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Chapter 3

  • I head toward the fireplace and go through the photos on display. Pictures of Dad and Heather, Mom. Pictures of me, at various stages in my life. Heather, always right there with me. Pictures of my grandparents. None of Josh. I go through draws and cupboards. In the living room and my bedroom, I am tempted to go through Heather's room but decide against it.
  • Dad's room. At the end of the long hallway, I come to what must be my father's bedroom. As I open the door, I'm taken aback by how it looks exactly like Mom's room. The bedspread and the colour of the paint on the walls. Everything looks the same. It's hard to believe that mom is not here in this room, that she no longer lives here, terrorizing me at every corner. I walk toward the bedside draw first but only find a wedding band. Mom's wedding band. I look everywhere in the room, including the closet and find nothing.
  • My head, suddenly, swirls and spins and I feel myself falling. Grabbing onto the edge of the bed, clutching my chest as I feel everything inside squeeze, I drop to my knees on the plush carpet. Struggling to catch my breath. After my breakdown is over, I head to my room and fall onto my bed. A minute later, there's a light knock on my door and it opens without me answering.
  • "Hey honey," Dad says, "Dad, I told Heather it wasn't necessary to call you." "Yes, but she was a bit worried. I wasn't going to come but you didn't look well this morning when I saw you either, so I wanted to check in." I smiled. Dad hasn't changed at least. That is one thing I could always count on. Dad was always there, concerned and rooting for me, even at my worst moments.
  • "Would you like me to call Doctor Azazel? Maybe you're coming down with something?" I gasp. My heart is pounding and my ears feel like they're ringing. How much more of this can I take? I thought I was rid of him. "Doctor Azazel?" I ask, making sure I've heard correctly. "As in Blaze Azazel?" "Well of course. You know he's been a family friend for years Ky. I could call him; he could come to check you out. Make sure you don't have some sort of bug that could be passed to your sister and me. Want me to give him a call?" Dad scrutinizes me again, narrowing his eyes slightly. "No, Dad please?!" I almost shout, taking Dad by surprise and he frowns.
  • I try to think of a plausible reason for my outburst. “I- I think I'm still just freaked out by my nightmare. I really will be fine if you just let me rest. I’ll take a nap for a while and see how I feel after I've woken. Maybe... Maybe we can see Dr-Uhm... Dr Azazel, if I'm not feeling better then?” I bargain with him, praying that it works and I never have to see that horrible guy ever again.
  • "Well...that must have been some nightmare" Dad starts, looking unsure of whether he should believe me or not. "But, Ok." He says and I release an audible breath of relief. "What was this nightmare about that had you so freaked out, if I may ask?" Dad asks, he gets up to leave but pauses at the door to wait for my answer. I wonder what I can tell him and what I can't. Should I confide in him? Then I remember what Heather told me, about it still being difficult to deal with Mom's death and decide to go with that. "I dreamt of Mom. She was here and then, she wasn't." It isn't all a lie. I tell myself.
  • This response must be acceptable to Dad because he nods at me slowly and tears well in his eyes. He smiles at me gently and then without a word, closes the door behind him. Mom's dealing with Dad's death was much easier than Dad's dealing with moms. Most likely because she had been cheating on him for many years of their marriage.
  • She thought I didn't know, but I figured it out. One day I was walking home from school, on my usual route past the coffee shop. There she was, with her boss. Hands clasped together as they stared into each other’s eyes. She didn't even notice me standing right outside the window. I tapped the glass and the blood drained from her face when she finally spotted me. She dropped his hands and came outside to plead with me to not say anything to my father. That it would cause him so much heartache. I asked her why she wouldn't just stop seeing the man. She promised she would. She said things between adults were complicated and I wouldn't understand because I was only a child.
  • There were tears in her eyes and it made me believe that she was genuinely sorry. I didn't want to cause Dad unnecessary heartache if she was going to break it off anyway so I promised her that I wouldn't tell Dad. For a long time, it seemed as if things were getting better. My mother smiled more often. My dad seemed jollier as well. Both were unusually much nicer to each other and to me. Although, thinking back to it now, I should have been more suspicious about how nice they were being. It was my very first hard life lesson. People are not as nice as they seem and If they are, they are hiding something. There is no such thing as nice people. Even my Dad, whom I love more than anything, is not always that nice. I've learned to accept that he's better than most.
  • Around a year and a half later, Ashley and I had just had a fight so I didn't want to walk home with her after a night out. It was dark and scary but I knew a different route home that didn't require walking past Ashley's house. There was a shady motel on the corner down the street. I noticed the car first. Nobody was in it and I remember thinking that there were plenty of people with a car like that. I was going to dismiss it when the door closest to the car opened up, and there she was. My mother. On the arm of her boss.
  • The next day I confronted her. The niceties were over because the first thing she said was "If you tell your father, it will hurt him that you'd kept it from him for this long." She didn't even care this time that she'd been caught. She was right of course, it would hurt my Dad to know that I'd kept this from him. I couldn't tell him now. She knew she won. I hated her. I hated her for putting me in this position in the first place. All the while, she was prancing around as if nothing happened.