3.28.2013 Journal Prompt

John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, 1968 by Garry Winogrand
John F Kennedy International Airport, New York, 1968 by Garry Winogrand

March 28, 2013: When my dad called…

3 thoughts on “3.28.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    When my dad called, I knowed something was wrong in the world. He never called before and never wrote neither. He visited once, but that was cos he wanted money for beer and was down on his luck. My mammie gave him short shrift then, which is to say she swore at him and shut the door agin him and she done called the police. They took him away for the night and he did not come back, not never.

    So when he called, and it was the middle of the day, I knowed something was up.

    ‘It’s me,’ he said, and I was just supposed to know, like he called regular and he was just wanting to chew the fat. ‘Course I knowed it was him straight away, I did. Something in the slur and drawl of his way of talking and I knowed at once.

    ‘Dad?’ I said.

    ‘Are you bys yourself, honey?’ he said.

    Well I wasn’t really, but I didn’t see that was any of his goddam beeswax. Truth is I was in bed with the man from next door. His name’s Archie and he came over to borrow some milk and we got to talking over a beer and a cigarette, and one thing led to another and we was in bed and I was a little breathless, if you knows what I mean.

    ‘Sure I’m by myself. Bob’s at work and the kids is at school,’ I told him.

    Bob’s my better half. I says that and I means it. Hearing my dad on the phone and I suddenly was feeling shit dirty and mean and I pushed Archie to be dressed and gone and he said all hiss-whisper, ‘What’s the fucking hurry?’ and I pointed to the phone and scowled and nodded my head towards the door.

    ‘Only I got something to tell you, see… and I wants you to be ready… and sitting down… and ready, you know.’

    I thought he was going to say he was down at the police station again and I was to come get him and there was a hundred dollar bail to pay, or he was at the hospital and he’d been hit by a car and he’d no place to stay and the doctors wouldn’t release him ‘less someone came to collect him.

    ‘It’s your mammie,’ he said.

    And that was it, I just knowed, and he didn’t need to say more, and he didn’t. I just sat on the floor of the bedroom with the curtains still drawn and the day growing old and a cold wetness between my legs, and I just cried and cried.

    1. Just gorgeous, Lindsay. Sorry I didn’t respond earlier. Been on the road some and just trying to get caught up again now. Thank you so much for this piece. I love the photograph, and that it sparked this for you, too. -Patty

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