It’s time for another Micro-Fiction Monday. Because today’s story is a little longer than normal, I’ll be dividing it in two. You can find Part Two here tomorrow. Now don’t be afraid… This is only fiction…
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“Like Father, Like Daughter”
By: Rachel A. Carrera
Jennifer felt like a bowling ball sat in her stomach as she stood in the back of her pickup truck and looked around the storage warehouse facility, her green eyes searching for some lost item. When the man rounded the corner and jogged toward her with a length of narrow rope, her tension ebbed, and she smiled.
The man jumped up on the tailgate then grabbed her arm to steady himself and blushed. “Sorry I don’t have anything stronger. This should do it. It’ll hold, but don’t get crazy going around the corners.” He tied a table securely against the rear window, then jumped down and extended his hand to her.
Jennifer jumped down and closed the tailgate, then focused her gaze on his name tag. “Thank you, Brian. I appreciate your help.”
Brian smiled and tipped his head. “Are you sure you won’t need any help unloading this thing once you get it home?”
“Nah. I’m just gonna back right up to my patio and dump it out there. It can’t possibly get any more dinged up than it already is, and if it does, it’s not like anyone will notice anyway.” She checked her watch. “Well, I’d better get going. Thanks again.” She fished her keys out of her pocket, then climbed in the driver’s seat and started the truck.
He patted the driver’s door and raised his hand in a motionless wave. “Alright. Drive safely.”
As she drove home, she chewed the inside of her lip. I can’t believe Tony’s getting out of prison today. These last ten years have flown by. I hope this table helps Sophia remember some good things about her daddy. A girl shouldn’t feel as resentful toward her dad as she does. It could hurt the way she views men in general.
She pulled into her yard then climbed into the back of the truck. After she untied the rope, she took her cellphone out of her pocket and dialed her mother’s phone. “Mom, I’m home. I got the table. Can you go ahead and bring Sophia back? I think Tony should be here any time now.”
She hung up then maneuvered her way behind the table. She examined the numerous tally marks etched into the wood. In one set, she ran her finger over the four vertical lines crossed with a single diagonal line then shook her head. She sighed then winced as she pushed the heavy table over the tailgate. It made a loud thud as it fell to the ground.
She jumped down, then closed the tailgate and moved the truck to the other side of the yard. She hurried back to the table and struggled to roll it upright.
“Hey, Babe. Can I give you a hand with that?” a deep voice said.
Jennifer gasped. She looked over her shoulder and saw Tony approaching her. Her knees felt weak, and she willed herself not to swoon. “Uh, Tony. Hey. It’s been a long time.”
The car he rode in backed out of the driveway. He grinned and easily flipped the table up, then kissed her cheek. “Too long. Where do you want this?”
Her hand flew to her cheek where she still felt his kiss linger. I remember how one of his kisses used to make me simply giddy. She cleared her throat as she looked him over. He’d filled out more since she’d last seen him, and had added at least fifteen pounds of muscle. He was hardly the skinny kid she fell in love with so long ago. His eyes met hers and snapped her out of her thoughts. “Oh, uh, I’m just going to put it in the patio here.”
He lifted the table and followed her into the patio. “This thing sure is beat up. Where’s the kid? I thought she was gonna have lunch with me to welcome me home.”
Jennifer forced a smile. “My mom’s bringing her. She took her to the mall while I went and got this table. I thought we could eat out here.”
“What’s so significant about this old thing? Can’t you afford something new?” He followed her into the house. “”Look, I know I owe you a few years’ back child support. My aunt’s helping me get a job, and as soon as I get on my feet, I can–”
“Tony, no. It’s okay; we’re fine.” She grabbed a bucket of potato salad and some fried chicken out of the refrigerator, then handed him a pitcher of iced tea to carry and headed back toward the patio. “Sophia doesn’t have the best memory. I just thought this table would help her to remember all the things you used to do with her. You know, it’s been a long time, and she was barely three when you got locked up.”
He chuckled as he snatched a piece of chicken skin and popped it in his mouth. “I see. I guess she inherited my memory, huh? What’s that you used to call it?”
Jennifer half-smiled. “Your Swiss cheese memory.”
He snorted. “Yeah, that’s it. See, I already forgot!” He laughed loudly and slapped his leg.
They both turned as a car pulled in the driveway and Sophia stepped out. She scowled as she shuffled toward the patio.
Jennifer’s mom beeped the horn, then backed out and drove away.
Sophia frowned as she approached her parents, her arms folded tightly against her chest. “Hey. What’s this ugly table doing here?”
Jennifer smiled and pulled a chair up, then sat. “Go ahead and sit down. Honey, I got this out of storage today to show you just how much your daddy used to do with you before he had to go away.”
Sophia furrowed her brow. “What do you mean? I don’t remember us doing anything together.” She narrowed her eyes at Tony and clenched her hands into fists as she sat across from him.
Jennifer passed out the paper plates and dished up the potato salad, then fingered a set of tally marks. “Look at all these tally marks. There must be almost a hundred here. You used to ask your daddy to keep track of how many times he put you on his shoulders and carried you to bed then read you the story of Winnie the Pooh. Remember how much you loved that book?”
Sophia bit her lip. “Yeah, I think so. Eeyore was my favorite, right?”
Jennifer nodded. “That’s right.” She cut her eyes to Tony, then looked back at her daughter. “And look here where he carved your name. That was how you finally learned to make the letter S. Before this, you always made them backward.”
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Until tomorrow, folks…
Let’s Talk: Have you ever kept anything in a storage unit? Have you ever had to move furniture by yourself?