His Plea or My Insanity
A towering, unscrupulous-looking gentleman in his mid-thirties hindered in the foreground of me as I was in the midst of cowardly screening my face with my shaking, spectral hands. “Miss…?” My watery, stinging eyes casually drifted from the edge of the male’s feet up to his profile, observing the minuscule, yet prominent specks of dirt stains covering patches of his navy blue suit along the way. His black tie was twisted and poorly finished, and his hair had that uncombed appearance, mopping adjacent either side of his face obscurely at a disproportionate rate. His jawline was encased in the remnants of an unshaven, unbothered man who hoped he’d sit at his desk job all morning and bask himself in the sun’s rays. How professional, I sneered to myself, rolling my eyes beneath my covering as I wiped the residual tears from my reddened and blemished facial characteristics.
“Yes? Sorry, it’s been a tough day. What did you need?” I put on a meager, see-through plastic smile as my grainy, lackluster eyes glanced through this guy. Nobody who just terminated their excessive sorrow wanted to put on a conversational front to a man in a business uniform beckoning them to be in such a compulsory cheerful and polite demeanor. I was convinced he was cognizant of such a matter, as his face contained slight outwardly glances of unfortunate timings and regrets approaching me in such a state. I was unprepared for any sort of social convention, let alone pretending to be alright. This man would never understand my predicament, so as long as I play the part of a young woman living her dreams in a run-down city with too many gas stations and bars for a place containing roughly 8,000 residents, then that is the role I’ll gladly play to fool the man.
“Do...you happen to know the family living here in this household?” The man flashed official-looking court papers, and my eyes broadened at the spectacle. His head cocked to the direction of the house settled on a downward slope with terrible foundation directly behind me. At the door stood Macy, a stout girl with dirty blonde hair and tanned features, her hands placed delicately hidden behind her back. She peered at the man with the expectation that he would explain to her the presence of his existence upon her doorstep. Her brown eyes seemed to cave as her gaze turned at a point to my posture, stiff and weakening. Don’t tell me this ungroomed man was a lawyer...great. I now mentally suppressed an exhalation and stood up, prolonging my hand out to the man.
“Yes, I’m the eldest daughter of the mother who resides here now. I...was not informed of any lawyers or any changes to the residents, though. May I ask what this is about?” I recognized what it was for. He must have been informed of my mother’s health, and someone was now ordering custody of the children, as the mother was clearly inadequate. Macy shifted her back to us as I assumed she ventured back indoors after she heard the overwhelmingly monotonous conversation taking place inches from her. Of course, what kind of child would willingly convene and monitor a professional lecture about migrating the family? I ground my teeth behind my fraudulent smile, biting the interior of my cheeks as he spoke.
“Well, it’s been brought to my attention that your mother’s health is in a poor state. As for yourself, Mrs. Grey, you do not seem to present yourself much better, from crying pitifully outside of your mother’s doorstep to your, uh...attire...” Well, that was unrelenting. Thanks for the blatant insult. “So,” he continued, disentangling his words from his throat that were presumed to be more disturbing than his preceding commentary, “your...ex-husband has presented me with an order of custody for the children,” he stated plainly and with reservation of sentiment, as it was not his priority to display such evidence of human weakness or empathy.
“I have never been married, sir, nor engaged, to say the least. Do...you mean my father? My mother’s husband who took off after she was diagnosed with cancer, and left three young children behind?” I proposed, holding back the urge to chuckle. Do I really impersonate myself as old enough to be my father’s wife? What a laughable circumstance…
He coughed to evacuate the air of confusion and awkward silence, and he acknowledged his mistake with a nod of his head. “Yes, your father. I am quite sorry for being terribly mistaken. May I come inside?” A quick change of the subject, how outrageously average. Leave it to men to avoid topics that are too sensitive or inordinately personal in their eyes.
