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Staring up at the giant buildings surrounding me I feel so small. I’m just a tiny dot in this new unfamiliar world. I glance at the map then back at the buildings. I can’t imagine why people would live here. See the problem is that I’m lost in the city that supposedly never sleeps. So I do what I see everyone else doing, I call for a cab and hop in.
“Where to?” the cab driver asks with an unfriendly and uncaring tone. “Ummm here” and as I hand him the crumpled piece of paper with my dad’s address on it he asks “excuse me, but if you don’t mind could you tell me where you’re from?” I pause for a minute and decide that it doesn’t matter if I tell him or not. “I’m from Tennessee, well I live in Tennessee now I used to live here but I haven’t been here since I was a baby.”
As the cab driver pulls the cab away from the sidewalk I sit back in the seat and watch the streets and the buildings as we pass by. Mom wants pictures so every once in a while I take pictures of store windows and funny things I see as we pass.
The cab driver stops in front of a big penthouse building and says “This is your stop.” I hand him the cab fare as I pull myself and my bag out of the backseat. I look up at the building in front of me then look down at the paper in my hand. I’m nervous as I walk up to the big, shiny, glass double doors leading into what I assume is the lobby. As soon as I walk in I notice the ornately decorated ceiling. The elaborate paintings that hang on the walls also catch my attention. I take out my camera and start taking pictures. Then I feel a light tap on my shoulder and I hear a voice saying “Miss, may I help you?”
I quickly turn around and almost bump into the tall but thin clerk dressed in an overly fancy black suit. I hand him the piece of paper and I watch as he walks to the desk and picks up the phone. I hear him say “Yes…ok…yes sir…would you like me to send her up sir?...yes…ok… good day sir.” He finally hangs up the phone and walks over to me. He picks up my bag and says “Follow me please.” As I follow him we stop at an elevator. We step inside and I watch to see which button he presses. He presses the 8th floor button. As we go up I hear elevator music and the clicking of the elevator. All the small sounds are amplified due to the fact that besides the music and the clicking there is absolutely dead silence. We finally reach the 8th floor and we step out of the elevator and into a long hallway. We proceed to walk down the hall until reaching a door. The clerk politely knocks on the door and says “Sir your daughter is here.” I hear the slight clicking of a lock and the door seems to take forever to open although in reality it took a few seconds. But in those few short seconds I am more nervous then I ever was before.
The clerk drops my bag and I say “Hi dad.” He stares at me which makes me feel like I’m in an observation window. “Come in.” he finally manages to say. As I walk in I see the three suitcases mom sent here two weeks ago. A whole summers worth of possessions. My father is a man that I don’t know very well and there was no bigger indication of that then the silence between the two of us. I break the silence and ask “So where do I put all my stuff?” He seems to snap out of his trance and says “Down this hallway, make a right, first door on the left.” As I grab my luggage I mumbled “thanks”. As I walk to my room I feel awkward and all I want to do is go back home especially after noticing that my father seems to be a man of very few words.
I walk into the room and see a big bed and a dresser. As I step further in I see that I have my own bathroom and my own sort of living room. I put all my suitcases in the middle of the bedroom floor and sit on the bed. Back home I share a bedroom with my sister Claire and I share the entire house with my mom, stepdad, Chris and Michael (my twin brothers), and Claire. I feel alone and again like a tiny dot in a big world. Plus the silence in this place is deafening to me.
When I finally get out of my room I travel to the kitchen which I must admit was hard to find. When I walk in the shiny chrome makes the rooms seem so much brighter then it actually is. Back home I’d be lucky to see myself in the mirror much less expect to see myself in the appliances. Another major difference about this place. I find a note on the fridge: Blaire-went to work, we’ll talk when I get back, money on the counter for food or help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge-dad. I open the fridge and there’s nothing worth trying to eat. So I open up the freezer and settle for some frozen pizza.
I sat down at the big table and started to eat. Then my cell phone rings, called id says its mom. I pick up the phone and say “Hello?” “Hi honey, its mom so how are things over there Blaire? Is he being nice to you?” I try to cut in before she rambles on and on and on so I say “Um mom he’s not her, he’s at work and I have a big room and I feel lost in it and I want to come home but since I just got here I guess I should give it a chance first.” There is silence for a few seconds then my mom says “Ok honey be safe, be careful, and call me once in a while.” After we say goodbye I hang up the phone and take my pizza to my room or the room that’s mine for the summer. I turn on the larger then life flat screen TV and wait for dad to come home. It’s 9 o’clock when he finally comes through the door. He knocks on my door and I get up and walk over my suitcases which I still haven’t unpacked and open the door. I open the door slowly and he says “So do you want to talk?” I have a deep urge to say no because I’m pissed off for being left alone all day but I push down my anger and say “Sure. What do you want to talk about?”
