by Anthony Lindsay
Do I hate my father? No not really. It wasnít done out of hate, it was done out of ability. Why he called after fifteen years is still unknown to me. Ok, I understand he is dying and trying to get things right in his life but what was a visit supposed to do. What did he think would be accomplished? The manís health is not a concern of mine, how could he think it would be, he left my mother and me fifteen years ago. Left us broke; he didnít send one dime over fifteen years, then a phone call.
Hostility is a negative emotion that takes itís physical toll on the carrier. At least thatís what I read in a health magazine about ulcers. I was very hostile towards my father but not anymore. We will never be friends or anything; but the hatred that was there has lessened. Most people may feel guilty or regretful after such an act, not me. The act was good for several others more than I benefited from the deed. It should also be noted that my ulcers havenít flared up once since the event.
My mother told me my father left because he fell in love with another woman. I was eight years old she told me that men often find other women to be in love with and leave their wives and family. I remember not wanting to be a man, not wanting to do something as hurtful as my father had done.
My mother cried for a lot of nights after he left, we cried for a lot of nights after he left. Mama told me to stop crying because I had to be the man of the house. I didnít want to be the man of the house. I didnít want to stop crying. I wanted my daddy back but he didnít come back, he didnít call and according my mother he just didnít give a damn about us.
Mama stopped crying over him and told me to stop crying over him too. When she caught me crying after she decided it was time for us to stop crying, I got a beating with the extension cord. I soon stopped crying about daddy too.
After mama stopped crying it didnít take her long to move in step-daddies and uncles. Three step daddies and two uncles to be exact. We found out that step-daddies and uncles leave families too. Only mothers stayed.
Last week a local cable station interviewed me. The Athens Voice my alternative weekly paper has been winning awards; one for fiction, one for the best alternative weekly and one for best investigative reporting for an alternative weekly. It was all due to my staff not me. I was fortunate enough to have passionate people apply to work at The Athens Voice from day one. My father saw the interview, got a contact number from the show and called me. My initial response was hell no. However the reporterís curiosity in me got the best of past pains and disappointments. My fatherís address was one of wealth; only very rich people resided in the section of the city and I was aware of no blacks living there; only white Anglo Saxon Protestants lived in the area.
I went to see my father hoping he was the dying butler of some rich white folks. I went to laugh in his dying face. I carried around a lot of hate for a twenty-three year old. My doctor tells me I am his youngest patient with ulcers.
There was no butler at the address. My father lived in a coach-house of one of the estates. His woman, his white woman was the niece of the owners. The rented the coach-house to her and he lived with her. For some reason I remembered my father as a much darker man and a taller man. I am at least half a foot taller and my pecan brown skin if three shades darker than his blonde oak colored skin. He actually smiled, no grinned happily when he saw me. He was sitting on a couch wrapped in multi colored striped blanket. The sun was shining brightly through the small pained windows behind him. Looking at him wrapped in a blanket I thought about the cold nights we had in the little house he left us in that first winter. We couldnít pay the gas bill and the electric heater didnít stay on long either. We moved from the house to the projects. I moved mama out of the projects four months ago, brought her a nice ranch home. Paid for it, I have a mortgage on my condo but my mamaís home is paid for.
I smiled back at him, actual sat next to him on the couch and hugged him. I didnít become a youngest alternative newspaper publisher in the city without learning how to play games. I can smile on the outside and frown scornfully on the inside with the best of them. We had about fifteen minutes of slightly difficult small talk. It was a little awkward for him to talk around abandoning us but he did it up until his white woman said lunch was ready. It was troublesome for him to move from the couch so I helped her bring in trays and I also helped her carry in food from the grill on the porch.
It was lovely back yard, manicured lawn and a landscaped flower garden. My fatherís white woman loved flowers. She said her uncle had the landscaping done for her. We had a good conversation out by the grill. She was actually closer to me in age than my father. Last week she graduated from grad school with her MBA and was on her way to California. Sheíd met my father two years ago; he sold hotdogs from a cart on her campus. One thing lead to another, good conversations at the cart, lead to going out to coffee, then dates. He spent the night one night and never left. He wasnít sick then, at least not to her knowledge, he gotten sick five months ago, liver and prostate cancer. He wasnít expected to make through the year.
Her eyes watered when she said that. I gave her what I thought would be a consoling hug; however our bodies clung to each other a little longer than I intended. We were still in an embrace when she said she wasnít sure of what to do with my father. Theirs was not to be a long-term relationship.
When she broke the embrace, she said heíd asked to go to California with her, but that was completely out of the question and she wasnít sure how to tell him. She said it was a Godsend that they were watching the cable station and saw me. Her hopes were that I would assist in finding him a home.
It appeared my father had no idea he was about to be homeless. His white woman had a one-way ticket for a flight to California in two weeks. I initiated another tight embrace and told her she had nothing to worry about, of course I would find my father shelter, the embrace ended with me patting her quite heavy handily on her plump little behind. She giggled and I smiled.
During lunch it became apparent that my father hadnít told his white woman about how he left my mother and I, the story was that they divorced admirably and he assisted in paying for my college education. I never went to college. I graduated high school from night school. And if not for Nicholas by business backer and lover being so set on education I wouldnít have gotten that. I was selling ads for another alternative weekly and making a ton of money from the time I was sixteen years old. I never valued education.
I managed to nod to my head affirmatively through most of the lies that were spewed through lunch. I was able to do this because I really didnít hear half of what was said because my mind was calculating my fatherís painful demise. Sitting next to him on the couch I actual saw how thin and weak he actually was. I was sure he had become a burden to his white woman and I was about to comment on that until he asked how my mother was doing as if he had seen her last week.
I told him she was doing fine in her new home and had recently returned from Jamaica, told him her health was good and then I lied and said she runs three miles a day. Since mobility was an obvious problem for him. Whenever I felt him looking at me, I placed my eyes intently in his white womanís crotch. She was wearing shorts that displayed her camel toes. I hadnít slept with a woman in over two years but doing the deed wasnít problem for me. Since I had never slept with a white woman I was actually a little excited by the prospect. I figured having a sick prostrate had limited his performance in the sexual arena and the way his white woman giggled from the pat on the butt I gave her it was obvious she was a little needy in that area. He and she noticed my eyes on her camel toes. She smiled. He cleared his throat and ask when was I leaving, told him I was thinking about making a day of it since it had been so long since we talked. I gathered his dishes and mine and walked to the kitchen. His young white woman followed me with her dishes in hand. As soon as she entered the kitchen I grabbed a hold of her and kissed hard and rugged. She returned every bit of tongue and pressure.
She felt my erection and began grinding on it, when I was fully stretched out I stopped her and walked back to the front area for my father to see. His eyes went straight to my lump. I sat down right next to him. His white woman didnít follow me; she went to their bedroom. He tried to stand and fell back down to the coach. I stood and offered him a hand, he refused and tried to stand again, he failed again. He took my hand for his third attempt and rose. He took one feeble step and tripped over my outstretched foot. I offered my assistance again but he crawled back to the couch and climbed up it. He said what I was doing wasnít right. I laughed hard in his face.
I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the county hospital. He heard me telling the operator that I had a homeless cancer patient that needed hospitalization, when he heard me give her his name he started having a coughing spell. I patted him hard on the back. Spittle cleared his throat and he thanked me.
When his white woman joined us again she had on a housecoat and I heard him moan. She sat in the chair across from us. I stood up and went and stood behind her chair. I called him dad when I told him that his white woman was leaving for California and she wouldnít be able to take him and we decided that his housing should be left in my hands. My hands were on her shoulders as I spoke. He lowered his head. His white woman said something about the water sprout on tub being stuck and asked could I check it for her.
The noises we made from the bedroom must have made him try again to get up. We heard the thud. When we got into the living area he was laid prone on the floor. He didnít come to until the ambulance came to transport him to the county hospital.
My mother has gone to see him twice; she said it is the Christian thing to do. I have never went to see him and donít plan on it. She maintained a life insurance policy on him and claims that it will be enough to bury him proper, if I have my way, he will get cremated and Iíll be on my way to the Lexus dealership. And the cremation wouldnít be out of hate because I donít hate my father but I do love a Lexus. I am a man who believes a person should use their abilities to get what they want. Why my father called me, I donít know but I do know I had the ability to relieve myself of fifteen years of hostility and I did just that.