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Posts Tagged ‘father’

Despite the odds, we’ve made it. It wasn’t exactly a shotgun wedding, but we decided for the sake of the baby, we’d get married. I know my friends thought I was stupid, but I was already 21, Evie was 18 and Max was almost a year old, and, it just wasn’t right to me and Evie that we weren’t a family. So we became one. Our parents were relieved. They couldn’t hide that.

Then a year later we had Jess, so we were in it to win it. For a while we struggled, sure. Though the only time I ever seriously considered cheating was when I lost my job 10 years ago; the kids were almost out the door and my ego wanted massaging. One of the managers at the old office wanted to massage it, but I passed before things got to the point of no return. I also wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror.

Max? He’s 27, a carpenter. Jess is 25 and a stand-up. She’s pretty good, once I got over hearing her swear. You never want to think of your little girl swearing. Our friends have little kids and teens, and you can feel the envy when they’re at the house, except for Trina; Trina met a friend of Max’s at our house and they’re together now. Trina’s 42. Will’s 30. They really hit it off.

I look strange? Yeah, well… Evie told me yesterday we’re pregnant. Jesus. Pregnant. I’m 47. Evie’s 44. I’ll be 65 with an 18 year old kid. 65!

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As Marnie approached the heavy revolving doors of the BluCorp headquarters, she forced herself to ignore the all too familiar tightening of her stomach. Every approach to these doors during her three years, eight months, and twenty-two days of work as an analyst, she entered the Le Corbusier-inspired behemoth, say “Good morning” to Rudy the guard, flick a card in front of the gate, ride the express elevator to the thirty-fifth floor and zip from there past the new receptionist (who was always “new”) to her cubicle outside the CFOs office. This had been nearly every weekday for three years, eight months and twenty two days, save ten days a year for vacation.

Three years, nine months and fifteen days earlier, Marnie’s father had demanded she stop it with the stand-up comedy. “Dammit, it’s time you got a real job and a husband! Quit f$^#ing around! You’re twenty-four already. If you were going to make it, you’d’ve done it by now! Christ!” Her mother had said nothing at the time, but walked out of the room. Well, Marnie inwardly conceded, I am broke and living in an apartment with four people. The lack of comforts, such as a car and food not made from white flour wrapped in a plastic bag, were beginning to bother her. She allowed her father to call a friend.

Marnie looked up and out the window onto the roofs of similarly grey and monotonous buildings outside. And no husband yet, either.

Whose fault was this?

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OK, I’m thinking, like, if I stay cold, I’ll burn more calories, right? Right? Because, like, the fat underneath my skin, oh wait, no, that’s wrong, because the fat under my skin will keep my organs warm. Right, that’s why I get fatter in the winter.

Or it could be because I start eating like Grendel in that book in October and don’t let up until the middle of March. It’s all starchy stuff, like potatoes and pasta. My grandma eats like that. Well, she used to eat like that. Then she got diabetes. She eats a lot of vegetables now.

I’d eat vegetables more often except I don’t like them. I mean, have you ever smelled Brussels sprouts? Isn’t it just nasty? I mean, like, oh, my god, how am I supposed to eat something like that? I’ll bet it tastes nasty, too. Why can’t everything taste like bacon cheddar cheeseburgers?

Mom says that hamburger’s getting so expensive now, and until Dad finds a job, we’re going to eat a lot of spaghetti. We used to go out on Friday or Saturday night for dinner at Olive Garden, but it’s too much money. It totally sucks. Mom needs whatever extra for gas to get to work.

I thought they’d fight more, but they don’t. They just don’t talk. I don’t know if it’s because they’re too angry at each other or they’re just too tired to fight. I’m going to start babysitting. You can eat while you’re babysitting, right?

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Mom and Dad… it’s not right, not right at all. There’s some invisible screen in front of me and I can’t touch them. I have to wait.

“Please pass the salt.”

“Salt.”

They’re hardly looking at each other. The hell? Wait, where did that streak of grey in her hair come from all of a sudden?

“So, Fiona, you learn anything interesting in your classes today?”

