Story:The Talk: Part 2
The Talk: Part 2
Written by Shataivian
The alarm clock went off for what had to of been a half second before David shut it off. He got up and stretched and made his way to the bathroom to start his normal daily routine, waisting no time. Afterwards, he tiptoed down the hall towards the kitchen, trying to remember where all the creaky parquet tiles were so that he could avoid them. Today he was going to do everything right. He had his phone ready on the countertop with the website for “The absolute best salmon eggs benedict you have ever had” pulled up and scrolled passed the “how life-changing this meal was for me” section to get to the actual damn recipe. He had all the ingredients pulled out of the fridge and started to measure and count everything out. She deserved to wake up to her favorite meal made by her loving father.
The night before was rough on David. For the first time Lisa had called her father by his first name. She had lost respect for him. An angry child, David was used to. Words like “I hate you” was normal for a parent to hear. But disappointment was something else, especially when it was the child who was disappointed in the parent.
David’s plan to make this breakfast for his daughter was with the hope that the day could start off somewhat normal. But as he began to read through the instructions for the first time, he realized that everything only took minutes to cook and should be made minutes before serving, and Lisa was still sleeping. Should he wake her up? No. Let her sleep. Then what to do with the ingredients? David put everything back into the fridge and sat down at the kitchen table. He contemplated whether he should say anything to her, or act as if nothing had happened. How do you move on from last night?
Much like the night before, the minutes ticked by with David trying his best to figure out the best course of action to take with his daughter. His fingers tapped on the table. His eyes wandered. A quick thought of the conversation before would flash through his mind and he'd scrunch his face and shake his head as if to shake the whole feeling from his brain. He sat quietly but restlessly. Then he heard a creak. Was it from her room or was it him nervously shaking his leg? He sat still and subconsciously held his breath to hear better. Another creaking sound from her room. She was up! Then he heard her door open and the bathroom door close. Why do bathroom doors always seem to have a very distinct sound? Nonetheless, David took this time to get everything back out of the refrigerator so that he was already making her breakfast by the time she made her way to the kitchen.
The very recognizable sound of the bathroom door opened again, and the creaking of the parquet flooring made its way towards the kitchen. Lisa walked in still wearing her pink tank top and a pair of baggy dark green sweatpants. She was rubbing her puffy and overly swollen eyes. David turned to greet his daughter, but before he could say “good morning,” his heart skipped. Around her neck was a necklace. This was the gift he had given her the night before that he thought she had refused to open. The pendant on the necklace was a pink rose and a yellow daffodil incrusted with pink and white diamonds respectively.
“G-good morning, sweetheart,” David barely got out. “How do you feel?”
“Like shit,” Lisa groggily responded. “You making breakfast?”
“Y-yeah. How does salmon eggs benedict sound?”
“You can make hollandaise sauce,” she snorted.
“How hard can it be?”
“Yeah. Okay,” Lisa laughed, her eyes still barely open. She waved him off and made her way into the living room to watch whatever was on TV. David cracked his knuckles and began making her breakfast. He poached the eggs, toasted the English muffins, and miraculously made the hollandaise sauce on his first try. It wasn't hard for him at all! He was on a roll. It all only took a few minutes to make. When he was done, he brought out a plate for Lisa to enjoy on the couch. Lisa inspected her meal then took a bite.
“Good,” David asked. Unceremoniously, Lisa nodded with her mouth full. He had done it. He had perfectly made Lisa’s favorite breakfast.
David took a seat next to Lisa to enjoy his own plate. The TV was on so the two didn’t need to make small talk. Some morning talk show was on, nothing either of them were interested in or even paying attention to, but the distraction was appreciated.
Once their breakfast was finished Lisa got up to take their dishes into the kitchen. David tried to insist that he’d take them, but Lisa left with them without listening to what he was saying. He could hear the water rushing in the kitchen sink, and the clanking of dishes. When Lisa returned, she reached for the remote and turned off the TV.
“Is everything ok,” he asked.
“I… I want to ask you something.” Lisa’s head hung, and her body was slightly slumped over.
“Yeah…? Yeah! Shoot!”
“Actually, it’s sorta a couple of things.”
“What is it?”
“You know where I can find mom?” Lisa looked up enough to look at her father.
“Do you know where she is?” David patted the seat next to him to get Lisa to sit down.
