The Truth From My Father

Submitted into Contest #100 in response to: Start or end your story with two characters sitting down for a meal.... view prompt

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Teens & Young Adult Contemporary Fiction

I can tell you with assurance the food in prison was revolting. As I sat down with my father I felt his pain as he tried to eat his food. With every mouthful a look of despair entered his face. I must say I did feel sorry for him even if he did put this on himself. No matter what though, you did you should still be able to have nice food.


What did my father do you ask? Stole from banks. Lots of banks in fact. So many that it landed him a 25 year sentence. My heart sank every time I thought of it. My own father. A criminal. He hid a lot of his criminal activities just like the way he hid the identity of my mother. I never known my mother. She was in the words of my father a woman who shirked at her responsibilities. A nobody. I used to believe him. Now I think a bit less. The bars in the cells has made his truth grow thin. I was beginning to fell nauseous as I spoke to my father across the table.


‘Father,’ I began to say. My throat almost closing over. The dryness of the steak was unbearable and it was almost like chewing leather.


‘Yes Freda,’ he replied. His voice was hoarse too. I’m not sure however it was to do with the food. It was probably from the tension that suddenly poured through the room.


‘Tell my about mom,’ I said. This is the first time I had asked this question. I was nervous and I began to tuck into my mashed potatoes. They tasted like glue.


My father looked at me in curious way. The emotions on his face showed me he was perplexed. Not angry though just surprised at this question. It had been almost 25 years that I have ever dared to talk about her in his presence. Now was the time, at the ripe age of 39 to ask him. I needed answers.


My father started to recline in his chair for comfort. He had ordered a cheeseburger and a side portion of chips. The bottom of his bread was soaking with an unhealthy amount of oil. He took another bite, cleared his throat and began.


‘Your mother was a force to be reckoned with and not in a good way. That I mean to say where crime is involved anyway. She had a way of making me burn with rage. Me being a criminal and her being a model citizen. A police officer.’


As he was talking I felt my soul leave my body. I knew I had to sit there and take what he was saying no matter if I liked it or not. I did not. My father had lied to me all this time. I nodded for him to continue. I was eating my mushy peas now. A weird type of mushy for all the wrong reasons. My father continued.


‘Yes it was your mother who tried to put good morals in you. Not to steal but to be grateful for everything you had. I on the other the complete opposite. My morals made your mom and I clash a bit. She thought she could change a world class theif. She knew of course but she acted as if she never did. Never asked me what I did at night. Never asked what was in my bags or why I felt the need to always wear a gun. She trusted me to change. Change to become a better person if you know what I mean?’


I nodded my head again. There were a few morsels of food left on my plate. Instead of wasting it I began to begrudgingly take the last bites. One good moral my father taught me at least. Don’t waste food. My father began again.


‘You are probably to young to remember how she looked after you. she loved you like you were the only person left on this earth. You gave her much joy you did. You were probably the only thing that kept us together when I come to think about it. You gave our relationship balance.’


I continued to nod to give my father the go ahead to continue. It was hard to hear all this truths. Once covered by so many lies. I wasn’t going to cave in though. I had to hear what he was saying. With my food finally finished I sat uprightly in my chair and began to listen. My father was eating more slowly than I was. He was on his side portion of chips. They looked pale green and slightly undercooked. He began to talk again.


‘You were probably to young to remember the accident…’


With that he sank a little lower into his seat. He face began to grow pale stricken from a sudden restriction of blood flow.


I myself also conflicted by this sentence. Stunned and perplexed. Unable to think yet too eager to find the truth out. ‘What accident?’ I said not truly believing myself that I wanted to know the answer. Nevertheless I sat and I waited.


Seconds began to tick away so slowly as my father began to tell the truth about my mother.


‘Well it was just like that, a shootout between a bunch of gangs in the area. Your mother and a few other cops were called out. Herself and a senior officer were caught in the gunfire.’


My father breathed in for a second before he could continue. He sipped his lukewarm water and began again.


‘I felt so lost at the time. With crime being my only form of income I couldn’t stop. There was a lot to think about. With your mother not being there I had to shield you from my life. I was to teach you right just like your mother. Your were never to know I was a thief. I promised that at her funeral to myself. Well… until now at least.’


‘Yeah,’ I said without hesitation. I never did know my father to be a theif when I was growing up. Quite the opposite. A hero. Maybe once in a while I had suspicions but I could never link anything together. My father was good at hiding things. Perhaps that’s why he turned out to be such a good criminal. In his lifetime a total of 245 robberies.


However none of what he told cleared up any reasoning to shaming my mother‘s name. So I asked him point blank, ‘Why did you lie about my mother and say she was a nothing but a low life and irresponsible woman?’


My father chewed his last chip before he said anything.


‘After your mother died I was to collect all her things from her office. There was a picture of you when you were just a baby and there was our wedding picture. She loved unusual mugs, small trinkets and stuff of that nature. However the case files… most of them ...were about me.’


I choked on my tea. ‘Was she spying on you?’ I said this hastily, eager for my father to continue.


‘Yes she was, from the start of our marriage. She had evidence for almost a quarter of my robberies but not quite enough to convict me on a single one. I was furious beyond belief. I never felt so betrayed. I knew I was marrying a cop. It never crossed my mind though how my wife could betray me. Cop or not.’


‘What did you do?’ My tea was still bland even though I had placed 2 sugars in it. I added an extra 3 spoons.


‘Well I ended burning the case files as well as everything she had. The trinkets, the cups and our wedding picture. I was so mad so angry. I wanted someone to be angry with you so I told you your mother was no good. I see that I shouldn’t have done that. I’m sorry.’


I was just sitting there. Knees trembling under the table. Angry and dismayed at the same time. We both sat silent for a little while.


‘Oh I almost forgot, I been keeping this for so long but I believe you should have it now.’ I want you to know Freda even with all I knew I still loved your mother.


My father slowly reached for his pocket and pulled out a picture. It was of me and my mom. She seemed so angel like. We held so many identical features. The long brown hair. The glowing blue eyes. The small petite frame. I stared at it for what seemed like hours.


‘So what are you gonna do now?’ My father asked knowing I knew exactly what he meant. What was I to do with what he said? Should I forgive or hold this against him forever? I stopped to think. Then I looked down at the picture. Today I had come for closure. I got more than I bargained for. But I wasn’t going to let this burden me. I needed to close this chapter of my life. It was time to live now I knew the truth.


‘It’s okay father,’ I replied. With that I felt my father breath the biggest sigh of relief. He was relieved that this dark secret had been put to rest. At long last.


I still had one more question though. In timid fear I asked, ‘your not mad that I became a cop are you?’


With that he chuckled a bit and a few tears sprang to his eyes as he said, ‘ No Freda I’m not mad. You’re just like your mother.










July 01, 2021 15:00

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2 comments

Mellanie Crouell
09:34 Jul 06, 2021

Beautiful! I could see this story being a television series.

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Shevach Obahor
12:12 Jul 06, 2021

Thank you for your feedback Melanie Crouell :)

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