looked up at me as I passed and her eyes flickered with acknowledgement. “Hey, aren’t you Jennifer’s husband?” she asked. “I, yeah, I’m sorry I don’t remember your name,” I replied. “Oh, I’m Molly. I work with Jen in accounting,” she replied. “We met at the Christmas party a couple months ago,” she added.
I vaguely remembered her or that Christmas party. From what I did remember, I made a complete ass out of myself in vengeance. “Jen’s boss hired me as an intern and then brought me on full time after I finished college,” she said. So, I was right. That put her at about twenty-three. Her blonde hair fell down well past her shoulders framing her face. She was very attractive.
“Hey, I was planning to walk over to Starbucks after and grab some coffee. This weather has got me down,” she said. I nodded in agreement with that. Most Californians do not like the rain. “Would you like to join me?” she asked. Before I could stop myself I agreed to meet her over there after I finished up with my shopping. She agreed and headed off toward the cashier.
I found myself hurrying through the rest of the list my heart beating wildly. It had been years since a girl had shown any interest in me at all. Wait, what was I thinking, I was married and shopping for an anniversary dinner that I was about to make. I couldn’t go to coffee. Not with someone that Jen knows. It was weird how she referred to her as Jen. Only I call her that, and her family.
The rain had let up a little but the clouds seemed even darker than before hanging like a blanket that could hide anything. I told myself that I was just going to get back into my car and drive home. That’s the kind of person I was. I wasn’t the kind of person to go have coffee with a strange, beautiful girl.
But there I was sipping on a short caramel macchiato, another thing I usually don’t allow myself to do, ever since I’ve focused on keeping in shape. We talked for a few minutes about how she liked working in the accounting department and asked me what I do although I had a suspicion that she already knew.
She quieted down and seemed to be focusing intently on the foam at the top of her cup. Then she spoke and what she said made my heart plunge into my stomach. “I know about you and Jennifer,” she said. It came out like she was admitting to a lie. She was looking at me, watching my face. Did I know what she was talking about?
I thought I knew and my emotions caught in my chest like wildfire. My heart hammered as pure anger raced through my veins. I had told only one person. My brother. And here, Jen had told an intern. A twenty-fucking-two year old intern. The words what the fuck charged across my head like an insult.
“It wasn’t Jen that told me,” she said. Oh great, that was supposed to make me feel a whole lot better. Now she had heard hear say, which means what, that her entire department knows, the entire office? I felt like throwing up.
She could tell that I wasn’t taking the news well. “Let me explain. Let me explain why I am here,” she said. Why she was here, wasn’t this a coincidence? She had stolen his parking spot to get into the store to grocery shop. What the fuck?
“This isn’t easy to say and I want you to know that normally I wouldn’t get involved, but when I met you at the Christmas party a few months ago, well, I like you and it really bothered me and I wanted to help you, I have been thinking about it ever since” she said. Finally I found my voice, “Help me?” I asked condescendingly.
“Listen,” she said. “My apartment is just down the street. Could we go there to talk in private?” she asked. Her face softened waiting for a reply. I felt my emotions calm slightly replaced with curiosity about how she found out and what she might know. “Sure,” I said quietly. We got up and headed toward our cars. “Why don’t you ride with me? It will be easier,” she said. “Fine,” I replied.
In the car, I clicked in my seat belt. She began to explain things more clearly. Her and Jen had become pretty good friends. They had both been in the same sorority at USC. The story took a twist that I was not ready for. At USC she had been involved with a couple women. My body stopped moving and I didn’t make a sound as I let her words sink in. at some level everything she was telling me felt right.
My head was swimming by the time we reached her apartment. We got out and walked up two flights of stairs. She opened the door to her apartment, which was small, but well decorated. “Can I get you anything?” she asked. “No, thanks. Well, how about some water?” I asked.