“Talk to me, what is this all about?”
“I want to find her.” She continued to stand.
“Lisa.” David sighed. “Hunny, I don’t think that’s a good idea.”
“I don’t really care what you think.”
“Right.” Of course... “But, listen. She’s gone. She left. I get you want to find her and stuff, but Lisa… I promise you, if you go looking for her, you’re going to get hurt.”
“See. I’ve been thinking that, too. But she can’t be as bad as you.” David took a breath.
“Okay. I know you’re mad at me, but I’m being serious. You were the reason she left. If she wanted to see you again, she would have come looking for you.”
“And what if she’s saying the same thing about me,” Lisa piped up.
“What if she’s saying, ‘if she wanted to see me, she would have found me by now?’ Wouldn’t it make more sense for me to be the one to look for her and forgive her for leaving?”
“Lisa, what is this really about?” David finally stood up to talk with Lisa face to face.
“I’m tired of being angry, with you, with mom… I just want to get passed all this and see everyone for who they really are… Like I did with you last night.” Lisa’s words jabbed at David.
“And then what, Lisa? Do you really think she would want to see you? After all these years, do you think it’s gonna be a pleasant visit?”
“Then she turns out to be as awful as you make her out to be! I mean, what do I have to lose?! If she’s awful, great! I already knew that! And if she’s not, then I get to have a mom.” Lisa’s voice started to crack.
“What can I say to convince you not to do this, Lisa?” By now, David had his hands on Lisa’s shoulders.
“She’s Sandrine Malone now, right?”
“She still lives upstate?”
“That is enough!” David’s voice rung for a moment and neither of them spoke. Lisa’s shoulders rose and fell. Her eyes shot daggers at her father.
“Fine.” She turned around and made her way back towards her room. “I can find her myself.”
“No! You will not.” David grabbed his daughter’s arm and yanked her close to him, stopping her from walking away any farther. Lisa shouted for him to get off as she tried to push him off. “No!” He grabbed her other arm and held both of them tight as he shook her. “You listen to me. Right now! You want to know what she said when she left? Huh?!” Lisa struggled some more to get free. “’I can’t even look at her! Every time I see her face I want to scream. I wish I could get rid of her and everything could go back to the way it was before she got here!’” Lisa finally broke free and fell to the floor. “She told me that either she goes, or you go! I chose you over her. I was not going to give you up! You hear me?” Lisa failed to hold back any of her tears. “So, you can be mad at me all you want, but I am serious when I say that finding her will only break your heart. She gave you up. She gave us up. Do not bring her back into your life!”
“But… she could have changed.”
“She hasn’t! There is no way she will ever see you as her daughter!”
“Oh yeah?! Well, it wouldn't be the first time one of my goddamn parents disowned me!”
“Lisa, I'm being serious here! She doesn't want you!”
“Then why did she have me in the first place?! It doesn’t make sense!”
“You know the answer to that already. We babysat Omar while Melissa went on her honeymoon. It was the absolute only thing that convinced her to have kids. But then she changed her mind!”
“Yeah, and you know what, I keep doing the math. It doesn’t add up. Omar is five years older than me! Why the hell did babysitting him take like four years to convince her to have me?!”
“Enough!” David’s posture slowly started to soften. He was not the one in trouble and right now she needed him. He knelt down behind her and held her tight. “Hunny… Some people are toxic. You have to let people like that go. She was my wife. It was the hardest decision for me to let her go, but I had to. I was not going to lose you.” Lisa turned towards her father and buried her muzzle in his chest.
“I know, Hunny. I know.” David used his fingers to lift her chin. “Hey? I see you’ve opened your gift.” Lisa held the pendant in her hand. “Do you like it?”
“It’s… It’s really nice… This must have cost you a fortune.”
“I got it custom made. You deserved something nice. Actually, I’m surprised you’re even wearing it,” David awkwardly chuckled.
“Well, I’m glad you like it. At least I got that one right!” David stood to his feet and held out his hand. “Come on. It’s almost Christmas. What do you say we actually enjoy it?” Lisa grabbed onto her father’s hand and pulled herself up.
“I… I was…”
“You were what?”
“I was also hoping to find out what was up with her name.”
“What do you mean?”
“Her maiden name. It’s Vaux isn’t it?”
