The Unexpected

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8

After Joshua left, everything changed. My life before I met him is starting all over again. Brooklynn hasn’t been answering my calls and of course, my father kept calling me. I needed to do something for my life.

I walked into my room and the portrait that Joshua drew of me was on top of my bed. Why is it here? I thought he was going to take it back. There was a note on the drawing and it read:

Rebecca,

I know that you probably won’t go to England with me. It’s understandable that you won’t come. If I’m being honest, it was hard for me to adapt to America’s environment. When you weren’t around, I would start to freak out and hyperventilate. I just wanted to stay positive around you. I just wanted to let you know that when I came here, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with you. You changed me and without you, I wouldn’t have had a great experience here for the past week. Thank you and I will always cherish you for your kindness.

Love,

Joshua Evans

I can’t believe that Joshua wrote this and when did he have time to create it? I moseyed my way to one of my drawers and started digging for a picture frame. When I found the right one, I took it out and placed the portrait inside. I will dote on this forever, as a way of remorse. I began hammering a nail up against the wall and made sure that the picture was perfectly straight. When I was finished I looked at my phone to see what the time was; it was 12:30.

What should I do today? I would usually just binge-watch Friends, waiting ‘till the night began. Since I’ve met Joshua, I’ve realized that I shouldn’t just waste my life staying at home by myself. I should venture out and see new things. Staying in here isn’t going to do me good. I only have one life, why don’t I do something interesting?

I remembered on the first night with Joshua, he told me that it was probably best if I would see my father. After that, I thought about it. Every night, I kept wondering if what Joshua said was the best idea and maybe he was right. I’ve loathed my father and this resentment only made my life worse. I’ve tried and tried to get my sister and I out of that relationship with him. To be honest, what if my father’s changed? What if he isn’t the same as he used to be? Was I wrong to keep judging him and keeping a distance? Maybe that’s what I should do today. I should visit him.

After I ate lunch, I got dressed to go to my father’s house. I wore a black turtleneck, a denim jacket, blue jeans, and black ankle boots. I curled my hair and wore it down. Afterwards, I grabbed my car keys and walked out of my apartment. I made my way to my old neighborhood. It used to be bright and colorful, but now it’s dreary and desolate. My house didn’t look like what it was before. It was dusty and pieces of it were broken apart. There was a gate surrounded by the house and a sign that said NO TRESPASSING. Since there wasn’t a lock on the gate, I just opened it and entered my father’s land. I walked onto the porch and knocked on the front door since the doorbell was broken. I could see a dark figure through the windows, ambling towards the door. All of a sudden, the door opened and the figure revealed itself.

“Rebecca?” My father didn’t look the same as he used to be. Most of his hair has fallen out and some strands turned gray. There were wrinkles all over him and there were bags under his eyes. He was now thin and wore his baggy shirt, that he used to be able to wear, with a cardigan. He also wore sweatpants and sandals. The only thing that didn’t change was dad wearing his grandfather’s bifocals that didn’t even have lenses.

“Hey dad!”

“Goodness, look how much you’ve grown!” He hugged me tight and it was a little startling to feel this comfort after a long time. “Is it okay if I hug you?”

“Yeah, it’s alright.” I hugged him back.

“Do you want to come in?”

“Sure, I guess.” Dad led me into the house and the outside wasn’t the only thing that changed. Some of the stairs were broken and the floorboards were ripped to shreds. The furniture was dusty and so were the kitchen cabinets and counters. I sat down at the kitchen table and my dad stood in front of me.

“Would you like something to drink?” he asked.

“No thank you, dad,” I said, politely and he sat down in front of me. “Dad, what happened to the house?”

“Well, after you and Brooklynn left me, everything in the house started breaking and falling apart. Since I didn’t have a job, I couldn’t really pay for anything to get fixed. After you left, my drinking problem became worse and worse. It made me age faster, even though I’m only fifty-four. A month after your disappearance, I found out that I had lung cancer. After that, I decided to change my ways. I decided to go to a therapist and stopped drinking and doing drugs. I’ve actually been clean for two years now!”

“That’s great dad, but that still doesn’t make sense. How are you even able to pay bills and give me money at the same time, if you can’t even pay for the stuff in your house?”

“Well, I thought giving you money could help you talk to me. Now, I know that giving you money isn’t showing that you love someone and I tried to call you and Brooklynn to apologize, but she blocked me and you would never answer. I just would rather give you my money than take care of myself,” he explained. “Now, I still can’t believe that you’re even my daughter! You look so beautiful!”

“Thanks dad.”

“Anyways, enough about me. How have you’ve been?”

“Actually, I’ve been doing well,” I answered, blushing. Joshua has still been stuck in my head.

“I’ve never gotten to ask you something. Last week, who was that man on the phone?”

