This week there were insanely tempting choices for the InMon challenge. I decided to go with the prompt My dad never looks at me. If you’ve never participated in this challenge, I highly recommend it. Okay, here goes…
“My dad doesn’t see me,” he said.
I glanced at Jamie who stood at the bookshelf across the room from where I sat. His back was turned on me.
Seventeen and lanky. Shaggy, fair hair. One of a million kids just like him in this city alone. So ordinary I could scream my bloody head off.
“Does that mean he’s away lots?” I asked.
He exhaled so long and hard that his entire body drooped. An emptied, withered flower.
“Forget it,” he mumbled.
I measured his words. I had an important decision to make. Whatever I chose to do would determine the course the rest of our relationship would take. If I got it right, there was a chance I could save this kid’s life. If I chose incorrectly, he would blame me as the reason he was stuck in juvenile detention for the next seven months.
To forget it or not to forget it. That became the question.
I gazed at him, silent. He pretended to read the titles of the books on the shelf, head tilted and index finger tracing letters along spines. Perhaps he did read them.
That was the thing about Jamie. I wasn’t convinced about anything with him.
I pulled a coin from one of the pockets in my pants. I flicked it into the air, caught it, and slapped it onto the back of my wrist. Heads.
“No, I won’t forget it,” I charged Jamie as I straightened in my seat.
“No, Jamie. You’ve come in here every day for the last week-and-a-half only to scratch your crotch and sniff your snotty nose at me. I know nothing about you.”
“So what? Who do think you are anyway?” he mumbled, still not facing me.
“Your Dad a loser, Jamie? He run out on you and your Mom? Leave you to be the man of the house when all you felt was so scared you wanted to pee your pants?”
Jamie tensed and tapped at the books with his knuckles.
“He some kind of hero in your kid mind that turned out to be a washed out old drunk bum as you got older?”
“Don’t,” Jamie growled, banging a book with the flat of his hand. He still wouldn’t face me.
“You mad at him because he didn’t want to see you?” I teased.
Jamie grabbed a book from the shelf and hurled it at me. He missed. Mitchener’s The Drifters. Good choice.
“My father is the owner of a business enterprise with earnings larger than the budgets of most countries on this planet. He is respected by friend and foe, presidents and paupers. He has been married to my mother for twenty-four years and I still live in the house I grew up in my whole life. I have nothing but love and admiration for him.”
“But?” I fished, way out of my depth.
“But he doesn’t see me. My dad never looks at me. He’s just like you.”