“Any time I try to use it, the system kicks it back. I have a hard time with bank accounts and with trying to order a new birth certificate.”
“’New birth certificate?’”
“I don’t have mine.”
“Oh… Well, finding Sandrine won’t fix that, Hunny. Let me see what I can do about that, okay?” David hugged his daughter, and at first, she tried to resist it but eventually fell into his embrace.
“You… You think it’s still here?”
“My birth certificate! Maybe it’s still here.” Lisa pulled out of his arms. “Maybe in one of the file boxes?” She turned back around and quickly made her way to her bedroom with David following close behind her. She slid open the accordion doors to her closet and dropped to her knees. Way in the back was a grey file box. She slid it close to her and pulled it out of the closet. “I’m pretty sure if it’s anywhere, it’s in here.”
“Let me see that.” David grabbed the box from her.
“I can look.”
“I’ll help. Why don’t you check that one?” He pointed to the black file box that was sitting behind the grey one.
“But I’m pretty sure it’s in that one.”
“Yeah, and if it is, I’ll find it. Look in that one. I’ll bring this to the kitchen so I can look through it.”
“Okay…?” David quickly carried the box into the kitchen and sat it on the table. He unlocked it and opened the lid. Inside were many different papers, folders, and envelopes. He reached down for a blue folder and pulled it out. Inside the folder were more documents, but in the front of them was a business envelope with Lisa’s name written on it. He opened it and pulled the contents from it. Once he confirmed that it was indeed Lisa’s birth certificate, he placed it back into the envelope.
“I’m pretty sure it’s in like, a blue or green folder,” Lisa called from her room.
“I’m looking,” David yelled back. He took the envelope into the living room with him. On the back of the couch there were a few staples that held the pleather material to the frame missing, exposing the interior of the couch. David slid the envelope into the hole of the couch and pushed it as far back as he could. Then he pushed the pleather closed as best he could and made his way back to the kitchen. Just as David stepped into the kitchen, Lisa rounded the corner, startling David.
“No. I don’t see anything. What do you need your birth certificate for anyway?”
“You know, just to have it. I might need it in the future.”
“Well I’ll keep looking for it. In the meantime, if you end up needing it for any reason, just give me a call. I’ll work things out.”
“Fine... You sure it’s not in here?”
“You can look if you want, but I didn’t see it.” She began going through the box, pulling out the blue folder. She opened it and sorted through the documents but did not find what she was looking for. “Sorry, Hunny.”
“Hey. How ‘bout we go to the skating rink later this afternoon? You can make fun of me when I slip on the ice,” he said to try and entice her.
“I haven’t gone ice skating in years,” Lisa chuckled.
“Great! Then I can make fun of you when you slip on the ice!”
“Lisa… I love you so much. Please, never forget that. Your dad is an idiot… a lot of the time, but I really do love you. I’m proud of you… I’m proud you’re my daughter.” Lisa just stared at him with a conflicted look on her face. “I brag about you, you know? Remember when you won first prize at the science fair for your nuked bean seeds?”
“’The effects of microwaves on the growth of Phaseolus Iunatus?’ That was in the third grade.”
“And you were so proud of yourself for it. You were like a little mad scientist.”
“Not sure if that’s a compliment.” Lisa chuckled again.
“I love you sweetie.” Lisa said nothing. “You don’t have to say it back or even respect me… I know I have to earn that back. But I promise you, I will. I’m not gonna give up on you… I never really did…” Lisa wrapped her fingers around the pendant on her necklace. “I’m glad you’re wearing it,” he pointed out. He pulled Lisa once again into a hug, wrapping his arms around her and resting his hand on the back of her head. He laid his cheek on top of her head and began to whisper in her ear.
“Pray do not pick the daffodils Their life has just begun, Oh let them live as nature meant, Stood dancing ‘neath the sun
Nor pluck the roses from their stems For they will wilt and die Oh leave them ling’ring in the earth To grow wherein they lie
Each leaf, each bloom, each blade of grass Belongs to mother earth Pray do not take them from the soil Do not destroy their birth.”
Lisa finally wrapped her arms around her father and held him tight. “Promise me you won’t go find her,” David pleaded. “Please?” Lisa nodded into his shoulder. “Thank you,” he whispered. “Thank you…”
((Poem written by Valerie dohren))