“Oh, that was...a friend. He just left this morning to go back home to England.”

“Ooh, England! Gosh, I sure do miss that place! It was so gorgeous and was the cherry of my day! ‘Till I visited Florida and found your mother.” He sighed. “I sure do miss her.”

“We all do, dad. She was the glue that made this family amazing. When she passed away, that glue couldn’t really stink on to this family forever and broke apart.”

“I do actually want to say that I’m sorry about how I responded to him. I was tired and exhausted from cooking all day and I didn’t realize that wasn’t you. And that’s not the only thing that I’m apologizing for. I also want to express my regret for being a horrible father to you two. I’ve done completely nothing for you and your sister and I do respect you two for leaving. I must say, that was the right thing to do and that was also the part that made me want to quit.”

“Y’know, I could never forgive you for what you did to me and Brooklynn. Yes, you were a terrible father who only cared about himself, but we’ve all been through the grief and agony of mother’s death and it didn’t give you the right to sit on that very couch and drink all day and smoke pot right in front of your sixteen and eighteen year old daughters!” I declared.

“I know and it wasn’t right for me to do that!”

“I am thankful that you finally realize what you did was wrong, but you shouldn’t really be apologizing to me. You should be ‘expressing’ your regret to Brooklynn. She’s been through worse than me. For the past two years after I left, you would torture and threaten her. You would even make her drink and smoke with you even though she was only sixteen! She wouldn’t even tell me about it because you said that you would kill her if she told anybody! Did you know that she ran all the way to my college campus to tell me what you did? There were bruises and scars all over her! You ruined her! YOU!” I told him, my voice breaking.

“I-I didn’t know that, but I would like to talk to her. Like I said, she blocked me. I can’t even figure out a way to have a conversation with her,” he replied. “Can you talk to her and tell her that I’m sorry? I would like to tell her in person if she lets me.”

“Fine, but you need to stop making excuses. If you can’t contact her, you can always try to find her on social media and DM her,” I suggested.

“I don’t have a phone though.”

“Then how are you able to call me everyday?”

“I use Mr. Harly’s phone. Y’know our old neighbor,” he responded.

“Yeah, I remember him. He’s the one who would take care of us when you were going through your habits. I’m surprised that he even lets you use his phone.”

“Well, he supported me through the hard times.”

“There’s only one thing that makes no sense. Why didn’t you come to Brooklynn’s graduation?”

“Well, I didn’t know if you guys wanted me there.”

“That doesn’t matter, she’s your daughter!”

“I didn’t want you guys bashing me when I showed up. Plus, Brooklynn never really wanted me there. She didn’t even tell me what day it was or what time it started,” dad stated.

“That’s a lie! After the ceremony, she even told me that she showed you the graduation gown, hoping that you would consider coming! She told you the time, where it was, and what day! See what I mean, excuses after excuses. Do you know what she said to me when she surprised me at the campus? She told me as soon as she graduates, she would leave you and move as far away as possible. I ruined my career to help my sister out. I wouldn’t have to do that if her own father treated her right. Now, she lives in her own apartment with her boyfriend and soon to start college. And of course, she’s no longer in Orlando. If you really loved her and were really clean, then you would’ve been there when she passed high school five months ago,” I complained. I firmly got up from my seat and headed towards the door, vexed.

Dad called out to me, “Rebecca, wait!”

I stopped and faced him. All I want to do is get out of here. I knew this was a bad idea from the beginning. My dad doesn’t deserve my trust.

“Can you still try to talk to her, please?”

I sighed. “Yeah dad, but I can’t say that she’ll say yes.”

“Thank you!” I opened the door and walked out of the house, not even saying goodbye to him. I was too upset that I could barely look him in the face. I got into my car and drove away. If only he could have been there for us, we wouldn’t be going through this right now.

When I got home, I couldn’t relax. I was so frustrated! How could he just say that? He keeps on pretending that everything is okay when really it isn’t! Now that his wife is gone, he’s acting like a maniac! I hate him!

I took a deep breath. This isn’t how mom would’ve wanted me to act towards my father. I knew she hated him after they got married, but she didn’t get a divorce because when they were husband and wife, she was already pregnant with me. She didn’t want me and Brooklynn’s life to suffer if they broke up. When she found out that she was going to have another baby, she wanted to kill herself.

I remember when I was two. I was in the room in my crib and I saw her point a knife at her chest. She tried piercing it through her, but when she turned around and saw me there, she dropped the knife and fell to the floor. Balls of tears ran down her cheeks and I wanted to say something to her, but I was only two. On the inside, I just wanted to hug her tight and comfort her, but two year olds can’t do everything.

