Part 838 – Elsie Talks To Dad

As her mother drove to the cemetery, Elsie looked out the window. Her thoughts and feelings were an indecipherable, tangled up mess.

Love.

Anger.

Regret.

Wanting her father to be right.

Knowing that he was wrong.

Wanting her mother to be happy.

Wanting her father to be there.

Wanting her mother to let go.

Wanting her mother to still hold on.

Clarice patted Elsie’s leg.

Elsie looked at her mother. “How did you find this guy?”

“Well! I’m glad you asked. I was sitting at a table at Gendarme and I was doing my usual thing while waiting for my food: people watching. It was the usual crowd of families and lovers and babysitters. Then, I saw this one man. He walked in by himself. I wouldn’t have noticed him, if it weren’t for the sympathetic energy he was giving off. When I say sympathetic, I mean it both ways. He is capable of great sympathy for others and the poor dear man needs sympathy.”

“I was intrigued by him. It isn’t too often a girl sees a guy like that. Then, he stopped over at this booth straight across from me. Which was awesome of him. It gave me a chance to spy on him easy without being overly obvious. Lucky me!”

Elsie subconsciously waited for Hildreth to say something. She felt disappointed in his absence and his silence.

“There was a lovey-dovey couple already in the booth. She was pretty. Oh, she was pretty. You should have seen her. Honey-blonde hair. Nice figure – not fat, not rail thin. She looked like she’d be nice to hug. My guy looked at her and the air around him sparkled. I swear, Elsie, it sparkled.”

“As for the girl’s companion—” Clarice let go of the steering wheel to make a fanning gesture with her hands. “Oh mah gosh! He was a super deluxe hot guy. I saw him and I was like ‘Whaaaaat?’ and ‘Woo!’ and my heart went Pooooom! and Ka-boooom! I have never seen someone that good looking in public before.”

Elsie smiled. “He must have been pretty all that.”

“Oh, honey. You have no idea. You would have been drooling fountains. Absolute fountains. But back to my guy.” She guffawed. “Aren’t I nice and forward? Don’t even know him yet and I’m already calling him mine.”

Elsie shrugged.

“Anyway! I watched him interact with the happy couple and I could just feel the layers of ground disappearing beneath my feet. He has such a kind face and when he smiles. Ugh! When that man smiles, I want to just run over to him and make him smile more. There are ways that I could go about doing that. I could touch his—”

“No. Mom. Don’t even go there. I don’t want to know.”

Clarice laughed. “Party crasher.” She turned into the cemetery’s parking lot and pulled into a space. “Maybe it won’t amount to anything. Maybe we won’t hit it off. Maybe he’ll have an awful speaking voice and I’ll run away from him, yelling ‘SHUT UP!’ Or maybe not. Maybe we’ll have this wonderful movie moment where I stare at him and he stares at me and a swooping John Williams’ love theme swoops into action. And we’ll both say ‘Hi’ at the same time.”

She unbuckled her seatbelt. “It was like that when I met your father.”

Elsie unbuckled her seatbelt. She knew that she was supposed to say something, but she just couldn’t.

“Elsie.”

She shook her head and got out of the car.

I don’t want to talk about it.

Don’t want to talk about him.

Don’t want to think about him.

But she followed her mother over to his grave site.

Clarice knelt and ran her fingers over the engraved words.

Over his name.

His date of birth.

His date of death.

Elsie stood hard like the gravestone. She clenched and unclenched her hands.

Clarice bowed her head and whispered soft words. Maybe it was a prayer. Maybe she was just talking her heart to him.

Elsie was too lost in her own angry thoughts to know for sure what her mom was saying.

He’s there.

Right there.

Six feet under my feet.

The man I idolized.

The father I loved.

The one who threw me away and just left me.

He just left me.

I didn’t mean anything to him.

I thought I did.

I thought he loved me.

I was his daughter! He was supposed to love me!

A sob caught in her throat.

Clarice looked up at her. “I’ll be in the car.” She stood and patted her daughter’s arm. “You take as long as you need.”

She left before Elsie could say anything.

Elsie ached with the need to punch the stuffings out of something. Preferably her punching dummy, but really. Anyone or anything would have been a decent stand in.

“I’m getting married. Do you know that? Do you even care? I’m getting married and…and you won’t be there to walk me down the aisle. Big surprise. Of course, you’ll miss it. Of course, you will. You managed to miss every single big milestone in my adult life. Why wouldn’t you miss my wedding too?”

She rubbed away her tears.

“Why? Why weren’t you there for me? Why couldn’t you just pick up the phone and call me? Do you have any idea how much that would have meant to me? Just a phone call. I just wanted a phone call. I just wanted to hear your voice. I just wanted to know that I still mattered to you. That you still loved me. But you didn’t even call me. WHY?”

She sank down to her knees.

“Why?”

She doubled over.

“Why, dad?”

She cried.

And, even though she was hoping for it with all of her heart, his ghost did not appear.

She cried alone.

2 thoughts on “Part 838 – Elsie Talks To Dad”

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      When I wrote her whole “Why didn’t you call?” speech, it got me wondering about why she didn’t just go ahead and call him. And I actually came up with an explanation: She wanted him to be the one who called, to show that he still thought about her. And maybe she was a little bit afraid that he wouldn’t take her call. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

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