We sat on her couch, each of us on separate ends. I began peppering her with questions. I wanted details. I was sick and tired of not knowing. Not knowing why my own wife had never had sex with me before. She had given me many reasons, well not really reasons, more like excuses. We didn’t have sex before we got married because she wanted to wait. Then she didn’t want to have sex on our wedding night because she was too tired. Later it became clear to me that she was terrified of have sex.
We had tried everything from counseling to going to her OBGYN just to make sure that she was capable. The hurt and rejection ran deep. So deep in fact that I had killed off that piece of me completely just to cope. In the beginning I would take care of myself, but then I gave that up, and let it go, for the sake of our marriage. I had confided in my brother only, after about a year. He told me to get a hooker. That was the last time I talked about it.
I was lost in thought. Molly brought me back to reality. “I followed you to the store this morning,” she confessed. “Why?” “Because I know that today is your anniversary and like I said before, when I met you at the party, I really liked you. And, Jen, she is having an affair,” she blurted out. By this point I had gone through such a fierce range of emotion that the latest bit of information stung only a little, although I new that wouldn’t last. I sipped on my water calculating if I really wanted to ask a follow up question.
“With who?” I managed. Molly’s eyes fell to the floor. “With me,” she said. Tears pooled at her eyelids and fell streaking her cheeks. I was completely speechless. “I don’t blame her.” I said. The words hung in the air like the dark clouds looming just outside. Molly managed a weak smile.
She moved in closer to me and rested a hand on my leg. I flinched. “I just want you to know that I am sorry,” she said. “Yeah?” I asked. I felt like my body had been squeezed dry like an orange in a juicer. The water I sipped rusted on my tongue. “I want you to know that I like you too,” she said. I didn’t answer her. Instead I reached for her hair. Her long blonde hair and pulled her onto me. I didn’t care anymore about wrong or right. I was going to take this and then I would find a new life. I would start over again.
He created his own problems. He knew that. He was practical enough to understand that life is constant ebb and flow between cause and effect, decision and consequence. Only once before this was he faced with a life changing situation where he was thrust into a decision for better or for worse.
Now, he faced two main problems. One was in the background his whole life waiting to come to fruition. The other was something that he had manifested all on his own out of sheer stupidity.
Berkel sat in his doctor’s office gripping the chair’s wooden arms and tried to not listen to what she had to say. She explained how he would need to do some research now while it would be easy. He should find someone that he liked and who he trusted to work with during the transition. He should look for a new apartment that wasn’t on the top floor of a building that didn’t have an elevator. He should prepare for the inevitability that he was about to lose his vision. These were not the words he wanted to here. He thought he would have had at least another ten years before something like this happened. He had known since childhood that it could happen, but a person can never be ready.
At twelve he was diagnosed with child onset diabetes, type two. It had gone undiagnosed for almost a year which had heavily taxed his liver and kidneys. By the time he was diagnosed and prescribed regular insulin injections his eye sight had already taken a hit and he had to wear glasses. His doctor then had said that the long term effects of not treating it earlier would most likely lead to blindness one day. At the time, like any smoker who knows that they will die from lung cancer someday, it did not really faze him.
Berkel was not your typical kid. At eight years old he had taken to charcoal drawing like a baby takes to the nipple. When he turned eleven he switched to watercolor and at fifteen he was painting with oil. While other kids were watching Sesame Street on television he would watch Bob Ross. His bedroom wall was plastered with beautiful women like most teenage boys, but his favorite poster was of Starry Night over the Rhone. He was both transfixed and disgusted by the life of Vincent.
Through his years as a painter he had experienced some highs and some definite lows. Some of his still life’s had sold for near five thousand dollars in a gallery in Boise near his home. But those were too few and far between. He had sold a fifty five by forty inch oil painting of the Sun Valley landscape for thirty thousand dollars to a hotel when he was just twenty two. It had been a god sent because his wife, Jocelyn, lost her job and they were just about to foreclose on their small house.
Being an artist was all he knew to do. He tried a couple other jobs just to make more money for his wife and his daughter, but he could never hack it. He couldn’t sit in an office on the computer. That was not what his hands were meant for. He loved his family, but he was always looking beyond the horizon knowingly, waiting for the right time to go.