My dad heard a thud from downstairs when my mom dropped to her knees. He ran upstairs as fast as he could and saw the knife and me, but his assumptions were mistaken. He slapped my mother in the face and started yelling at her. My father thought that my mother was trying to kill me with the knife, but he was wrong. At the time, he even knew that she was pregnant and still put her in pain.

I remembered when I was ten and my sister was eight. My father was at work and my mom just fed us both lunch. When we were eating together, I asked her something that has been stuck in my mind for a while.

“Hey mommy, do you love daddy?” When I asked her that simple question, it took her forever to answer. I knew that she didn’t want to tell us the truth, but deep down, she resented him. I could tell that she was holding back her tears.

“Rebecca, love is very complicated,” she replied.

“So, do you not love him?” Brooklynn chimed in.

“To be honest, I will always love your father, but sometimes it’s hard to show it or even convince him that I love him.”

After that conversation, I finally knew what was going on. My father was abusing my mother, and once again, he did the same thing to my sister. But there was only one thing that didn’t make sense that I wished that I asked my father today. If he didn’t love her, then why would he marry her? Why would he have her kids if he only wanted to abuse her? And did his family know about him being a vituperative father and husband? Now, those questions haven't been explained. I don’t want to go back to that house to ask, but I do want to know the answers to them.

The worse thing is, if I went with Joshua to England, would he be like my father? He was British just like him. If I dated him, married him, and spent the rest of my life with him, would I be in the same position that my mom was in? My mother chose not to leave him and even though she was trying to protect me and my sister, she still could’ve had a normal life. She could’ve gotten a divorce, remarried someone else, and Brooklynn and I would’ve probably moved in with her and lived an ordinary childhood. But instead, we’re going through this mess which my mother isn’t even here to see. I wonder if my mother was still alive, would she have prevented this from all happening?

Before my mother passed away, my father never got drunk or high when he was abusive. That was just how he was. My grandparents never really told me what happened to him and how he became this way. After she died, he turned into a psychopath. My mother and Brooklynn could’ve reported him, but they were too scared of him to even try.

I don’t know if my father was worse on my sister when he was drinking and doing drugs than on my mother when he wasn’t. I never got to see my father hurting her. The only time I saw him hit her was when she tried to kill herself. Every night, I could hear my mother crying, but I never felt the need to even get up from my bed to check up on her.

It’s going to be hard talking to Brooklynn. She hates my father and never wants to talk to him anymore. I know she probably won’t believe me whatever I say about him because she’s been through too much. I mean, I dropped out of school to help her out. If I’m going to talk to Brooklynn, I have to hit her where it hurts.

“Brooklynn?” I called her.

“Oh, what’s up Rebecca? You’re calling all of a sudden,” she answered.

“We need to talk.”

“About what?”

“About dad.”

Brooklynn didn’t say anything after that. She was either crying or mad. I couldn’t blame her. “What about him?” She asked in a stiff tone.

“Look, he really wants to talk to you and-”

She interrupted me, “Wait, you talked to him? I thought we both promised each other that we wouldn’t talk to him ever!”

“I know, but Joshua insisted that I should talk to him. I did today and he isn’t looking too good. He looks like he’s seventy even though he’s only in his fifties. He apologized to me and even though I didn’t appreciate it, I still accepted it. I know he did even worse things to you than me, but he really wants to talk to you and apologize,” I explained.

“Rebecca, you don’t understand. That man ruined my life! If it wasn’t for you and Lucas, I would’ve probably try to commit suicide just like how mom wanted to. You told me that she didn’t want to have me and almost killed herself. I don’t even want to say his name! He's no longer a part of my life and it’s going to stay that way forever,” Brooklynn replied.

“Brooklynn…”

“No, Rebecca! I’d rather go and die before I even talk to him! I don’t care if he wants to apologize! I hate him!”

“I need you to calm down, okay? I know you hate him, you despise him. But, if you can just listen to him then...well...I don’t know, consider him?”

“Why should I consider him?”

“Because he’s changed, Brooklynn. He’s no longer drinking or doing drugs. He said that he’s been clean for two years.”

“That doesn’t matter! If he was clean, then why didn’t he come to my graduation?”

“He said he didn’t know, but I told him the truth.”

“Here we go again! He keeps making up stuff even though it’s true. See, he hasn’t changed.”

“You need to talk to him.”

“So now you’re trying to make me?”

“No, I’m not.”

“It seems like he’s forcing you to talk to me. What does he have on you?”

“Nothing, it’s just that he wants to talk to you.”

“Well, tell him that if he wants to talk to me, he has to rot in hell. And I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen soon, so that little request won’t happen.”

After that, Brooklynn hung up on me and I sighed. Great, now my sister might hate me now. I understand where she’s coming from, but I can’t keep going through this dad situation. Mom, why did you have to leave us with this chaos?

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