“Well, how about we talk about you. You’re fifteen now aren’t you?” “Yeah I am. I turned 15 two months ago. I live in Tennessee with my stepdad Craig, mom, my twin brothers Michael and Chris, and my sister Claire. I go to high school at Nashville High. I play soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and track. I get straight A’s and I have a boyfriend. I have a job working at an ice cream shop after school during the year. Anything else you wish to know?” There’s that forever lasting silent pause again. Then he finally says “Well I guess that just about covers it.” Then he stares down at the floor and quietly asks “Is there anything you want to know about me?”
I pause for a couple of minutes to think. I’m nervous so I don’t know if I want to ask him anything but I guess I should. “Why were you never around? Did you want nothing to do with me and mom? Did you ever think about me at all? Did you ever wonder how I was or what I was up to?” I bluntly ask. I wait for a reply as we sit there staring at each other as if waiting for something to happen. Then he starts to say “I regret not being there but your mother sent me monthly letters telling me how you were doing and what you were up to. Your mother and I had our differences she didn’t like my job, I loved my job. She hated the city, I loved the city. She liked living life as if it were an adventure; I liked everything to be strictly business. The only thing we had in common was you. So one day she left. I got a note saying I would get monthly updates and one day when you were ready I could spend a summer with you. Anything after that would be your decision only. We both thought that this would be the best arrangement. I’m sorry that I didn’t fight with your mother to see you. You look a lot like her you know? You’ve grown up so much and I regret missing it. When your mother told me she had gotten remarried she told me how much you loved him, how comfortable you were with him coming into your life so I decided to stay out of the picture. As long as you were happy I didn’t want to ruin anything for you.” After that I knew I could never look at dad the same way again. He had always been there without really being there I didn’t know it until now. By the time we had caught up on 15 years its 11 o’clock and I’m tired. So I give dad a hug goodnight, close the door as he leaves, turn off the light, and think about everything I just heard.
Weeks passed and June turned into July. Dad and I are getting closer and city life isn’t that bad. Granted it’s louder then Tennessee but it’s so diverse here. Something new happens everyday. I’m going to miss this place when I leave I think. Dad and I have a lot in common. We both like reading and we both hate it when mom goes on her traveling adventures at random. Dad has started to teach me about his investment in property business and I find it really interesting to my surprise.
I have taken a liking to going to look at properties with him. I can also estimate the value of a property now and I’m good at it. I could never do any of this in Tennessee. As I sit next to dad writing and watching TV, mom calls. I hesitate to pick up the phone because I haven’t called her in two weeks. She’s probably been worried and I hesitate but decide to pick up the phone anyway. “Hello” I said warily expecting my mother to scream. “Oh my god you’re alive. I haven’t heard from you in two weeks. How’s everything going?” My mom is just as surprised as dad when I say that things are going good and that I love the city. She’s even more surprised when I say that I like dad’s business.
After the conversation I get off the phone and ask dad if I can come next year. Then he says that if my mother will allow it I can live here. But the decision is mine to make. So now I have to think of what I’m leaving behind.
July turned to August and I’ve been enrolled in a nearby high school for school in September. Mom is slowly packing things up and gradually sending them over in boxes. My room now has my desk and computer in it. I have more of my clothes and other things from back home. Dad is just as excited as I am about the new living arrangements. Claire is happy to be having her own room but is sad that I won’t be in the same house or even the same state. I’ll be spending my summers in Tennessee so it’s not like I won’t be seeing anyone back home. I’m really happy; mom on the other hand is happy but sad at the same time which is completely understandable.
I look back on the beginning of this summer as I get ready for my first day of school in the city. I think about how I thought this would be the longest, most boring summer of my life. Now I realize I was very wrong. The summer had been anything but long and boring I just needed to give this place a chance. This summer was filled with reconnection, truth, explanations, knowledge, and a better understanding of the man I call dad. To be honest I wouldn’t change a single thing about this perfect summer.