Now, he was no longer in Boise. He had moved to Cannes, France on impulse after he separated from his wife after eighteen years of marriage. They had married young, because they’d had a kid young. He had felt guilty leaving, but his daughter was a woman, just turned eighteen. His art had come to a stand still and he needed inspiration. Where better to find inspiration than France and Italy?
It only took seven months for him to find himself all over again. He found his edge, his calling as an artist. He made more money selling paintings on the boardwalk in Cannes then he did in five years in Boise. Something changed in him and passer Byers could see the fire spill from his paintings.
He sent a big check to Jocelyn. They hadn’t officially divorced, but they were no longer exclusive in anyway. For now they agreed to be two drifters. She was focused on the restaurant she had bought. He sent money for her and for his daughter. He didn’t care how they used it. They had left on good terms and all in all she had been loving and supportive of his need to seek out his talent.
To celebrate himself and his new found success he bought a black Mercedes convertible and drove up the coast to Monaco. His first trip he stayed at the glorious casino de Monte Carlo. It was decadent. He wasn’t much of a gambling man. He sometimes played friendly poker back home. He never had much money to lose.
This time was different. This time his practical nature flew out the window. It met in direct proportion to how quickly his bank account had grown. He didn’t know it yet, but at almost thirty seven years old, Berkel faced disaster.
He discovered that roulette infused his excitement more than most things he’d tried in his life. At first he just watched and devised a plan of how he would play and win. His strategy was clever. He always stuck to the same group of numbers and often correlated them to his wife and daughter’s birthdays. His first time in he walked away ahead eight thousand dollars. His heart beat furiously on the drive back to Cannes from Monaco. The wind blew through his hair and he felt alive.
His art work continued to sell and he felt he gained even more of an edge. He went to Monte Carlo every weekend and sometimes during the weeknights if he had made a good sell that day. His ego ran high and the sheer adrenaline from this new and exotic life fed his fury. It was six months later, since the first day he played, that he lost. He lost big.
In his time there he’d made some friends. One in particular took interest in him as an artist and a player. They would share stories over whiskey until the early hours of the morning. His name was Franco. Franco was a retired banker from Paris. Franco was there the night that Berkel lost big and gave his condolences. Berkel, was left with only two thousand dollars to his name and his rent was due the following week. His rent was five grand.
Franco offered to lend him the money to cover it and a little extra. He knew he was good for it .Berkel would pay him back the following weekend. This went on for a few months. Berkel would get back in the black and then fall deep into the red. Franco would help him out. Not too much time went by before the being in the red became the norm and Franco was done with it. He wanted his money back and was ready to be rid of Berkel.
Berkel walks out of the doctor’s office. He walks the seven blocks down to the water and stares out at the cruise ship anchored just off shore. His money would come in from those people, those wealthy American’s and British travelers who would want a piece of art to take home to remember their once in a lifetime vacation.
The problem was that his debt to Franco far outweighed what he could bring in a week. He stared onto the horizon perplexed as to how he got into this mess. He would just have to cut out his gambling. At thirty seven his life was starting to feel as devastating and morose as his favorite painter. Vincent had shot himself and died at the age of thirty seven. That fate almost seemed optimistic in comparison to what faced him now.
The glare of the sun off the water forced him to put on his sunglasses. He wished he could say that the sky looked anew and the water shimmered like it never had before, but that was not the case. He didn’t see things any differently now then the day before when he didn’t know that he would be blind in a month, maybe two according to the doctor. He had always seen things the way he was meant to see them. He had an acute artist’s eye and knowing that it would go away didn’t change what he already saw.
Here he was faced with both problems. Destiny had caught up to him and in the meantime he had done something extremely moronic. To make matters even worse his daughter, now nineteen, had finished her first year of art school and was flying out to visit him for the summer. In just two years he had changed from a man who was most likely going through an early mid life crisis to just a man in crisis. He didn’t want to face his daughter.
