A Son's Revenge

February 14, 2008
By Chelsea Mandel, Roslyn, NY

It all started the day my mother died. Five years prior to this day, my father and I received the phone call, whose ring still repeats in my sleep, informing us that my mother had been diagnosed with cancer. The monstrous disease began eating away at her entire body, tissue by tissue, organ by organ, which eventually led her to her grave about three months ago.

If it’s of any interest, my name is Craig and I am a freshman attending the University of Michigan. Up until last year I lived with my family, in an average-sized Kentucky flat in the middle of nowheresville, also known as Ashland, Kentucky. Going to college was like an escape route for me, a chance to get away from the immature idiots that made up the majority of the Ashland population. Although I’m not the so called, ‘party guy’ on campus, I still like to have fun. I guess I sort of fit in on the “straight-edge floor” of the dormitory, maybe because crochet is more appealing to me than drinking ‘til I throw up.
Anyway, enough about me, let’s move on to the one responsible for my presence, my father. To start, his name is Andrew, but he prefers to be called Andy. My father is a stubby, but tall man in his mid-fifties. I can tell by his features that father was probably a good looking kid when he was young. Father claims he still loves mother, but I can’t imagine how someone still in love could possibly want to spend their time with another woman. The other woman is Victoria, a woman almost half his age. I haven’t met her yet, but boy I can’t wait ‘til the day I do. As my father describes, the two met at a grocery store three weeks after mom’s funeral and have been ‘in love ever since.’ Ugh. Makes me wanna puke.
Sometimes I think parents are just machines devised to achieve one goal: Embarrassment. That’s what my father is, an embarrassment. I used to look forward to going to class, I thought this was a place where I could start off new and just have a good time. Well, I’m not having a good time. It’s funny how word spreads like wildfire. I told my roommate about my father seeing a 26 year old woman, and soon enough the whole floor knew. All of my friends are talking about it, how the age difference is such a disturbance. Most of the kids on my floor come from very religious families, and to them, my father’s situation is not acceptable. Why can’t he just be a normal dad, one who will see someone his age? Or better yet, not see anyone at all?
Well, I am going home to stay with my father and Victoria for winter break. Finally, a few weeks without fingers pointing at me, people laughing at me, making fun of me. Anyway, this should be fun, living with a woman I’ve never met for almost a full month.
I arrive at our ol’ Kentucky flat. Father is waiting outside upon my arrival. With a false grin on my face, I greet my father. We engage in small talk, and against my will, I walk inside.
My mouth dropped. I thought to myself, “Wow. She’s beautiful.” A young woman, chestnut brown hair, sparkling blue-green eyes, a curvy body, but slim at the same time. I can’t imagine what this beauty would want with my father, but damn she’s perfect. She smiled at me with her pearly white teeth and luscious lips, and introduced herself.
“I’ve been dying to meet you, Craig.” Victoria said.
Nervously I said, “Well, here I am.” She laughed.
Victoria, my father, and I, sat down on the beaten-up couch and talked for a while. I got to know her. I can see why my father loves her; she is an outgoing, intelligent, beautiful person with the most adorable laugh I’ve ever heard.
I don’t know what to do. It’s like love at first sight. I could just imagine, Victoria and I on a beach together, in Hawaii. Sand rushing between our toes as the water gently hits our bodies. Lying there together so innocently.
I think to myself, “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!” This is my father’s girlfriend; I can’t have these feelings for her. But, it’s not fair. I need to be with Victoria. Anyway, she’s closer to my age than my father’s.
Coming from someone who has never even kissed a girl, these feelings are incredibly peculiar. I don’t know what it is, I am just so attracted to her. My father went into the kitchen to bring out coffee, and Victoria and I began to talk.
After about an hour of conversation, I realized that she is no ordinary woman. She actually understands me. Victoria and I are just so similar. I don’t care what I have to do, I’ll do anything, I don’t even care how long it takes, but mark my words. I will be with Victoria.
After dinner, I returned to my room, sat down on my bed, and began to think. What can I do to be with Victoria? Well first, I have to break her and my father up, that’s for sure. By the way she looks at him, and the things she does for him, I can tell she really does care for Andy. Victoria is the kind of girl who wouldn’t even spare one glance at another man. This is going to be hard, but Victoria will be mine.
I pondered this situation and finally came up with something. I will have Victoria convinced that my father is cheating on her.
With excitement filling my body, I called up my one and only true friend. A girl named Jamie that I had gone to kindergarten with, before I moved to Kentucky. She was the only person who never judged me or my father. I explained my plan to her. She agreed to help.
I went out of my way to become closer to Victoria. You may think it’s weird, but I could care less. We talked almost every day and developed a connection with each other, keeping it a secret from my father. Victoria became a great friend to me, as I did to her.

