There was the familiar double tap on my light pink bedroom door, and I pushed out my lips and sucked my teeth quietly before saying, “Come in.”

I was lying on my back in my bed, which was made up with my pink and white Star Wars blanket. I was still wearing my black jeans and red and white striped long sleeves shirt. My white sweater was on the bed next to me. I was facing the door.

My dad turned the doorknob, opened the door, and entered the room.

He stood looking at me for a few seconds before saying, “I’m going to the supermarket to grab a few things for your mom. Do you want some ice cream or something else?” 

My dad was of average height and much darker than me in complexion. He had a little tummy that he tried to hide the last time my grandmother, his mom, visited us, but she saw it and told him, “stop holding in your stomach before you suffocate yourself. Lay off those snacks.”

“No, thank you,” I replied to my dad.

“You sure?”

“Yes. I don’t want anything.”

I wanted to add, “from you,” but that would have gotten me into more trouble, so I didn’t say it.

“Okay, suit yourself,” he said, “but I’m getting some rum and raisins ice cream for me, and I don’t want you eyeing it when I get back.”

“No,” I said, frowning to prevent my involuntary treacherous smile from surfacing.  

I was angry with him.

He was right, though. I’ve done it in the past. Only last week, when he and my mom were going grocery shopping, he asked me what to add to the snack list, and I only added chocolate. He then asked if I wanted chips too, but I said no. However, when they returned home with chips for him to eat, I wanted some too. He shared it with me, though.

I was about two inches shorter than my dad but about two inches taller than my mom. No matter what I eat, I never seem to put on too much weight, and many family members tell me I resemble both my parent. However, I think I look like my mom though.  

“I’ll be back in a jiffy,” he said.

He stepped out of my room and closed the door behind him.

You don’t have to come back for all I care. I don’t care, I thought.  

Then turning over onto my stomach, I screamed into my blanked-covered pillow.

I’m looking forward to getting my own place because then no one can tell me I can or can’t go somewhere. I’m eighteen years old, and the law says that makes me an adult, and if I want to go to a house party, I can go to it without my dad turning up and embarrassing me.  

Technically, though, he did not embarrass me, but the whole thing was embarrassing. Yes, I know I lied when I said I was going over to my friend’s house to work on a school group project and knowingly left out that her older brother was throwing a party at the same time.  

Earlier today, I was sitting on the couch, bopping my head to the loud music in the house. I was also talking with a guy and was about to drink the fruit punch he handed me from the table when my dad walked into the house, scanned the room of about ten young adults, locked eyes with me, and asked me if I would step outside with him for a minute.

I had never fainted up to that point, but I wanted to faint right then. I didn’t, though.  

I got up, and on shaking legs, I walked over to him, and we walked over to where the family’s dark blue minivan was parked outside. My dad braced against the driver’s door, and with his arms folded, he looked at me. I avoided his eyes.

“Are you a liar now?” he asked.

My heart sank, but I went on the defence when I heard my friend calling me from the house, “are you leaving already? But the party only just started!”

I didn’t tell her that I had lied to my parents. They would have said no if I had told them I was attending a party. I didn’t see what was so bad about going to it.

“I wouldn’t have to lie if you treated me like an adult. I should be allowed to go places without asking you and mom if I can go.”

“Then why did you lie? Is that what adults do?”

My friend called me again.

“Are you going to answer her?” my dad asked, giving a quick nod in my friend’s direction.

“Can I stay?” I asked him.

“No,” was his immediate reply.

I said goodbye to my friend, and we drove home in silence, listening as music from way before I was born played in the minivan. I usually enjoy listening to them, but I was too mad at my dad to enjoy them this time.   

Now on my bed, with my scream out, I turned again unto my back, and I thought about the guy at the party. I smiled at the memory of his smile. I liked his smile.

I must have drifted off because the next thing I knew, my mom was sitting on the edge of my bed, gently shaking me awake.

“I’m up,” I said, “I’m up.”

“I have to go to the hospital,” she said, focusing on my entire, “your dad got shot, and they took him to Belton’s hospital.” 

“What?” I asked, trying to understand what she was saying.

“Do you want to come with me or stay at home because he is in surgery right now, and it will be a while before we can see him?” My mom’s voice caught on her last words. 

I got out of bed, “let’s go, Mom,” I said.

Hours passed before my mom and I were finally allowed to see my dad, but he was asleep, and I assumed, fighting to live.

Two cops came into the waiting room at Belton’s hospital to talk to my mom, and what it boils down to is a stray bullet from an ex-husband who was trying to kill his ex-wife in the supermarket’s parking lot hit him in the chest.

My dad looked lifeless, lying on the bed, with many tubes running to him. I wanted to be strong for my mom, but when I saw him, I broke down, and my mom had to carry me over to an empty chair in the room.

The following day, my dad slipped into a coma, and although it was still difficult to see him lying there, I had better control of my emotions this time.

Please heal him, O God!  I silently prayed.

“I’m sorry, Dad,” I whispered, although only my Dad and I were in the room. “I do care about you, Dad. I love you. You are my dad, and I want you to wake up.”

I reached out my hand and touched him on the forehead, the way he always does to me whenever I say I have a fever. I did that because I was afraid to touch him anywhere else.

“Besides,” I continued, “you said you would be back in a jiffy, and a jiffy has long passed. You are in big trouble, Sir.”

If I had not been looking at his face, I would have missed it, but my hand was still on his forehead, and I was looking at his face.  

My dad smiled briefly.

The End

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *