When he dropped me off at Cat’s house, I asked him not to come back. I was angry with him, and Cat's dad wouldn't mind anyway.
Cat lived with her father. Her parents had divorced some years ago, long before she moved into this sleepy little town. She hardly visited her mother for fear of feeling like an intruder. Her mother had two other children; she was happily remarried and living two states away.
I didn't blame Cat for wanting to stay far away from that. In some ways, I guess we are really quite the same--feeling both unwanted and misunderstood.
Cat’s dad ordered us a pizza for FIVE dollars. Wow, dad! You see that? A whole pizza! You could spend your fortune on some random woman, but you can’t spend TEN dollars on your only daughter? Some other person’s father has to feed your own child? This is bullshit!
I texted Megan, and she said she would come, but she never showed up. And even after Cat’s father went to bed, we stayed awake--eating her stash of gummy worms and watching a few reruns.
“What’s got you so angry?” she asked, poking my shoulder.
I readied myself for a lie and tried to look over at her in a tough manner, but I couldn’t follow through. I was too pissed.
“My father decided that he was tired of feeding me today. So, he dropped me off here to sponge off of you guys.”
“Well, that was harsh…”
“Yea, sorry--I don’t want your food and money, I swear, but I was starving. So, I’m totally paying you back when I get the chance.”
“Oh, shut up,” she said giggling, “It’s not that serious. You’ve done more than enough for me already. So, it’s my pleasure to feed you, your highness,” she said laughing.
“I’m royalty? Damn right, I am.”
For a while, I was actually okay with the fact that my father couldn’t feed me because he felt the need to treat some woman for the evening. But, Cat’s conversation couldn’t keep my mind from wandering completely.
“But Cat, really,” I began, “wouldn’t you just die if your dad did that to you? Or, am I just being selfish?”
“How are you being selfish, Jen? What’s so selfish about wanting your father to feed you because you haven’t eaten all day? I‘m sure if you had your own money, you would’ve eaten already.”
My bottom lip quivered.
“But, it’s so unfair what he’s doing.”
“Come here,” she said, hugging me close. “He’s just being selfish, and some people can’t help it. They’re just selfish people, and they expect everyone to understand when they can’t sacrifice for someone else.”
Cat was right. Why should I waste my time asking the world “Why?” Some people will be who they are, regardless of responsibility, and at the moment, my father was one of those irresponsible people.
“For what,” she asked, taken aback, staring down at me.
“Well, for being there,” I responded, wiping a rebellious tear from my cheek.
© Copyright 2016 Jennifer Brighton. All rights reserved.
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