The Last Kiss (Chapter 6)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Last Kiss (Chapter 5)<—– CLiCK THiS TO READ CHAPTER 5

Boys Were Jerks

“Mom, can you tell me about my dad?”
I stared at my half-eaten roasted chicken that was still steaming on my plate. Its delicious smell was clinging to my nose, making my mouth waters. Adding the fact that I didn’t eat lunch, (well, except for the one bite on my burger) I really am sure I’d devour this chicken.
“I’d rather not talk about it, hon”, she said, getting the pitcher in the fridge. She took the seat across me and put the pitcher on the glass table.
“But why?” I merged my eyebrows together.
“That’s way too long ago”, she’s slicing the chicken and then brought it to her mouth. “The past must be buried.”
“Mom, what has happened in the past was important─,” I argued. “─ to me. I felt incomplete. I don’t even know the name of my dad. It’s like there was a part of me missing. Ever since I’m a child, I am trying really hard to live happily around the huge gaping hole of his absence. Mom, I’m a grown up now.”
“I suppose we should talk about this after dinner”, she said without looking at me. But I could see her eyes moisten as she tried to blink back the tears. So, I stopped.
“I suppose so. I’m sorry.”
“No”, she smiled at me weakly. This time, she met my eyes. “I understand.”
I smiled back at her, feeling guilty. I mean, I knew she’s tired from her work, and her in home I’m bugging her. It’s just that I really wanted to know about my dad. Because it feels like there’s a part of me that was still covered with mystery.
We spent the time around the table without speaking another words again. We just sat there and ate in silence. Only the sound of the spoons and forks rustled to the plates were echoing in the kitchen den.
* * *

“How’s school?”
I looked up to find mom standing next to me, handing me a bowl. And it’s only after I blinked several times that I remembered it’s my job to wash it. I grabbed it and put it on the sink and start washing.
“Sorry. What, mom?” I asked, my fingers gripping the soapy wet porcelain as I let the water from the faucet rinse it. Unable to think anything but Lance, and the hurtful words I used to torture myself with by playing them on my mind over and over again.
“You look tired. It’s been a stressful day.” She smiled. “Where had you been anyway? You’re sandy.”
I gazed down at my feet, startled to see the sand speckled on my ankles and on the hems of my pants. “Um─ down the beach.”
She squinted, nodding her head as she said, “I thought for sure you’re with Kirsten and Arielle. Looks like you enjoyed walking on the beach.”
“Yes, I did.”
“And Lance?”
I stopped. I swallowed hard and bit my lower lip before saying, “He’s okay. I guess.”
“Well, ask him to have dinner with us tomorrow, will you?”
“No!” I said, the words spilled out from my mouth before I could stop them, knowing that answering like that would just only make her curious.
“I mean, he will have a game tomorrow. I suppose.” I nodded, attempting a light, breezy expression. Not wanting her to know that what she said had just totally freaked me out.
“Ow, I see.” She nodded. “He’s been declining my dinner invitations lately. I wonder.”
And the moment she said it, I knew that it was no longer about the dinner invitations. She’s trying to get me to open up, to explain his absence on one Saturday night, and everyday since.
I closed the dishwasher after I put the fistful of spoons and forks, and turned away. I was pretending to wipe down the counter that was already clean while avoiding her eyes as I said, “Well, I think he’ll not be coming over again. Ever. Mostly because we’re ah . . . um . . . we’re break.”
She reached for me. I buried my face into her as she wrapped her arms around me. I pulled away as she said, “Oh Riley! I’m so sorry─ I didn’t know.”
“Mom”, I laughed. But the truth is I was trying hard to blink back my tears. “Seriously I’m okay, really.” I said, convincing myself more than her.
“What’s happened?” she asked, her voice was motherish, of course.
“It . . . It was kind of a sudden. And well, I don’t really know what to say, actually.”
“I’m here if you need to talk.”
“I’d rather not talk about it, mom”, I shrugged, hoping that she’ll close this case now. I mean, I understand that she’s like that. Lawyers, you know. She’s not just being a mother to me; she’s being a lawyer now. And as the firm’s top litigator, she’s very good in telling if I tell lies. But I just wish that in her private life, between us, she’d just choose to believe. “I’m okay, really.”
Before she could press the topic again, I changed it.
“What about dad? You said you’ll tell me about him.”
I watched her as her gaze rested on the floor, feeling guilty for being so insensitive again.
“What do you want to know about him?”
“Everything.” I whispered.
She motioned me towards the sala. I followed behind her. She sat on the couch and patted the space next to her. I picked up the pillow as I sat, and held it.
“It’s a long story, hon.”
“It’s always a long story, mom”, I sat stiffly, eager to listen. “So, I suggest we should start now.”
“Honestly, I don’t want to talk about it.” She put her index finger on my lips as I tried to speak to argue. “But it’s your right to know about him.”
“His name was James Conelly. He’s also a lawyer, and we met at work. We got along together that we started dating.” She said, and I’m sure I catch a glimpse of her smiling. “I had loved him from the start, even though I didn’t know a lot about him.”
I nodded, crossing my legs while listening attentively. Her eyes moisten and I’m sure she’s blinking her tears back.
“When I got pregnant, that was you, of course.” She tapped my nose with her index finger. ‘He kinda freaked out. And that was the time he told me he’s already married.”
Her tears were now making their way down to her cheeks. I threw my arms around her. I closed my eyes as they stung with tears as I whispered, “That’s enough, mom. That’s all I wanted to know.”
Actually, I wanted to know more. Like where was he now. Or if he’s still alive. But I knew having to hoard the past could really hurt. And seeing her crying was tearing my heart.
She pulled away and we looked at each other. Suddenly, we burst out laughing as we’re wiping the tears out from our eyes.
“Boys were jerks”, I said.
“Yes, definitely.” She agreed and we bumped our knuckles like old friends.
“Have I already told you how much I love you, mom?”
“Ow,” she hugged me. She kissed my forehead. “You haven’t. But I know I love you more, babe.”
“Babe?” I furrowed my brows.
“What?” she asked, curious. “What’s wrong with babe?”
I burrowed my face on her chest, sniffing her floral scent. I really love the feeling of her warm embrace. I’m like a baby again. I felt safe.
“Don’t call me babe. Lance used to call me that way.” I said, loving the feel of his name on my lips. Even though it didn’t do anything to fill the huge hole in my heart cause by him.
“Oh!” she laughed. I listened to her laughter as it vibrated on her chest, and decided that it was the most beautiful melody in the world that always makes my heart smile.


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