Father and Me
Father parked the car and put his head on the steering wheel. I thought about saying something again, but I was not going to be the one who started the worst argument between my father and me ever. I would not be the one to sign my death certificate.
“Get out of the car,” Father said. His voice was a mixture of sadness and anger. It also sounded like he ate a nail and it was stuck in his throat. What had I done?
I meekly opened the door and stepped out. I gently closed the door and stood looking at the car awkwardly. After what felt like an hour in my head, Father came out as well and started to walk towards Mother’s grave. I followed him, of course, but I certainly didn’t want to.
I once told Mary that sometimes I wished I could go to the moon. There I would never have to speak to anyone ever again. I would never have to be with people. I could be alone, off of Earth, and have no problems. In my mind I pictured it sort of as if I was dying. Death scares me, but going to the moon was like a peaceful one that I could handle. I would have given anything and everything to just go to the moon right then. I didn’t want to deal with my consequences.
“Your brother has to spend the day in the hospital. He will need stitches in his face and they are looking to see if he hit his head too hard,” Father said in a solemn voice.
I didn’t know what to say. I knew that anything would be wrong, so I made a guess. “Well, it’s good he is getting treated,” I said at last.
“Is it?! If it wasn’t for you he wouldn’t be in this situation!” I don’t think I had ever seen Father yell like that. It truly did frighten me. “He will have a permanent scar on his face. You could have seriously hurt him. I never would punish you or treat you like a child. I now realize that I raised you wrong. To say that I am disappointed in you would be an understatement. To say that I am mad at you would be an understatement. You scared David’s face for what? To get some sort of revenge? You should be better than this.”
“But Father, do you know why I did it?” I asked.
“It doesn’t matter why you did it! You were completely in the wrong!”
“He was going to hurt me; he was going to hurt all of us!” I yelled at him.
“Revenge is wrong. He is your brother and under no circumstances should you have hurt him the way you did.”
“That’s big of you to say with your whole war going on!”
“That is completely different. They killed your grandfather. It is only right to make them pay.”
“Well, what if I needed to make David pay for something?”
“It doesn’t matter!”
“That is so hypocritical!” I yelled. Father was quiet for a minute because of my comment. Frankly that surprised me. Taking advantage of the silence, I spoke again. “Did David tell you why I cut his face? Did he tell you that his scar was an accident? What I was actually trying to do to him?”
“No, and it doesn’t excuse your behavior!”
“I never said I did.” I wanted to yell again but I tried to keep my temper under control. If I made my argument sound reasonable then maybe, just maybe he wouldn’t be so mad at me. Father paused again and looked down at Mother’s grave. The bouquet was starting to wilt.
“If your mother knew what you did, oh I can only imagine how disappointed she would be.”
“Is that why you took me here to yell at me? To make me feel guilty about what someone I can hardly remember would feel?
“I took you here because I wanted to know what she would do. She was the smartest person I even knew. Never even went to college. I thought that coming here I would figure out what to do with you. She would love you, yes, but I do not know if she could ever forgive you.”
“Father,” I started. I tried my absolute hardest to keep my voice under control. “I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t care what Mother would have thought. She isn’t here now to deal with it, so why does it matter? She gave me a terrible name, gave birth to David, and died.” Father looked like he wanted to slap me, which he would never do. “Please listen to me. Let me tell you why I did what I did. Then you can punish me however you want for hurting him and being expelled from school.”
“You got expelled from school?” Father looked shocked.
“I was going to tell you later, but yes. Anyway, I hurt David because he was dangerous. I don’t know if you know what he is planning, but I need to tell you. He hates your plan. He wants to go against raiding the McKays’ house. He just wants to kill Sean McKay. He has supporters too. John and Jack Reaney at least. Possibly more. He was looking for where you kept your guns. He told me his idea. He wanted my support and I said no because that would be betraying you. He said that if I ever told on him he would cut out my tongue. But I knew his words were dangerous so I tried to do the same to him. Please, I am telling the truth. I never lie to you. And I’m sorry for hurting him. I just needed to teach him a lesson.”
I paused to let my words sink in. I swear I could see Father’s brain moving. The truth was a lot to process. Even I didn’t think that David could do the things that he did. I’m sure it must have been hard to hear that about your son.
“David would never. He would never steal a gun or go against the family. He is my successor.”
“Father, I misjudged him too. I thought that he was just a boy hurt because of Grandfather’s death. I was so wrong. He is ambitious and cunning. He doesn’t care if it isn’t what you want him to do, he is going to find a gun eventually and he will kill Sean McKay. The weak little boy act is just a façade. He’s not the brother I thought I had, and he’s not the son you thought you raised. I don’t know if he’ll still hurt me for telling you this. But you needed to know.” Oddly enough I felt triumphant. I won. I told Father regardless of David’s threats. On the other hand he was in the hospital and I was getting yelled at by my father at my mother’s grave. Not many people’s idea of a victory.
“Lucy, this doesn’t mean that you did the right thing by hurting him,” Father said.
“But thank you for telling me this. I promise David won’t hurt you. But I still expect you to apologize to him.”
“Father!” I interrupted. He gave me a look that told me to shut up, so I did.
“If it looks like I am making you apologize to him then he won’t know that you told me about his plan. I will talk to Reaney and Uncle Johnny. I don’t want you to say a word about this to anyone. But still, this does not mean that I am happy you did this to David. And I am especially not happy that you got expelled. You did not do the right thing, at all. And I’m severely disappointed in you. But now we have to focus on tonight. I will need you to go to the McKays’ house and talk to that girl. Tomorrow you will go to the hospital and visit your brother, and apologize.” I nodded. I knew that there was no use arguing. My death was painless, maybe it didn’t even happen. But the heart attack I got while riding in the car was good enough to kill me. Frankly I would have thought that the ride itself would have been a good enough punishment for me.
Father and I walked back to the car and I got in. The tension had broken. While Father most certainly was mad at me, it didn’t seem like he would kill me anymore. I was thankful for that. He actually drove home this time and told me to get out because he had work to do and didn’t want/need me to be hanging around his feet all day. When I got out of the car he even kissed me on the forehead while saying that I was still in the wrong but he did love me. Everything seemed alright. Why can’t I remember the rule of three.