A short story written as part of the Summer Prose Competition 2011 Challenges 3 and 4
“Sir, please let me take the day off tomorrow!” I begged my boss, fighting the urge to get on my knees and clap my hands together, “It’s my daughter’s wedding. Please!”
“I’m sorry Lisa, I’m shorthanded as it is and you’re my best employee.” The man replied, his John Lennon hair cut bouncing as he shook his head. I sighed and looked away, “I hope I can at least make it to the reception.” I thought to myself. I brushed strand of hair out of my face and walked out of his office. The building lights switched off for the night while I walked out to my car. I slammed the car door a little harder than necessary and rested my head on the steering wheel, tears gliding down my face…
… I stepped into the house from the garage and went straight to the phone. Annie was going to hate me for this.
“Hello?” said a groggy voice.
“Hey honey.” I started, suppressing a sigh, “I’m sorry to wake you. I’ve been begging my boss for weeks to let me have the next couple of days off, but he just won’t budge. I’m not going to be able to make it to your wedding.”
“It’s ok mom,” Annie’s voice was more awake now, making it easier to her the disappointment hidden within it. “Mom? I’ve been meaning to ask you, what happened to dad?”
My breath stopped cold, “Josh… your dad was a soldier...”
“I know that mom, but what happened to him? Why didn’t he come home?” she pleaded.
“I don’t know honey. I got a letter saying he’d been put on the wrong plane and he was going to drive home to avoid any more airline confusion. I waited, and waited, and waited, but he never showed up, no letter, no phone call, nothing.” Tears were streaming down my face again bringing back the pain I’d felt on each and every one of those sleepless nights. "Then one day while you were at a friend's house the police came to the door and said they'd found his rental car, broken down on the side of the road, but he was nowhere to be seen. I’m sorry I didn't tell you sweetie, I just hoped that someday he'd show up again, but he never did."
“I’m sorry mom; I didn’t mean to upset you. I just wanted to know so that I didn’t have to get married with the fear that one day my husband might not come home.” I couldn't see her, but something in her voice sounded a little more relieved now that she knew. "I need to go mom. I gotta get married tomorrow. I hope you can get to the reception, good night mom. I love you."
"Love you too," I replied. I put the phone on the hook and turned off the lights and went to bed myself, lightning flashing from the storm that was slowly rolling in…
… The next morning I crawled out of bed and made my way to the shower. I put on my uniform from yesterday while tearing through a poorly made omelet. Thunder rumbled outside making the lights flicker. I’d always hated storms and I jumped at every rumble, but when the phone rang unexpectedly I almost had a heart attack. I glanced at the clock to see if I had enough time for a call then picked up the phone.
“Hello?” I asked with a slight edge to my voice.
“Lisa?” came the reply, “Its mike, your boss. I’ve been thinking about it and I just don’t feel right keeping you from your daughter’s wedding.”
“But sir, who’s going to take my shift?” I inquired.
“I got my son up early today. He’s not happy about it but I’m going to give him a crash course on what he has to do so you can go see your daughter.” His voice went from happy to a serious tone in under a second, “But I hope to see you in on Monday.”
“I’ll be there sir; I’m going to go get ready. Thank you so much sir.” I hung up the phone before he could respond and raced to my room to get dressed.