“I only need the one thousand dollars for this month, I’m really struggling out here on my own. Please? For your old man?”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing so I asked him to repeat again, and again, and again until he resorted to bribing me with free trips away from mom.
“I promise in a couple months I’ll have my own place, you can even visit if you’d like! Stay over for the weekend, maybe even a whole week. I could make popcorn and we could watch old horror movies like we used to watch back in the day!”
I couldn’t help but feel choked up with old memories of us back home in Oregon. Dad would make popcorn with way too much butter and we’d watch old horror movies like Frankenstein and Jaws. We’d sit back for hours laughing and wiping melted butter from our faces. Back then, even mom joined in on the fun too, she would always condemn us for eating popcorn with so much butter but even she couldn’t resist the smell of freshly microwaved popcorn. Within a few hours we’d all be lying on the couch, stuffing our faces and giggling at the bad special effects and cheesy acting. Honestly, I’d do almost anything to get those days back.
“I applied for this new job that my friend recommended me for. He told me I’m bound to get it and it pays pretty well. Once I get the job I’ll be able to pay you back within a couple of months, I’ll even buy you some new clothes and we can go out for Italian food at that new restaurant you were talking about.”
Normally I’d straight up refuse my father anything he asked for. But since he moved out he’s really cleaned up. New hair, a clean shave, clothes that actually look clean, not to mention the fact he finally started calling me again. It had been almost four months since I had heard from him last, getting the call from him yesterday was startling and part of me didn’t want to pick it up. But, to hear his voice again, it was like I was fourteen, going into my freshman year of high school with my long hair and glasses.
“Did you know I’ve stopped drinking? Haven’t even been to a bar in over a month now. Things are really looking up. I just need one more little push into the right direction, you know? Just that little something to get my life together for good.”
My hands couldn’t help but drift over to my purse. It was all true, even my witch of a mother told me so, and if there is one thing about her that I actually like it’s her sense of honesty.
But, then again, her honesty is what got us all here in the first place. And I don’t mean my father and I having a chat at three in the afternoon at some sketchy coffee shop downtown. I mean, her honestly is what drove dad out of the house in the first place. You would have thought it would’ve been the complete opposite, like some vile lie she had told him, but really, she’s just honest. Too honest at times.
“I really miss seeing you. I’ve really learned from my mistakes. I told myself that I could clean up, but not for me, for you. All I want in my life is for you to be happy.”
I couldn’t help the tears welling up in my eyes. I had wanted to hear those words since the day he moved out, All I want in my life is for you to be happy. With tender hands I gripped my wallet and pulled out the ten one hundred dollars bills I had tucked in my wallet. It was a gift I had received for my eighteenth birthday from my Aunt a couple of weeks ago. I was planning to cash it all into the bank and maybe save some for my senior prom dress, but this seemed far more important.
“Juliana, honey this means so much. I promise I’ll pay you back soon, and once I’ve got my new place you’ll get to meet Marissa!”
My lip dropped in disbelief. Marissa? Who was that? But before I could speak he had already placed down this money for the cheap cafe coffee on the table, paid two dollars for my muffin, kissed me on the forehead and was out the door before I could even stand.