“My mother is not really in the best condition to discuss court orders from men quite as disrespectful as you have displayed yourself to her grieving daughter, I’m afraid.” I countered, placing my hand on my hip. From the shocked expression that crossed his features, I now had come off as way more impudent and impertinent than I intended. However, that didn’t stop me from resuming my outburst. “If you’d like, you can come back with higher-up orders in order to reach my mother who is bedridden, and sadly to admit, unable to provide sufficient information about providing daily assistance for her children. Considering the state she’s in, I’ll be her representative as of right now.” I cocked an eyebrow at the man, waiting for him to repel my offhanded comments. When I heard not a single utterance of a word, I pressed into an issue I probably should not have. “And as for the man who has presented you with custody matter, I can assure you he’s a deadbeat who is the least likely to provide appropriate care for these lovely children. He drinks alcohol excessively and during his drinking binges, he was a violent individual, abusing myself and my mother, starting from the age of six. He can’t hold down a job for more than a year at a time, and he currently makes his ‘living’, if it can ever be considered that, through selling prescription painkillers that he receives monthly, to others on the streets of the next town over. Now, if you have any further questions concerning the capabilities of my family, be sure to focus them on me.”
His hesitation and aversion manifested with every addition of the particles of sweat surging down his constructed face, and he retreated aside momentarily before endeavoring his guidance. “Thank you for your time.” And with that, he disappeared into the zealous radiance of the afternoon Apollo, granting little in the way of heat, but melting snow regardless. Feeling considerably exultant of my selections was a temporary acquaintance, as I submerged in my personal outgrowths. I obliged myself to the task of inspecting my family, but my support solidified itself into a position as though they had been burdened with the escapades of sustaining the substance of four heavyweight wrestlers on my shoulders.
A familiar face scrutinized its way out of the side of the lawyer’s car, and gazed in my direction, though not out of hatred or discontent with me or my actions. His eyes narrowed at the gleam of the sunlight pouring through, scrunching his face in accordance to the brightness of the nature he was obviously not accustomed to.
The car stubbornly refused to leave the parking spot the longer I examined it. The valeted-armed vehicle sat there as if it had always been that way, sticking out like a sore thumb. Through the frosted windows, I could see the second figure, flapping what looked like a folder. After a while of what seemed like a pointless conversation between the two men seated adjacent to me in a high-tech, stylish black Mercedes Benz, the doors opened slowly like some great representative was about to exit and awe people around the world on live television. The lawyer came out, looking like a scolded child. And a second shadow, who I recognized later to be my father, with the smirk of the devil himself cemented against his already hellish figure, arose to the scene.
My father’s hair was slovenly with a light indication of a fringe parted the wrong way. His face sculpted and coarse, his smile grew eerier with the passing second I watched him pass the lawyer to greet me in his “bad boy” manner. He pulled loosely at his jacket and tilted his head to the side, permitting the tip of his tongue to poke through his mouth. His piercing through his eyebrow and his right ear gleamed in the sunlight, and his black tattoo showed touches of gray as the lighting attracted the darker mediums to it. This man was much too primitive to be behaving like a gang member, but yet he persisted with this act like it would convince me of otherwise.
He smacked a pack of the nefarious “Lucky Strikes” cigarettes against the palm of his hand before departing one from the bland product marketing package. He removed a lighter from his pocket, kindling the tip, and taking a drag. “You still insist on standing in my way, huh, girlie?” He flicked the drag onto the snow-covered territory in front of me and exhaled a large puff of gray smoke. I watched as it spiraled through the air. Such a foul smell...
“Sure am. You know as well as I do these kids mean more to my mother than they ever will to you.” I grit my teeth behind my respectable behavior and closed my fists.
“I don’t give two shits about that,” he retorted, expelling more ash from the edge of his cigarette before shouldering government documents onto me. “Here’s your court order, miss, so I hope you’ll excuse the intrusion.” He advanced past me and stomped up the steps before beginning the residence without so much as a knock. I glimpsed at the papers absentmindedly before accompanying suit dilatory my father. I shifted past him into the bedroom where my mother wheezed and hacked. My father seemed to have misremembered the layout of the homestead he had purchased, so that rendered me a few spare seconds of inestimable prepping time. After finally concluding the floor plan, he barged into my mother’s bedroom and glowered. I took a stool and sat as neighboring to my mother’s bedside as I could, clutching her hand tightly and lamenting. The dad stood favoring against the doorframe and the lawyer dragged a supplementary chair.
Now everyone was together...for the worst possible reasons.
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