Family dinners are the best.
‘.... I love her and will always do until my last breath and I really miss her .’
I put my pen down and finish with my eulogy. It is now five o’clock in the evening on a Saturday today. Sam and Kale both left after lunch. Yesterday night, we had loads of fun. But I don’t know if I can say the same thing about today. Besides, dad is coming home after six months. Maybe it won’t be that bad after all.
“Haley, your dad is going to be here any minute and this is what you are wearing?” Mom has been in a rush the whole day today.
“Mum, his flight will be landing in half an hour. He will be home in an hour and a half. And what is so wrong with my clothes?” I look down at them. I am wearing a Sponge bob T-shirt and black shorts. Is it bad?
“Don’t you wanna go and pick him up?” She asks sitting down on my bed.
“Oh. Um, can’t Nick do it? I have to complete the homework that I missed yesterday.” I lie to her. I really do not want to go.
“Haley. You do know that I can always tell whenever you lie, right?” She gives me a stern look.
“Uh... please? I don’t have any valid reason for not going but-”
“No buts. You are going to go and pick your father from the airport. That is an order. C’mon now, get dressed.” she stands up to leave the room.
“Mom!” I give her my best puppy dog eye look.
“Honey, I already have loads to worry about regarding the funeral and new neighbors and all that, so please do not start another thing for me to worry on.” She says.
“Fine. I wil change and pick him up.” I move towards my closet.
“Thank you.” And with that she leaves the room.
The one thing I do not understand is that why do I need to change my clothes to go pick my father? I decide on wearing blue skinny jeans, a white tank top and a pink and grey striped overshirt with long sleeves over it. With this I put on my black flat bellies and I am ready to go. I tie my hair in a high pony tail and look at myself in the mirror before I take my phone and my car keys, perfect.
“Mom, I am leaving.” I yell so that she can hear me.
“Okay. See you. Bye!” She yells back.
I reach the airport and dial my fathers number. After two rings he answers.
“Dad? Where are you?”
“Oh, Haley! I just reached, waiting for the luggage now.” He says.
“Okay, I am in the parking lot C. See ya.”
“Wait! You have come to pick me up?” he sounds surprised.
“Yes. Why? Do you have somebody coming for you, other than me?′ I ask.
“No. Well, it’s okay. I’ll be there in five minutes.” He says and hangs up.
I have a feeling that he did have a ride back home whoich he is going to cancel in these five minutes. I put my earphones in and pass my time unless he arrives.
Almost after ten minutes, I see dad coming towards my car. Damn, I gotta admit, even at this age he looks good. I get out of the car to hug him.
“Hey kiddo. You look good.” He hugs me.
“Hi dad. Thank you. So do you! How are you?” I ask him.
“I am fine, I just missed you all a lot. What about you?” He opens the trunk to put his bags in.
“We missed you too. I am okay... ” I smile and get in the car.
“Haley.” He sits in the passenger seat and gives me a stern look which says ′ I know you are lying″
“Yes?” I decide to play stupid.
“Are you really okay? I mean with everything that happened in these two days... ” He trails about Tracy.
“Yes dad. If I am not. I will be.” I start the car and drive.
“So, the funeral is tomorrow. Has Mary arranged everything?” He asks me.
“Yes, but she is having a hard time with all this. It’s too much work for her. The hospital, the funeral and now the new neighbors.” I keep my eyes on the road.
“New neighbors? For Tracy’s house?” He asks.
“Yes. Apparently, Tracy put her house for rent and never told a soul about it, except for Sophie. So these people who are coming this Wednesday agreed to stay there, and now when they heard about the death they decided to buy the house.”
“For rent? Why would she do that?” Dad asks looking concerned.
“We don’t really know yet. Mom is gonna ask Sophie about it though.”
“Sophie?” Dad looks confused now.
Oh, right. He doesn’t know Sophie properly. “Sophie is her maid who used to live wit Tracy and take care of her and stuff.” I explain.
“Oh. So then why didn’t she tell you anything about this?”