His pocket vibrated. He had turned his cell phone to vibrate in the doctor’s office. He looked at the caller id. It was Franco. He didn’t want to answer, but at the same time, he wanted to talk to someone. Hello. “Berkel, ces’t Franco,” he said. I know. Do you mind if we speak in English? “Okay, no problem,” said Franco. Listen, Franco, said Berkel. “I just left the doctors office and found out that I am going blind. You are the first person I have told,” he said.
His total bill to Franco had reached thirty one thousand dollars. Without a doubt it had added tension to their friendship. Franco knew that Berkel was an outstanding artist. Franco himself had taken a piece as payment for a portion of his debt.
The line was silent and then he spoke. “Mon amis, Je regrette,” which meant, my friend, my apologies. He sounded sincere and it felt good for Berkel to speak the words. Next he would tell his wife.
“I will get you your money before I am incapacitated,” said Berkel. “Your friendship is important to me and I have been living a fool’s life,” said Berkel. “You are going blind? For sure? He asked. “Yes, that is what the doctor said and it has always been a possibility,” he replied. “Mon amis! Your art will be worth even more than before, now that you won’t be able to paint anymore originals,” he said with his thick French accent. What he said cut like a knife, but Berkel listened on. “Paint me two of your finest ever pieces and I will take them in exchange to write off all that you owe me,” he said. “You have a deal,” replied Berkel.
“How much time do you have,” he asked. Berkel’s eyes burned with tears of resentment, not at Franco, but at the world in general. “I should have another month or so,” he replied. “Okay. I will come by your place in a month then,” he said. “Okay. On se parle bientôt,” said Berkel. He hit the end call button and then dialed his wife.
He didn’t have much time to be depressed. He had two paintings to create. They had to be his best ever and he only had a week before his daughter, Marcy, would arrive. He’d asked his wife not to tell her anything, but at the same time knew that was probably impossible. They talked about everything. Especially him, he was sure.
The first thing he did was cancel his lease on his apartment. He moved his meek belongings to his new apartment on the bottom floor of a small complex right near the water. If he couldn’t see the ocean he damn sure wanted to be able to hear it. He set up his painting supplies in the front balcony and set to work. The first one came to him in a breeze. It was something he had dreamt about as a little boy, but never dared to paint. He rarely did portraits, but he had seen a face of a man in his dreams and could still remember him. He would call it Old Vincent. He felt it was a depiction of what Van Gogh might have looked like had he not killed himself at a young age.
Old Vincent looked fuller of life and more content than the self portraits Van Gogh created of himself. Maybe he had finally found love again and was able to keep it. Or maybe he gave into life’s flaws and quit his grievance.
By the time he had finished his first painting it was the day he was to pick up Marcy. He grabbed a chauffer to the airport. He’d liquidated his Mercedes. He would have just had a car pick her up and bring her down the coast, but he wanted to greet her himself. It had been two years since he’d seen her. He was nervous.
At the airport she was waiting outside the baggage claim exit doors. Berkel got out of the car and walked to hug her. She greeted him with a huge smile. Her long brunette hair was pulled back in a pony tail. It barely looked as though she’d spent the last sixteen hours traveling. When he pulled away he saw that her eyes were wet. “Well, I guess your mom talked to you about it then?” he asked. Her expression was of worry mixed with anger. “She told me everything, dad,” she said. “You have been living like a buffoon,” she said.
Berkel didn’t have much of a response. “Let’s get out of here,” he said. On the drive back to his apartment he told her everything. She told him about her first year in art school. It was like no time had past at all since they last saw each other. They had stayed in touch via email and telephone, but it wasn’t the same, as in person.
In the weeks that followed she helped him to get settled. He had nights when he would wake up in the dark and think, this is it, I can’t see. He would reach for his bed side lamp and be able to see just fine.
He finished his two paintings and gave them to Franco. Franco was astounded by both of them, exclaiming that even if he didn’t go blind they should appreciate to be worth much more than his debts. They shook hands and said their goodbyes.
