I was fourteen years old when Father left for the last time, at least we hoped it was the last time. Life resumed its normal rhythm and we managed to get through that Summer in much the same way that we were used to. Although, Anna who was sixteen now and had quit school in tenth grade to work full-time, decided to go back to school and graduate. My Mother was glad even though there would be less money coming in now; she thought it was more important to graduate. I was a freshman now and considered myself quite grown up and should be able to do whatever I wanted to do. My Mother, as easygoing as she was, had other ideas about that. I was not a problem in my teens like some other of my peers who were and since I was responsible and helped out at home, my Mother trusted me.
I was still working at the coke and jukebox place for the rest of that Summer and paying for my expenses at school, so I was pretty independent. One day as I was working with the one other waitress who was also on duty, guess who walks into the place with a big smile on his face? My Father! I hadn’t seen him since the big blow up between himself and my Mother a few months ago, when he stormed out with my Mother’s encouragement. That was over Anna having her sixteenth birthday party in our basement, which he was adamantly against. We hadn’t heard from him since that time and he had never even said goodby when he left and here he was waltzing in here to see me, I supposed. Not sure what he was after but I was having none of it.
He sat down at the counter and I anxiously tried to get Trudy, the other waitress, to wait on him but she said she was too busy. So I got the honor. I went to the counter and without even saying hello, I asked what he wanted. He had a funny smile on his face as though he knew I wanted to slap him, now that I was big enough. He was only about five feet, six, with a slight build although he had a lot more muscle tone than I did. He was always exercising and lifting weights and I am sure even though I was five feet, five at the time, not much shorter than he, I was in no shape to be challenging him.
He said he would have a hamburger and french fries. “Oh crap” I thought, “he wants me to cook for him.” I really was angry at him and now I had to cook something and serve him. I went into the kitchen and started banging around and making a lot of noise. First of course I had to pour him a cup of coffee, which was stale and I knew how he liked it freshly made or he wouldn’t drink it. So I got some satisfaction from that. He didn’t say anything about it. He just sat there with that sickening smile. I continued banging around in the kitchen and finally I came out and slammed the plate down in front of him. I walked away and went over to Trudy and she was looking at me with a, “What’s the matter with you,” look on her face. I couldn’t explain who he was to her, not while he was still sitting there.
To be continued next Wednesday.