Chapter no 74

If He Had Been with Me

If you want me to, I can clear my schedule and go down with you and your mother when you move into the dorms,” Dad says. We’re sitting outside at the downtown restaurant he chose. He has a new red car that reminds me of Finny’s, but his doesn’t even have a backseat. “It’s an important day,” he continues, “and if you want me to be there, I will be.”

“So if I don’t want you to come, you won’t?” I ask.

“If you want me to, I will, that’s all I’m saying.” Our appetizer comes and my dad ignores the waitress as she lays the plates down. He doesn’t even look up.

“Thanks,” I say to her. She ignores me too and walks away from us.

“You don’t have to make a decision right now, but the closer we get to the date the harder it will be.” He dips his toasted ravioli in marinara sauce. “Not that I won’t do it anyway.” He takes a bite and chews.

“If it’s what I want,” I say. He nods. “And only if it’s what I want. If you wanted to come and I didn’t want you to, you wouldn’t come anyway.”

Dad wipes his hands on his napkin and sighs. “Honey, if you don’t want me there—”

“What if I don’t want Mom there? Can I just tell her not to come and then she won’t?”

“Now, honey, your mom has to come. That is not optional.” “Why? Why are you optional and she’s not?”

“You’re saying that you want to move into the dorms without either of your parents there?” Dad says.

“No,” I say, “that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that—never mind.”

We look back down at our food. It’s too hot out to be perfect weather.

“Your mother told me about Jamie,” he says after a while. The name startles me.

“Oh, yeah,” I say. “It’s not that big of a deal.” “Is that why you’re upset?”

“What? I’m not upset.” “You’re not upset?”

“No,” I say. “I’m fine.”


When I get home, I don’t call Finny. I want to, but I don’t. At my desk, I write a couple of sentences, delete them, and close my laptop. I try to nap but I’m not tired. I close my eyes anyway. The sun bleeds through and all I can see is red. I’ll wait for Finny to call me first. The afternoon passes.

You'll Also Like