A month later, on a hot summer day, Victoria barged through the door and marched to her room. Sobbing, she began packing her bags into large, cardboard boxes. I felt horrible for her, but it had to be done. Pretending like I was unaware of what had happened, I asked, “Victoria, what’s wrong?”
“It’s just not f--. Nevermind, Craig, you’re too young to understand.” She said.
I responded, “I’m not too young Victoria, you can talk to me, I can help. Just tell me what’s wrong.”
“It’s your father. He’s with another girl.”
“Are you sure? I can’t imagine him doing such a horrible thing.”
“I heard it with my own ears, a woman left a message on the machine.”
“What did she say?”
“Something like this, “Thanks for last night baby, I had fun too. And stop worrying, she’ll never find out. I won’t say anything to anyone, this is just between you and me.” That was it.”
“Wow, I am so sorry. I had no idea. Don’t worry Victoria, you’ll find someone else, you’re a beautiful young woman.”

“Thanks Craig. But it’s really okay. I’ll be alright. I am packing my bags and heading back to New York tonight, to stay with my parents. They are going to be so disappointed; they just hate seeing me upset.”
After a few minutes of silence, I answered, “Oh, speaking of which, I actually had to travel to New to meet with someone for an interview.”
I felt like a real jerk, but I deserve to be with her. Not my father, what good has he ever done to deserve such an angel as his girlfriend? Nothing.

Surprisingly, she agreed. “I guess you could stay with me, so you don’t have to pay for a hotel. My parents have a guest room, if you’d like to stay there.”
“How kind of you. That sounds really great, I’ll go pack my things.”
Wow, I never thought that would happen. Here we go, the chance to make the most striking woman my girlfriend. Before we left, I wrote a note to my father, informing him, “I can’t take this anymore, and I don’t want to be with you. Things just aren’t working out. I have to leave you. I’m sorry. Please don’t call me, it will just make things worse,” I wrote. I signed it, “Sincerely, Victoria.”

We arrived at the house and I met her parents and she directed me to the guest room, where I unpacked my things.

Victoria and I began to talk to each other, almost everyday. We would go out during the day and come back at night, and talk. Over time, we developed a connection and I think she was really feeling me.

I haven’t spoken to my father in two weeks now, and truthfully I don’t plan on it. He’s called thousands of times to find out where I am, but I just refuse to answer. I wonder what he’s thinking. Hopefully he’ll just believe that things weren’t working out and she wanted it to be over. From what I know, he hasn’t called her either.

Victoria and I continued to spend time together. We developed a bond and I could tell she was falling for me. I was falling even harder for her. Things were going great, until one day when she brought up my father.
“If it wasn’t for dating your father, I would have never met you.” She would say.
“I know, but everything happens for a reason, I guess.” I’d respond.
She kept going. She wouldn’t stop. It seemed as though every word she spoke involved my father.
“I wonder how he’s doing, have you spoken to him? Do you think he misses you?”
“Yes. I have spoken to him. He is doing fine. Don’t worry about him.”
“Yeah, do you think you should tell him about us, he is still your father.”
“No, it’s his fault, he cheated on you. Stop worrying about him, he’s not worrying about us.”

Why won’t she stop? Just stop already! You haven’t been with him in a long time, why do you start now!? Ugh, I can’t take this anymore, the guilt was taking over. I was about to burst. It was coming up, through my body, into my vocal chords, and out my mouth…
“My father never cheated on you! It was my fault! I’m sorry!”
I never felt so relieved in my life. It seems like the largest boulder had just been lifted off my chest. No more guilt, I am free.
To my surprise, she didn’t seem to mind.
With a smirk, she said, “It’s okay, Craig. He wasn’t the only one cheating.”

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