“I don’t know why she didn’t tell us” I say.
“And what about her now? Where is she going to live now?” Dad looks pretty interested about this.
“Sophie went back to her hometown yesterday, she will come back tomorrow for the funeral...” I tell him.
“Where is her hometown?”
“In Texas.” I reply.
“Oh. I’ll talk to your mother about this.” He says.
“Okay.” I say and after this we remain quiet for about fifteen minutes. Dad has his eyes closed when I look over at him.
“We have almost reached.” I tell him.
“Okay.” He sounds really tired so I decide to not talk to him further.
After ten more minutes I park my car in our drive way and wake him up.
“We have reached.”
“Uh. What?” Dad jolts up from the seat.
I laugh. “We are home dad.” I say again.
He looks to his right then his left and then straight ahead. Then he smiles realizing the fact that he is home after so long.
“Dad!” Nick comes running to him when we enter the house.
“Hello, young man. Did you miss me?” Dad hugs him.
“Of course. Did you?” Nick hugs him back.
“Yes. A lot. Hey, honey.” Dads gaze turns to mom.
“Hi Will. How are you?” She hugs him tight.
“Oh, god I missed you so much. You look pretty even now.” He says. I have to admit both my parents look way to good for their age.
“You look so tired. Go fresh up and we’ll have dinner.” Mom says.
“Oh. Family dinners. Have not had them in a long time.” dad says and walks towards the masters bedroom.
“Yes, they are the best.”
“Haley, help me set the dinner table please.” Mom says.
“Mom! I did one thing. Now, why can’t Nick do it?” I whine.
“Because I am saying so. Now get your butt here.”
“Urgh. Fine!” I hesitantly walk over to the kitchen and start helping her.
Dad comes down after twenty minutes looking fresh as ever.
“What’s for dinner?” dad asks and takes his seat.
“I made you your favourite. Dan Dan noodles, Steamed salmon, Pork chops and St. Clement’s pie.” Mom sits at her seat.
“Wow, thank you. Cannot wait to indulge.” Dad rubs his hands together.
We all start eating. And the look on our faces says it all, that we love the food. It is just simply delicious.
“This is just the same as I remember it.” Dad says while eating.
“Yeah mom. This is so good.” Nick says with his mouth full of everything.
“How is work going?” Mom asks dad.
“Eh. Same as ever. Stock markets are high so it is all going well.” He replies.
“How is school going for both of you?”
“Pretty nice.” and “Awesome” are our replies.
“You still the co- captain of the team. Nick?”
“Yes. They could not have a better one than me.” Nick boasts.
“That is the spirit.” Dad fist pumps Nick. Oh, I miss all this so much. Family Dinners are in fact the best.
Rest of our night goes in dad catching up on our lives and we all just chatting and laughing. Soon, I go to bed as tomorrow is Sunday. The day of Tracy’s funeral. I have a strong feeling that tomorrow is going to be an awful day. I have no clue why, but this feeling is really, really very strong.
“Haley, Wake - oh, so you are up early today.” Mom comes into my room. I have been awake for the last two hours. Somehow, I just wasn’t getting any sleep last night. And when I dos get asleep, I woke up early.
“Yes, good morning.” I give her a small smile.
“Good morning. You okay, right?” She asks me and sits on the corner of my bed.
Now that is a question that I will have to answer a lot today. I think about it for a moment. Am I okay?
‘Not really’ my subconscious says.
“Yes I think I am.” I reply.
“I hope you are. “She says.
“I will be if I’m not.”
“Oh, I almost forgot. You need to get dressed early.” She tells me.
“Because we have to greet the people who come.” She tells me.
“Oh. Okay, I’ll be ready in half an hour.”
“Alright” she leaves the room.
I walk towards my closet, remove , my black dress and put it on.
‘Oh, how much I am missing you right now Trace.’
“Are you okay? ” the fortieth stranger asks me.
“Yes. If not I will be. ” I say for the fortieth time.
