What is Love?
Jarrod Rockwell“Hey, Jarrod, over here!” James yells from a few cars away in the parking lot by his blue, dust encrusted Honda, waving his arms to get my attention. I slowly put my keys back in my pocket and walk toward him.
“Dude, I haven’t talked to you in forever! How are you?” He says when I stop in front of him.
“Fine,” I answer, but I know that things couldn’t be farther from it.
“Good. So listen, Mason and I are going over to his place to play some video games, you coming?”
“No man, maybe next time okay?”
“Alright,” He says in a disappointed voice. He pauses for a second before continuing, “If you just forget all about this divorce crap, even for a little while, it will do you some good. I mean, it’s your parents deal.” He claps me on the shoulder, climbs into his car, and drives out of the school parking lot at break neck speed.
This is exactly the reason why I can’t really talk to James or Mason about the divorce. They just think that it’s my parents problem not mine.
“Mom, you home?” I called, slamming the front door behind me.
“In here!” I sensed a false cheerfulness in her voice but decided not to elaborate on it.
I threw my keys on the coffee table on my way to the kitchen. I found my Mom sitting at the kitchen table, bills scattered across it. She looked tired, a look that didn’t seem to fit with her young features.
I felt bad for her and despite the fact that money was a little tighter these days, she wouldn’t let me get a part-time job in an effort to help out.
“Jarrod, would you mind picking up Lily at five-thirty today after her tennis practice? I just have to pay all of these bills by the end of the day and I only got home from work an hour ago.”
“Sure thing Mom,” I answer in a low voice. Even with child support checks coming in every month, money has become a sore spot in our family.
I sling my book bag across the back of a chair and grabbed an apple from the fruit basket set on the counter, “I’ll see you later okay?”
“Yeah honey, see you later. Don’t be late for dinner.” She said picking up yet another piece of paper and staring at it intently.
“Don’t worry, I won’t be.” I said leaving the kitchen. After I passed the door frame, I peered back around the corner and saw her put her head in her hands and sigh tiredly.
“Hey Lily, how was tennis practice?” I ask, trying to feign a good mood in front of her. I want her feel like our family isn’t crumbling to the ground and that everything will work itself out in the end. I feel like I should be able to protect her from this…
“It was fine I guess,” she said opening the trunk and throwing in her tennis bag.
“Tryouts are in a week.” She says sliding into the passenger seat of my car.
“Wow, that awesome! Are you excited?”
“Um…yeah.” She answers slowly. She looks down at her white, scuffed up tennis shoes, absorbed in her own thoughts.
We drive along for a few minutes in heavy silence. Suddenly, her head snaps up and turns towards me, “Dad called yesterday.” She had said it so quickly that at first I wasn’t even sure that I had heard her correctly.
“What? Dad called yesterday?” How come no one had told me? “What did he want?” I ask hesitantly.
“He just wanted to let us know that he has completely moved into his apartment and was wondering if maybe we could come over tomorrow and visit him or something.” Lily had gone back to staring intently at her shoes.
I could that she really wanted to go and see him. I also knew that she hadn’t told me he had called until now because I had made it pretty obvious that I blamed him. Luckily, I do have a good excuse for bailing, I’m supposed to go over the Corrie’s house at five tomorrow.
“Sorry Lily, but I have to work on a school project tomorrow.” Her eyes narrow and I can tell that she doesn’t believe me, so I add “No, seriously. It’s not just an excuse.” I say the truth as sincerely as I can because I don’t want her to think that I’m lying to her.
“Hey, maybe David can take you. I’m sure he hasn’t seen Dad in a while.”
“No, I called him yesterday to see if he wanted to come and he said that he was too busy with college.” Her tone is full of disappointment.
“Well then why doesn’t he just come and pick you up? He won’t even have to come inside.” At this point I’m starting to run out of ideas for alternate transportation.
“He made it pretty clear that he won’t drive over here…”
Of course he wouldn’t drive over to our house because heaven forbid that he might have to talk to mom.
“Tell you what; next Saturday I’ll take you over there.” I truly feel bad for not being able take her tomorrow, not because I want to see my Dad, but because I want her to feel like nothing has changed.
I pull into our driveway and park the car. “Okay that sounds good,” she says cheerful again. “I’ll just go call Dad and tell him about the change in plans.” She hops out of my car while I pop the trunk for her to grab her tennis bag.
I close my eyes, rest my head on the steering wheel, and sigh, while hearing the slam of the front door. You could say that I’m a little less than excited to see my confrontation avoiding, undependable father next week. But at least I’ve made one out of two people happy about the ending of this conversation.