My father

12th July 2010

My dad is a strange creature.  He’s not a sociable type and doesn’t talk a lot, not even to me or my brother.  One thing that I’ve always found odd is the fact he never mentioned our mother, not once, he didn’t even tell us her name.  In fact, I don’t think he ever told us about anything before we came to Sea Cottage.  As I got older it should have started to ring alarm bells.  I suppose the reason why I never asked was simply because of habit, I knew mentioning my mother was something we never did and always kept to that rule.

I can remember how Dad looked, before the court case and the trial and the stress that went with it.  He wasn’t a bad looking man for his age, his silvered hair suited him and his skin was always tanned from the time he spent outdoors on the beach.  I remember his eyes always looking old and wise, like he knew everything.

 12th July 2009

I heard footsteps on the creaky floorboards above me and hurriedly tried to find somewhere to put out my cigarette.  ‘Put it out Evelyn or Dad’ll kill us,’ Rupert panicked as I couldn’t find somewhere to put it out.

‘What do you think I’m doing?’  I finally put it out on the stone doorstep I was sitting on and threw the dead stub out the door, blowing the last of the smoke out the same way as my father reached the bottom of the stairs.

He had just been out on the beach.  I could tell by his windswept hair and scruffy jeans and sweatshirt he always wore when he was out on the boat.

‘You making?’  The question was directed at Rupert and the kettle.  ‘Pour me one while you’re at it.’  He sat at our worn oak table and watched us as we continued what we had been doing.  I buried my head back into my book, hoping Dad wouldn’t smell the cigarettes, for some reason he hated them and wouldn’t allow them within ten feet of the house, which made being a smoker rather difficult.

‘Here you go Dad.’  Rupert placed a mug on the table by my father and took the seat opposite him, sipping his own tea.

‘I don’t know why you sit there like that,’ Dad observed.  ‘You’ll catch your death sitting there with the door open, it’s rather brisk out there.’

‘I’m alright Dad, honestly.  I like the fresh air.’  I prayed he wouldn’t come over to the door.  If he got too close to me he would be able to smell the cigarette smoke.  Unfortunately, luck wasn’t on my side.

‘Well if you want some fresh air then go outside for it, some of us have come in here to get warm.’  Before I could shut the door and stop him from standing too close to me, he was out of his chair and moving right at me.  For a moment after he shut the door I didn’t think he’d noticed the smell because he turned back towards the table.  I almost breathed a sigh of relief, but then he turned and looked at me.  ‘Have you been smoking?’

‘Of course not,’ I lied, ‘why would I do that when I know you hate it so much?’

‘Don’t lie to me Evelyn, I can smell the smoke, it’s all over you, it’s all around this room.’  His face twisted in a look of disgust as he looked at me.  ‘Why did you do it Evie?  Why go directly against my rules when you know I hate cigarettes?’

Now at this point I lost it a bit.  I’m not sure if it was because of the annoying nickname or the horrid feeling of being treated like a child or if it was just simply the wrong time of the month, but I just lost it.

‘For God’s sake Dad I’m nineteen!  Surely I’m old enough to make my own decisions and not be told off by you for doing something perfectly legal.  Everyone in town smokes, Rupert smokes, so why shouldn’t I?’

‘You smoke?’  Now Dad turned on Rupert, who shot daggers at me when I mentioned his name.  ‘I can believe it of Evie, but not of you.’

‘What’s that supposed to mean?’  My hands went on my hips and I was ready for a confrontation.

‘Nothing.  It’s just, you’re more of a free spirit than Rupert-‘

‘And that’s a bad thing?’  I could see my father struggling to come back at me with an answer.

‘It can be when you make rash decisions and-‘

‘Because taking up smoking is such a rash decision.’  I could feel anger bubbling up inside me from somewhere and I couldn’t stop it from overflowing.  ‘I’m not a child anymore!  Can you please stop treating me like one.’

‘I will stop treating you like a child when you stop behaving like one and this temper tantrum doesn’t seem to be working in your favour at the moment.’  My father had regained his composure and was sitting back at the table, assuming the conversation was over and he had won.

‘So I’m behaving like a child?’

‘At the moment, yes you are behaving like a child.’

‘Fine.’  I stood up from my seat on the doorstep and pulled by black jacket from the hook on the wall.  ‘You want me to act like a child, then I will.’  I pulled on my jacket and opened the door, letting cold air back in again.

‘Don’t storm out Evelyn, it’s so childish.’  My father’s tone was completely unconcerned with me or anything else for that matter.

‘Good!’  I shouted the last word before making sure I slammed the door loudly behind me.

The End

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