Marcy stayed the summer. They painted together and traveled around France and Italy in a used diesel van.
He never stepped foot in a casino again.
-A Girl Who Writes
She slurped down her second dirty martini. She hadn’t eaten enough that day to suffice such an endeavor, but they were taking the edge off. Her waiter stopped by and dropped off her antipasto appetizer plate. She had been waiting an hour already and didn’t care anymore. She was going to eat something. “Can I get you anything else Ma’am?” he asked. Ugh! Ma’am?! “I’ll have another,” she said motioning to her martini glass. She was twenty-eight. It wasn’t as if she had just celebrated her forty-fifth birthday. There was no reason he should be calling her Ma’am. He was probably twenty three himself, not that much younger. It made her feel even worse about her predicament.
She had agreed to this blind date purely out of courtesy. Her new boss had set it up. She didn’t know how to get out of it, so alas, here she was, drinking alone, on a Tuesday night, when she could have been at home watching Heroes On Demand and fast forwarding through the commercials. Of course, the drinking thing wouldn’t have been any different. Although, she would have saved a bundle enjoying a nice glass of Pinto Grigio snug on her couch instead of spending ten bucks a pop on martinis.
She hadn’t went on a date in months. Her last boyfriend broke it off with her for a girl he met while on a dig in South America. After finally getting over him, which took months, she picked one of the characteristics that bothered her most about him, him being short, and vowed to never date someone shorter than her again. In fact, this would mark the first date she’d been on since.
Since then she’d also decided that being a workaholic totally made sense. She wondered why she had resisted it before. Working around the clock the last eight months had been absolute bliss. She’d gotten promoted to senior account executive and received a substantial raise. Her plan was to work even harder in the months to come and potentially jump ship in an effort to get an even bigger promotion. She was always calculating and planning her next move.
She owed her outstanding drive and work ethic to her mother. Her mother had lived on welfare for most of her upbringing. She had been an absolute embarrassment on a regular basis. She loved her mom, even more now that she had passed. The memory of her ignited a warmer glow than the reality of her contribution to Alyssia’s life. Alyssia strove to be everything other than what her mom was. She was hard working, planned her life and expected nothing but greatness in return. Eventually she would find the perfect husband, create a family of her own, and be admired for her perfection. She had no family. She never knew her dad. She relied on her best friend Jada, who was more like a sister and a mother to her than anyone she had ever known.
She sat at her table tallying her bill in her head when she noticed someone approaching out of the corner of her eye. “Are you Alyssia? He asked. She stood up quickly and took his outstretched hand for a quick hand shake. “Bruce.” He introduced himself. His hand was warm, not clammy, like hers had instantaneously become. “I am so sorry that I am late,” he exclaimed. He looked sincerely sorry and almost a little frightened. His face was adorable and his eyes were soft and kind. Overall he was nice looking and well presented. He had dark blonde hair. Best of all, he was tall. He had to be about four inches taller than her, which meant he was probably six foot one or so. Alyssia herself was pretty tall for a girl, like her mom, which was one genetic predisposition she actually took pride in.
Alyssia wasn’t about to let him off the hook too easily for being late. “Are you able to stay or do you have something else you need to run to?” she asked. His eyes widened and he did not reply. Yikes, she thought that maybe she was a bit too harsh with that. “I’m just kidding.” She said. “No I deserve that. You see, I just got the oddest call a couple hours ago.” He explained. “I was on my way home from work to change before I came here to meet you when I got a call from a friend of mine. He works for the FBI.” Wow, this guy is pathological was all she could think. After she finished her martini she was going to fake an important call and flee the scene. She sat there nodding and sipping as he rambled on. It was too bad really, he was quite cute.
After a couple minutes of feigning a look of interest she distinctly heard him say the words “back ground check”. “Wait!” she said. “You had someone run a background check on me?” she asked. “This is a date for Christ sake, not a job interview. Flag on the field!” she said. Even though she hadn’t dated in a while, she knew when something just wasn’t going to work and she hated wasting time. Alyssia grabbed her purse and plopped down her credit card. “No wait. I know this sounds weird, but I just got out of a bad relationship last year and so I felt compelled,” he said. Alyssia just stared at him, not knowing what to say.
