“I was supposed to be at the restaurant by 7:45! Why did you let me sleep so long?”
“You were tired. You needed the rest.”
“But my phone was ringing!”
“Your phone. Not my business.”
“Ohhhhhh goooooooooddddddd!” I groaned while I slid on my stockings and scanned the room for my shoes. I was scheduled to meet the family for dinner to celebrate my husband’s promotion to associate pastor within my father’s church. We’d planned this evening several months in advance to ensure all our family and close friends could attend. I knew being late was not going to go over well – with anyone.
My phone rang, again. It was my father. “Shhhhhh!!!” I cautioned, putting a finger over my mouth.
“He…hello…oh, hi dad! I’m on my way… got hung up…”
“Amya, now you know how important this is to your husband. Why didn’t you prepare accordingly?”
“I know dad, I really didn’t mean to be late… I just lost track of time.” The truth wasn’t good enough. I figured it was better to be vague.
“What?” My father sounded unconvinced, “…lost track of time? We planned this dinner months ago, how could you allow yourself to lose track of time?” Good question.
“Dad. I need to get on the road if I’m going to make it before you all finish dinner. I’m jumping in the car now, I’ll be there as soon as I can, okay?”
I avoided my father’s inquiry as I waved goodbye to my masseuse, grabbed my keys, and bolted out the door. I made it in my car and onto the freeway in record time. My initial plan was to stop by the house to shower and change before heading to the restaurant; unfortunately, I didn’t have time for that now.
To make matters worse, I ran into a huge wreck and ended up sitting in traffic for about two hours. By the time I pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot, everyone was saying their good-byes. My mother scowled at me as I parked in an empty space next to my husband’s SUV, thankfully she didn’t move. My father, on the other hand, wasted no time coming to express his disappointment.
I apologized again, but he reminded me he wasn’t the offended party. We turned our attention to my husband, Derrick Michael – whom I affectionately called “Mike”. His face was pleasant as he spoke with my mother, but it soured whenever he glanced my way.
“Daaaad! I have a test in the morning and I haven’t finished studying! Can we please go?” I heard the voice of my youngest, Temiya. She was always so serious, even at the tender age of twelve. My father laughed at her impatience.
“I’ll let you go, so you can get on the road. I’m sure you and Derrick have a lot to discuss.” My father leaned in to kiss my cheek and said his good-byes to the girls.
As I watched him open my mother’s door and help her into their car, I thought about Darryl D. Height. If Ameya’s accusations were true, my father wasn’t my father at all. The fact that my mother insisted on keeping it from him led me to believe there was some truth to what Ameya said. Still, I wasn’t sure the truth was worth knowing if it meant my father would be hurt. I shook my head and blinked vigorously, a poor attempt to keep the tears at bay.
“Nice of you to join us, finally. I’m so glad you found the time.” Derrick Michael’s voice startled me. I turned to find him leaning against my driver’s side door; he spoke in a sarcastic tone and kept his back towards me.
“I’m so sorry, Mike. I really am…I –” I started with an apology hoping to smooth things over, but my youngest cut me off.
“Dad! I’m already going to be up all night!” Temiya called out impatiently. Her honor’s program was so intense she spent several hours a day studying and completing homework – even on weekends. She was freaking out because this dinner cut into her study time, which meant she’d be up most of the night playing catch up. Temiya was proactive and, like me, she hated playing catch up.
“I’ll talk to you when we get home.” Derrick said nonchalantly, “Hopefully you don’t fall asleep on the way.”
He got in the car and pulled off without looking back. I sat for a moment, unsure if I should go home. I wasn’t in the mood for a fight, and the only way to avoid one was to avoid Derrick. I considered going to my parent’s house, but I wasn’t in the mood to deal with my mom’s nagging and my father’s preaching. I called Carmen, but the phone rang until the voicemail picked up. I waited a few moments hoping she’d call back, but she didn’t.
I pulled out of the parking lot and into the intersection and was caught at the red light. I saw a young homeless couple snuggling beneath garbage bags on a bus stop bench. The girl smiled while the boy spoke, then he leaned in for a kiss; she obliged. I wondered what kind of hardship they’d endured to end up this way. Even more, I marveled at the idea that they remained committed and in love, despite their hardship.
“Shit!” I said, suddenly feeling guilty. Derrick was a huge pain in my ass – but I couldn’t deny he was a great husband and father. He was a stellar father and husband and he didn’t deserve to be treated this way. My father was right, I needed to apologize…even if I didn’t feel like it.
Continue to installment V