“Sure, Dad, we…”

“Huh. ‘Dad’.”

“Bradley, please. You said tomorrow!”

What’s wrong with him?  Lines, my god, there’s at least three Grand Canyon-deep gorges where it used to be baby-bottom smooth across his forehead. Why have I not noticed this before? What else have I missed?

“You take biology, right? Talk about DNA?”

“Honey…”

“Don’t you ‘honey’ me, Hannah. Called my lawyer this afternoon.”

Frozen. She flew out of here like a bat out of hell, but I can’t move. I don’t want to know what he’s talking about, do I? Why is he looking at me like that?

“Aunt Tam wanted to do the family tree, remember? Got your saliva two months ago?”

What?

“Your mother balked. I found out why.”

No. No way.

“You want to know who he is?”

Can’t see! TearsNO!pleaserushingswingsshoulderstickleshugsyearsstoriesallliesNO!

“You’re Vincent’s. Only three weeks after the wedding.”

If looks could kill I’d be dead right now. He’s glaring at me like this? I’ve done nothing!

“I’ve been tricked!”

Insane! Nineteen years – and love for me – vanished for him, just like that? Really? How could that be?! How?

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“What’cha listening to?”

“Missing Persons.”

“Who?”

“Missing Persons. ‘Do you hear me? Do you care?‘”

“Corny old stuff.”

“Classics of New Wave. Kesha’s corny already! Aw, come here , Noodle. You’re still my favourite tiny sister, even with such bad taste in pop music.”

“I’m your only tiny sister!”

“Noodle” (born Natasha) had been their family’s mid-life surprise and was 20 years younger than Kimberly.  Kimberly gave the giggling teenager a squeeze, What are words for if no one listens anymore? wafting over them.

“How you doing?”

“I’m ready to go!”

“That bad?”

“They argue every single day. That TA in his History seminar still calls. Can I tell you something?”

“Shoot.”

“He tries to act like he still loves Mom, but he doesn’t. He wants Mom to take care of him like always, while he’s…  with these girls!”

GIRLS?”

“The TA’s not the only one.  The others call the house, too. Mom knows. She’s so hurt.”

Kim imagined it was hard for 17-year-old Noodle to recognize that Dad was a bounder.

“You’re moving in with David and me. Today. This is ridiculous.”

“I know people cheat, Kim. Why lie? It’s so stupid!”

“Because, as you say, they want it ‘just like always’, even when it isn’t anymore.”

Kimberly hugged Noodle tighter and remembered Noodle was born after Dad pulled a similar stunt, a lull in his antics. At his age! He could be fired, too, and then where would Mom be? Kim was silently grateful for her own loving husband.

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“What if you end up on the streets?”

“I won’t. I know I won’t.”

“I could give you some more money…”

“No, don’t, Dad. You guys have already paid for enough things. I’ll get a day job for now. I’ll be OK. Better than OK.”

“Should’ve known it would come to this when I gave you that damn guitar… How about being an account executive in advertising or something instead? Advertising’s creative!”

“I’m going to take that as a joke. How would climbing up the corporate ladder be any less risky? Not everyone makes it to VP or managing director or whatever, either.”

“Yes, but…”

“People can’t live their lives on ‘Yes, but’. ‘Yes, and’. That’s the only way.”

“You’ll starve.”

“Oh, now that lack of faith smarts. I’ll get over it, I guess.”

“Don’t be a wisenheimer. I’m not saying I don’t have faith in you. But there are a slew of young people out there, talented and good-looking youngsters, great songwriters; they’ll never get heard, no one cares. They get stuck in shitty minimum wage jobs… Or have to ‘give out favours’ to sleazy…”

“Wow, you really have no faith! Do you actually know of any of these sad people?”

“Well, no, but…”

“Let’s say I don’t make it, then. Wouldn’t it be better that I’d tried?”

“I just don’t want you hungry and poor, flopping on couches. See it from where I’m standing, Sharon.”

“I’m going to be happy, Dad; believe it, because I’ve got the stuff!”

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