Today, we learn the fate of our friends introduced to you in yesterday’s Micro-Fiction Monday.
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“Like Father, Like Daughter”
By: Rachel A. Carrera
Tony took a huge bite of chicken then let out a hearty guffaw, revealing the food in his mouth. “Yeah, your backward esses looked like snakes.”
Jennifer raised an eyebrow. I can’t believe how head over heels I was for him, and look at him now. He eats like an animal. She shook her head and forced a smile.
Sophia’s angry façade started to ebb. “Really?”
Jennifer nodded. “That’s right. And look here. This purple paint is from when you two painted your tricycle.”
Sophia grinned. “Oh, cool! I remember that!”
Jennifer’s eyes grew large. “You do?”
Tony puffed up his chest and reached across the table and proudly grabbed Sophia’s wrist. “Sure she does. We had a lot of fun with that project, didn’t we, Baby?”
Sophia patted his hand then interlaced her fingers into his. “We sure did, Daddy.”
Jennifer took a deep breath and searched for a large ding in one the table’s legs. “See here where this red paint is rubbed in this groove? That’s where you used to have your dad push you in your wagon from the back, and you’d steer.”
Tony leaned forward and inspected the flawed mark. “Yeah. You steered right into the table here. I always said women shouldn’t drive.” He laughed loudly and slapped his leg.
Toward the end of the meal, a car pulled into the driveway, and its horn beeped. Tony looked over his shoulder. “Oh, that’s my aunt. I guess she’s done with her shopping. Well, I’d better get going. My mom’s house is four hours away, and my aunt doesn’t like to drive during rush hour traffic.” He stood and grabbed his daughter’s shoulders. “It’s been great to see you again, Baby. You’ve grown into a beautiful young woman. Have your mom drive you up to Grandma’s some time, and we’ll hang out just like we used to, okay?”
Sophia grinned and jumped to her feet. “Okay, Daddy. It’s good to see you again, too. I’m gonna miss you.” She hugged him tightly, and he twirled her, then she looked at her mother. “Mom, can I go over to Lindsey’s house? I wanna tell her all about my dad’s visit and our special table. This is so cool!”
Jennifer stood and smiled as she patted Sophia’s back. “Sure. Just be home in time for dinner.”
“I will. Thanks.” Sophia kissed Tony’s cheek then raced next door.
Tony watched her go and waved, then he turned his focus to Jennifer. “Well, at least my daughter still loves me. I guess there’s no shot of you giving me another chance, is there?”
Jennifer sighed, and the smile melted from her face. Her stomach tightened, and she blushed. “Tony, look, we’ve been through all this before.”
He shook his head and held up his hands. “I know, I know. I just had to ask.” He hugged her and kissed her cheek. The car in the driveway beeped again, and he turned. “I’ll be right there.” He grabbed Jennifer’s hand in both of his. “Look, if you ever change your mind, you know where to find me. I’m not that same guy anymore. Call me, okay? I wanna set up a time when I can see Sophia again.” He kissed her cheek once more then her hand, then jogged to the car. As they pulled away, he waved out the window.
As Jennifer watched him fade into the distance, she hugged herself and took a deep breath. “Gosh, he’s still such an arrogant jerk!” She grimaced and wiped her face where he kissed her, then started cleaning up the food.
She wiped the table, and her thoughts drifted back to a decade before. I can’t believe I was ever stupid enough to be in love with that idiot. When he wasn’t out robbing liquor stores or screwing around, he was home beating the crap out of me. I’m surprised Sophia fell for my story about this table. I guess if she knew the truth, that her dad never even bothered to speak to her except to yell at her to get out of his way, she’d hate him for sure. She jumped when a car pulled into the driveway.
A man got out of the car and joined her on the patio. His smiling eyes twinkled as he kissed her cheek. “Hi, Sweetie. I see your soiree is over. How’d it go?” He tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear.
Her heart fluttered at his touch. She felt more relaxed than she had in days as she hugged him tightly. “Oh, Brian, it was perfect! I can’t believe you thought of marking up an old table just to give Sophia something to believe in.”
He wrapped his arm around her shoulders and kissed the top of her head as he ran his hand over the table. “Yeah, well, I don’t deserve all the credit. I mean, people abandon all kinds of crap in their storage units. If the folks who owned this wouldn’t have scratched it up so badly, I could have auctioned it off with the rest of their stuff.” He picked up the potato salad bowl and kept his other arm around her as they headed toward the house.
As they approached the back door, her cellphone rang, and she stopped walking. She looked at the phone, but didn’t recognize the number. She furrowed her brow. “Excuse me, Honey. Hello?”
“Hey, Babe, it’s Tony. Listen, I wanted to thank you for hanging onto that table for me. It means a lot for my daughter to know how much we used to do together before I got locked up.”
The color drained from Jennifer’s face, and her jaw dropped open. “What?”
“Yeah, I’d almost forgotten about some of those stories, but when you showed me the proof, well, I just wish we’d have had a video camera back then. I’d have loved to have seen when me and Sofia painted her tricycle and when I taught her to write her name. …What? …Oh, my aunt says I have to get off her phone. She pays by the minute. Anyway, thanks again for keeping our table. Bye.”
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Sometimes, I’m like Alfred Hitchcock… I build you up to expect there will be something chilling about to happen, and the twist is that there isn’t. I hope you weren’t too disappointed with my red herring.
Time to Talk: Have you ever known someone with a Swiss cheese memory? Have you ever known someone who was so susceptible to the power of suggestion that they actually remembered things that never happened?