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Drama Fiction Sad

A distant thunder threatened to dump its impending rain and whipping winds on Montreal as I waited in the dark for the 17. While lightening excited me, standing with a metal pole to my left, and an old tree to my right, did not. I half expected to make my trip home flying with Mother Nature’s calling card lighting my ass on fire, but it never happened.

The bus arrived, screeching to a halt, to rescue me from the first fat drops plunging from the sky. I adjusted my mask and assessed how many passengers were on the bus. Three people were on board, sitting as far away from each other as possible. I hesitated before swiping my OPUS card, choosing a place to sit near the back exit, ignoring the snoring drunk who took up three seats.

Tired from a long day managing the pharmacy, I opened my tattered paperback of Stephen King’s IT and dived into a world of murderous clowns and seven lost losers. I was several pages in when the drunk belched himself awake. He swung his head up and stumbled to his feet. I was about to return to my book when our eyes connected. They were mirror images, except his were watery and bloodshot, while mine were the eyes of a sober person.

“Amanda?”

My stomach clenched. This was the last person I wanted to see. Just my luck, out of all the buses in the city, I had to land on the same one as him.

“Amanda? Is that you?” he asked again, pulling his mask down. “See. It’s me.”

His cracked lips broke out in a grin to reveal what my ex-boyfriend used to call meth-mouth—a mouth with cavities eating at whatever teeth remained. His blue jeans and ripped leather jacket hung loose on his lean frame. I couldn’t tell if his disheveled locks covered all of his head because of the grey fedora he was sporting.

My face flushed as I glanced over my shoulder to see if anyone I knew would witness the encounter. There weren’t, of course, but I couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.

“Good for you,” I muttered, returning my attention to the clown swallowing a little boy’s arm.

“Amanda! Is that anyway to speak to your father?”

I continued to read—or pretend to—while he shifted from one foot to another, shaking from head-to-toe. He’s looking for a fix or a drink. I watched him out of my peripherals, pretending to be bored, when all I wanted to do was hightail my ass out of there.

“I’d speak to my father however I want, if I had one.”

“Shit,” he said as he made his way to sit down beside me. “Honey, I don’t need this right now. I really need to talk with you.”

Repulsed, I jumped back in my seat, looking for another place to sit, as I shook my head, blocking his path with my arm.

“Covid. Keep your distance, please.”

“Ah, who cares about that. It’s all a conspiracy. Canada created it and sent it to China so they’d stop buying all of our property. You should know this, Amanda.”

I placed my foot on the seat next to me, blocking him from sitting.

“Then why do you have a mask?”

“I need the mask so I don’t get a ticket. The cops will ticket you for nothing these days. Can’t even stay out after eight. Bus driver wouldn’t even let me on without it. What kind of bull is that?”

“Nothing? It’s a pandemic. I remember when you used to be scared of people with AIDS for breathing the same air as you, but Covid doesn’t worry you?”

He sat down on the seat ahead of me.

“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Amanda. You’re lucky you’re my daughter, and I let you anywhere near me, talking to people like that. Don’t be naïve. You can catch AIDS by being in the same room as them, touching what they touch.”

“I think you’re a little out of touch. You can’t catch AIDS that way,” I said, rolling my eyes. What a moron. “They figured out over thirty years ago that it’s a sexually transmitted disease. It has nothing to do with the air, but Covid does, so put your mask back on before the bus driver kicks you off—or fines you. Think of it as a condom for your face. You should have no problem with that. Oh wait, yeah, you would.”

He shifted in his seat, glanced at the bus driver, before taking a flask out of his pocket, and swallowing a swig. He smacked his lips, placing his mask back on.

“Still drinking, I see.”

“This? No. No. It’s just water. I quit drinking.”

“You quit drinking?”

“Yes, I did. I’m doing that step thing.”

“Twelve-step Program?”

“Yes, Alcoholics Anonymous, or was it Narcotics…”

“You mean you’re not in both?”

He looked at me with steel eyes. I stared back with some steel of my own. My stomach turned. I looked away.

“Amanda, I’ve been wanting to talk to you for a while. Ever since you had your baby.”

“That baby is about to start high school.”

Silence.

“If you’re drinking water, why do you have it in a flask?”

He blinked several times, smiled, and then frowned before saying, “You don’t believe me.”

“Why should I?”

“Because I’m your dad and I would never lie to you.”

“There’s a load of B.S. if I ever heard any.”

He rubbed his face. I clenched my fists.

“You always were more difficult than your siblings.”

“What siblings? My five younger brothers and sisters who were all scattered across Montreal’s foster care system? The same five siblings I hardly got to know growing up? Or did you have more since then?”

He sucked his teeth and clicked his tongue.

“See. See. This is what I mean. How am I going to forgive you if you keep acting this way?”

“Forgive me?” I asked through clenched teeth. How dare he? “You’ve got to be joking. I want nothing from you, including your imaginary forgiveness.”

He hung his head low, his shoulders slumped, showing off an appearance of sorrow. His shoulders started shaking. He’s going to cry now? I can’t deal with this. I slid to the end of the double seats, ready to get off, even if it wasn’t my stop. He grabbed my arm.

“Wait, don’t go.”

“Don’t touch me,” I said, pulling my arm back. “Don’t you ever touch me.”