I know no body from the people who came for the funeral. Every stranger has asked me if I am okay. Even if they don’t know me just for the sake of it they come and talk. It is now three in the afternoon and almost everyone has left. Almost. I look around and find familiar faces and a few unfamiliar ones.
“Haley. Hey, you doing okay?” Kale asks me.
“Well, not really. But I’m trying.” I tell him.
“Did you eat anything?”
“No, I am not hungry.” I tell him.
“Please eat something. I know you had nothing for breakfast as well.” he says.
“Kale, I am really not in the mood of eating anything.”
“Fine, but please eat at least something today, okay?”
“Okay.” I smile a little.
“Come here.” he hugs me.
Kales hugs are the best.
“By the way, I came here to tell you that I have to go for football now. So I’ll meet you in school tomorrow. You are coming right?” he asks after releasing me.
“Okay and yes most probably.”
“Cool, see you tomorrow. Bye. ” he waves.
" Bye” I wave back.
I watch him as he leaves the house.
“You are Haley, right? I heard you were very close to Tracy, such a humble person she was. I hope you are okay?” the lady asks me.
“Yes she was. And I’m fine. ” I give her a fake smile and she walks away.
“Your eulogy was so fake.” Someone whispers in my ear from behind me.
I turn around immediately.
“Tracy and I were so close. We used to have so much fun together.” he says in a stupid girly voice, mocking me by repeating my words from my eulogy.
“Who are you? ” I have seen the guy somewhere. His face is very familiar.
“Someone who thinks your eulogy was fake.” he says smugly.
“You have no right to say that. ” I fold my arms.
“I can say whatever I want.” he argues.
" I miss her and I love her.” he mocks me again.
“Who do you think you are?!” I raise my voice a little.
“That is none of your business. ” he says smugly.
I am about to argue back when my mother calls me.
I walk towards her. “Haley, a funeral just got over, Tracy’s funeral and you are raising your voice?!” she whisper shouts.
“What? Mom, I was--”
“I do not want to hear anything.” she looks away.
Ugh. I stomp my way out of the house.
“Fake!” I hear him yell on my way. I stomp faster. I go and sit on the porch.
′Is he saying the truth? Was my eulogy fake? ′
Urgh. Here comes the tears.
“Thought as much. You girls cry for every little thing, don’t you? ” he says.
Ignore him. Just ignore him. I keep chanting this mantra in my head.
“Your eulogy wasn’t needed at all.”
That. Is. It.
“Listen, I don’t know what relation you have with Tracy and why you are bothering me so much but, I can tell you one thing. Whatever I said was from the heart. You may think it was fake but you are wrong, it was simply just the truth. ” I furiously wipe my tears.
“Truth, my ass. It was like the same old eulogies which we hear in movies. ”
“Have I seen you somewhere? ” I blurt out the question at the wrong time.
“What? ” I squint my eyes and try harder to remember him.
“Like what you’re gazing?” he smirks.
“What the fuck is your problem?”
“Whatever my problem is, is none of your business. ”
Realisation hits me like a grenade. ” No way. You are the jerk from the grocery store.”
“Well, you guessed it right.” his smirk grows deeper.
“What are you even doing in this house?!”
“You see, the porch you are sitting on, is officially mine.” he says.
“What?” I am confused. Wait. Is he Brians brother Reece?
“This is my house now, that is the reason I was at the funeral today. We are shifting in on Wednesday. ” he explains.
“God. Why me?” I feel like I have lost a battle.
‘Are you Reece?’ is what I want to ask him, but I am afraid to know the answer.
′Please don’t be Reece. Be their maid or cousin or something.′
“Why you, what?” he asks.
I am about to say something when somebody calls him.
“Brother! Where have you been? ” Brian comes walking towards us.
" I was here only. Where were you? ”
“Oh, Haley. How are you?” Brian finally notices me.
“I am good, and you?”
“Same. Haley, meet Reece, my younger brother. Reece , this is Haley, our neighbour. He introduces me to the jerk, to Reece.
“Nice to meet you.” we say at the same time. I give a fake smile to him.
Fuck. My. Life.