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Sighing, I take in the dish filled sink and the kitchen table covered with old newspapers. “So much for asking Dad to clean up,” I mutter as he shuffles into the room with a newspaper in one hand, his slippers make scuffing noises as he walks.
“How’s it goin’ Miranda?” He asks and opens the fridge only to stare blankly into it.
“Thanks for washing the dishes,” I tell him, hoping to remind him.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, no problem,” He mumbles before looking at me, his eyes bloodshot from insomnia. “What’s for dinner?”
“Uh, I brought home some food from the restaurant.” I say, holding up two foam cartons.
Dad grimaces and looks at me pointedly. “We’ve eaten that stuff two days in a row. I’m getting sick of chowing on greasy burgers and fries.”
I’m surprised you even noticed you’d eaten. “What about-- take out? I have to go pick it up but it should only be about twenty minutes.” I say, watching him stare into the empty fridge.
“Sure--- ah, how about I go and pick it up? You’ve probably got homework and I need to get out of the house for a bit.” Dad tells me as he closes the fridge door, stopping the flow of cold air that had swirled over my feet. He is already walking down the hallway before I can reply.
“Oh, okay.” I murmur as the front door slams shut. I stand in the middle of the kitchen, waiting to hear his car back out of the driveway before I turn to the sink and begin to tackle the dishes.
I’d managed to clear off some of the kitchen table and start studying when Dad came back thirty minutes later. “Did you get the food?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s right here.” He says, handing the white paper bag to me. I take the bag from him but my attention is focused on the bulky, black object that he cradles in his arms.
“What’s that?” I ask between bites of rice and chicken. Dad sits across from me at the kitchen table, pushing aside some of my study guides and newspapers. He gently places the object on the table and I realize that it’s an old typewriter. “Where did you get that?” I ask and feel myself grow annoyed.
“I—uh—I bought it.” He replies almost meekly but I can tell it’s an act; he doesn’t care. I watch him for a moment as he fiddles with the contraption.
“How much was it? You know we don’t have extra money to spend, like you just did.” I reprimand him, feeling like the parent of the two of us.
His head jerks up and he glares at me, the smile that had occupied his face a moment earlier while he looked over the typewriter, is gone. “I’m the parent, Miranda, remember?”
“Well, you don’t act like it!” I shout and jump as he bangs a fist on the table.
“You’re not the only one in this house with problems, Andy. Do you think I like moping around the house because I’m out of a job? I’m trying, okay? I really am.” He shouts back and glares at me from behind the lens of his glasses.
“Maybe you should actually do something, like get a real job.” I retort and the effect of my words is visible like a slap to his face. His expression crumples and I immediately feel sorry for what I’ve said.
“You know,” he begins quietly, not looking at me. “That was what your mother said before she...” His voice dies away as he gazes at the typewriter.
“I know.” I tell him before grabbing my backpack and my dinner to carry to my room.
“Miranda?” I close my eyes, stopping in the doorway but I don’t turn around as I wait for whatever he has to say next. “I’m sorry.” He says finally.
Hunching my shoulders, I go to my room without a word. I listen to the faint click of keys being pressed as he begins his new project on the typewriter. I turn right down a side hallway, ignoring the pictures of my mom that still hang on the wall, as I push open the first door to my left. Pale moonlight cascades in shafts through the blinds covering the window. I drop my backpack on the floor before flicking on a light and closing my door.