“Listen, I know this is strange, and I wouldn’t even be telling you all of this if it weren’t for.” He stopped mid-sentence and let out a sigh. “The reason I am late is because I wasn’t sure I wanted to come and meet you. “Wow, this is awesome, you are awesome!” she replied. “No, what I am trying to say… what I am going to say is very weird,” he said. “Oh, it’s just now about to get weird?” She exclaimed. This didn’t seem to bother him. He continued on. He lowered his voice, as if all of a sudden he had a secret to tell her. “What I found out, what I am trying to tell you is that, Alyssia, you are my sister. He hesitated. I am your brother,” he said in a tone which sounded like he said this to convince himself of this truth.
This was not what Alyssia expected to hear in the least. She was ready for something idiotic like he found out she went to a state college instead of an Ivy League or that when she was younger she had been quarantined from her classmates because of tuberculosis. But this, this came out of left field and left her speechless.
When she finally regained her sense of reality she made the decision that he must be full of shit and that he was screwing with her. Maybe she was in a new reality show called Blind Date Candid Camera. That absolutely made more sense than the nonsense that was coming out of his mouth. She just sat a stared rationalizing these thoughts. When she finally looked up to meet his eyes she saw that they were brimmed with tears. “Is this some kind of joke?” she asked. “No, Alyssia, this is not a joke, he replied. Alyssia stared at his face, into his eyes. It was his eyes, she had noticed them at first, but she didn’t put it together. He had her mother’s kind eyes.
“I don’t know what to say.” She paused for a long moment. “How did you figure this out?” she asked. He went on to explain that when his friend was running her background check that his own father’s name came up in the search. His friend got access to her original birth certificate which had both her mother’s signature and her father’s. The certificate that she herself possessed only had her mother’s name.
He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. He slid the paper across the table. She read it over. Indeed the birth certificate said her name, Alyssia Charlene Whitcomb.
She looked at his face again and felt her insides twist. Quickly her three martinis turned into a dull headache that throbbed just behind her eyes as she recounted what he had just told her. “Charlene, your middle name, is our grandmother’s name,” he said. Our father, Marcus, gave you that middle name, he continued on. Words flooded from his mouth for another minute or two, and then he fell silent again.
It was most likely her lack of response that kept him from going on. “Alyssia, do you get what I am saying?” He asked. “I had no idea that you existed. Dad never mentioned anything to me about you.” I tried calling him before I got here, but he didn’t answer, so I came anyway,” he said. He noticed she was picking at her fingernails again. “Are you okay?” he asked. “No, I’m not okay, she replied. “So what? He’s alive? Our father?” she asked. “Yes, he’s alive.” “I also know that your mother passed away not too long ago, I am sorry,” he said. She didn’t reply.
Questions that had no answers began brewing in her head. When she was growing up she’d rarely pressed the question about her father. When she did ask, her mom told her that he had a new life that didn’t concern them and that sometimes that’s how things worked out. She knew her questions made her mom sad, she could see it in hers eyes. She didn’t want to make her mom sad, so eventually she stopped asking and at some point, she wasn’t sure exactly when, but the questions stopped mattering all together.
The waiter came back with her bill and her card. Alyssia signed her name, realizing that she always signed it with a “C.” in the middle, which in the future might always cause her to think. She slid her card back into her wallet and stood up slinging her D&G handbag over her shoulder. Bruce looked amazed. “Don’t you want to meet him?” he asked. She grabbed her coat and pushed in her chair.
“Meet him? She replied. “No, I don’t think so, Bruce,” she said. “Had he wanted that, this would have never had to happen,” she replied. With that she walked out the through the restaurant lobby, and through the front doors. She allowed the rush of cool air to fill her lungs and bring her life. She would walk home instead of taking a taxi and allow the air and the city to take her home.
– A Girl Who Writes