The phone rings again and I quickly got out of my bed and hurry to the door at the end of the hall. Dad had picked up the phone before I got there and was already having a conversation with the person on the other end. He sounded really freaked out.
“Why are you calling me at home?!” He whisper-yells into the phone. If it wasn’t the only land line in the house, I would be listening in right now. I lean my ear against the door, but it only makes it easier to hear my dad, no way of hearing whoever is on the other end. “What are you talking about? …I didn’t tell you to do any – …. You need to back off… No! I’m not doing this anymore! … You stay out of my life and stay away from me and my daughter!!!” He yells into the phone and slams it down onto the receiver. I can hear him pacing more quickly. I can hear him mumbling, but not what he’s saying.
I stand and take a deep breath before knocking hesitantly on the door. My dad must have frozen because I didn’t hear anything come from in there anymore. I knock gently on the door again and this time he answers. His face is pale and looks as if he’s seen a ghost.
“Hey there, pumpkin, what are you doing up so late?” He is able to sputter out at me. He doesn’t open the door so I can go in, but he stands there and looks at me nonchalantly. He was trying to act like nothing happened again. He knows hard mom’s death was on me that he tries so hard to protect me from anything else.
“I heard you yelling and I just wanted to come see if you were okay.” I said. He’s always been there for me, it’s my turn to be there for him now. He let out an awkward laugh and seemed to calm down a bit at my question.
“Yeah, sweetie, I’m good.” He opens the door and steps out, shutting it behind him. I had to take a couple steps back and give him some room. “I, uh…I just need to go out for a little bit, okay? Do you want me to bring you home anything? A frosty?”
“No, I’m okay dad, but thanks.” What is going on right now? “Why do you have to go out so late?”
“I just forgot some papers at the office,” he must have already been planning to go to the office, he didn’t hesitate at all when he said that. I have a really bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t want him to go, but I couldn’t find the words to tell him I was worried about him and needed him to stay with me tonight.
“What’s so important that it can’t wait until Monday, dad?” I cross my arms, trying to be normal but I’m starting to break down seeing my dad so shaken up. He sighs before responding to my question.
“No, it can’t, baby girl, I uh, need them for a case I’m working and it needs to be done by the time I get to work Monday morning.” He can tell I’m super worried about him. He rubs the back of his neck with his left hand before pulling me into a hug only he could give me. I hug him back and relax a little. Maybe the affair stuff was just making my imagination run wild. He speaks again, still holding me. “I’ll be okay, baby girl, don’t you worry. I’ll be back before you know it. Maybe we’ll still have time to watch a movie.”
He remembers! That statement made all of my worries fade and even made me smile. He lets go first and smiles at me before going back into his office and grabbing his coat and the car keys. He smiles again at me as he passes by and goes down the stairs. I wait on the landing until I hear the automatic garage door close behind him as he pulls out of the driveway. I sigh and walk slowly back to my room, concentrating on each individual step. Was I just imagining he was freaking out at his office earlier? I can’t tell anymore. My brain is fried.
I go into my room and change into my favorite pajamas: comfortable green plaid bottoms and a matching t-shirt that are both a little too big for me. Once I change, I pull back the comforter on my bed, and lay down. I felt wide awake as dad left so I didn’t think it would be an issue lying in bed while I waited for him to get home. However, the comfort and safety of my bed allowed exhaustion to seep into my body. Go figure, I actually have an exciting day and it takes the energy right out of me. I try to keep my eyes open so that I can hang out with dad, but within moments I’m fast asleep and the light still on.