His eyes shifted as he let go, checking to see who was watching. I glared at him before heading for the exit. The other two passengers gave me a sympathetic glance while I ignored his crying and waited for the bus to stop. I exhaled the air trapped in my constricted lungs as the door opened.

I hopped off the bus, ready to wait for the next one despite the rain, relieved to be away from him. The bus inched its way back into traffic, but stopped a mere few feet away. He was arguing with the driver about something before the doors opened and out he came, hollering about his constitutional rights.

“Can you believe he wasn’t going to let me off? Told me to leave you alone. Can you imagine? Who the hell does he think he is. Lucky I didn’t kick his ass.”

Fear coiled around my spine. There was no one around. I was alone. Alone with him. Screw waiting for the bus, I need to find me a cab. The street was deserted, which wasn’t surprising because it was almost time for the province’s curfew, plus the storm, but I knew there would be taxis on Snowdon, five or six blocks down Decarie Boulevard.

“Amanda? Amanda? Did you hear me?”

I quickened my pace.

“Hello? I know those ears of yours work. I helped make them myself, and what a beautiful job I did, if I do say so myself.”

Disgusted, I cringed as he laughed at his own joke.

“No, you may not say so yourself.”

“What is your problem?”

I stopped dead in my tracks. Does he really not understand why I want nothing to do with him? He can’t be that stupid, can he? I shook my head and continued on my journey, keeping a keen eye open for any cabs or buses passing my way.

“Stop! I told you I need to tell you something.”

Why won’t he just leave me alone?

“I don’t have time for this. I’ve got somewhere to be.”

“Like I don’t. Like you’re the only one with precious time—I’m dying, Amanda.”

“Yeah, right.”

“It’s true. I got the diagnosis last month.”

“That’s why you’ve wanted to talk to me twelve years ago? Because you’ve got cancer now? You’re some psychic.”

I was almost on Snowdon. The cab lights were tiny dots, but still recognizable.

“I want us to be a family again. That’s why I’ve been trying to track you down all these years.”

“I’ve lived in the same place for over five years.”

“Nobody would tell me where you lived.”

“I wonder why.”

“Please, Amanda. Stop.”

I sighed, turned, and stared at him, hands on hips.

“What?”

“I want to meet my grandson. Just once before I die.”

His swollen eyes searched mine, looking for sympathy that he’d never find.

“No.”

“I don’t understand why?”

“What kind of a mother do you think I am? I’d never let you around my kid, or any kid for that matter.”

“I never hit you. I never hurt you. The only thing I ever did was love you.”

“A little too much, wouldn’t you say?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Frustrated, I paused, pondering on how to proceed.

“I tried forgiving you over the years—”

“And I’ve been trying to forgive you.”

“Forgive me?”

“Yes.”

“Forgive me?” My voice became shrill. How dare he?

“Yes.”

“I’m not sorry. I never did anything to you—but you—you hurt me worse than anyone ever has—and you’re supposed to be my father. No. You are nothing to me. Nothing to my kid.”

“How could you be so cruel? I never did anything to you.”

“You raped me, John. You raped me when I was nine. Listen, I don’t care if you are dying. I don’t care that you never got to meet your grandson. I don’t care that all of your children will be dancing on your grave, but you best believe, I’ll be leading the pack. You were supposed to be my protector—to make sure no one ever hurt me, but nobody has ever hurt me more. Now, leave me alone.”

With that said, I turned around and sprinted for the taxi stand, not waiting to see his reaction. I jumped in the first cab I saw and never looked back.

I wished he felt so guilt-riddled that he became overwhelmed with genuine remorse, but to be honest, I wouldn’t want to waste a perfectly good wish on him, except for hoping that he was telling the truth about his diagnosis. However, the only truth about him was that there never was any. Lies painted his very being. Without the lies, he would be a tree without the wood—he would cease to exist.

I smiled. Maybe the truth would set me free. Honesty was always the best policy, after all.













February 02, 2021 01:38

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10 comments

I am in love with your writing style Trina. :)

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03:12 Feb 19, 2021

Thank you so much Laila! The feeling is mutual. You have a strong voice that I love.

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Your welcome! Also, thank you so much!

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Cathryn V
00:09 Feb 18, 2021

Hi Trina, Thanks for writing this story. You brought me into Amanda's angst and anger. The father is totally a bad guy and Amanda is completely justified. It's a satisfying ending too. My one suggestion, if you want one (please disregard if you don't!) is to give each character another facet that gives them another personality trait. No one is all bad and no one is all good. Great story!

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01:11 Feb 19, 2021

You're absolutely right. Now that I look over it, I should have rounded them out a bit more. I'm still new to short story writing. Got some learning to do.

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Cathryn V
02:48 Feb 19, 2021

We never stop learning right? I’m always hoping for useful criticism. But there ARE writers on here who don’t want it.

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03:11 Feb 19, 2021

I love getting advice, except for once. Someone ripped into a story because I put a period instead of a question mark. It was a typo, but he ripped into it hard. I didn't think so much criticism was necessary. Mind you, our styles of writing are different.

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Cathryn V
03:37 Feb 19, 2021

Agree. Punctuation corrections are awfully minor. I blow those off🤪😉, I like submitting with enuf time left to edit content a/c to some helpful suggestions.

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03:53 Feb 19, 2021

That sounds like a great idea. I didn't realize you could do that. Thanks for the tip!

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