Chapter Two: Nathanial Shepherd:
Iris is coming home in a couple of days. Melinda and I weren’t too easy about her going up to New York for school. But she insisted.
“I’m tired of Atlanta,” Iris complained she graduated from high school. “I want to get out of here.” As much as I didn’t enjoy the idea, I had to let her go. Iris has grown stubborn like her mother. Melinda and I were worried about going to New York for different reasons.
Mine are a bit deeper.
I turned around when I heard a knock on my door.
“Yeah?” I asked.
“Dad, are you up yet?” Melinda asked outside.
“Yes,” I said. I turned as my door opened. My daughter poked her head inside.
“Why are you still in here?” she asked.
“Taking my time,” I said. Melinda threw up her hands and groaned.
“We have to get going!” she said. “I want that cake to be fresh when I pick it up!”
“She’s not even going to be here until Friday evening,” I said. “Why does it matter?” My daughter looked at me, glaring.
“I want the best for my baby,” she said. We do this every year. Melinda is willing to drop the money for her. She gets obsessive with it. Almost to the point that it would wipe out a month of finances. My daughter’s gotten better over the years.
“I understand you,” I said. “Just don’t go crazy with it like you normally do.”
“But this is my baby,” she said.
“Yes, I know,” I said. “We go through this every year. I have to try and calm you down. Remember what happened last year and the ones before that.” Melinda closed her eyes and took a breath.
“You’re right,” she said. “You’re right. You’re right.” I put my hand on her shoulder.
“She’s not even going to be here until this evening,” I said. “You will still have time to plan. Iris is going to love whatever you will have.” My daughter nodded.
“Yes,” she said. “But can we at least pick up the cake? It will drive me crazy if we don’t pick it up.” I sighed and shook my head.
“Fine,” I said. Melinda squealed as she hugged me.
“I love you so much! You are the best!” she said. I patted her on the lower back.
“Yes, yes,” I said. Melinda let go of me and broke into a huge smile.
“She’s going to love the cake,” she said. “It’s all purple and black, just the way she likes it.”
“I can just imagine,” I said. Still, I can’t shake this feeling of foreboding that hovering over us. Only this time, it feels much worse.