Spoiler alert! This post contains information about my short story titled, Time. If you have not already read this story then click the link below before reading on.
I step into the garage and clear my throat.
Luke slides out from beneath his mustang. “Hi.” Wiping his hand, he extends it to me. “I’m surprised people care about this story.”
“My readers had many questions.”
He nods, offering me a stool and leaning against the fender of his car.
“I know this must be a difficult time, but I appreciate your speaking with me.”
He shrugs. “I hope my story can help someone.”
“How have you been dealing with your dad’s passing?”
“It’s been hard.” He sighs. “We’ve been going through his things.” Luke coughs. “I’ve been learning a lot. He went back to school six months ago. He was studying to be a counselor, I think. He loved to write letters.” His lip quivers and he shakes his head. “I wish he had sent them and that I would have wanted to read them.”
“One reader asked, ‘What did your father do to you to make you hate him?’”
“I didn’t hate him, anymore.” He sniffs. “I had given up feeling anything for him. I thought he was dangerous and wanted to keep him from Mary. When I was growing up he was a bad man.”
“Anything my dad could get his hands on, pills, booze, or plants he took and didn’t stop until he couldn’t feel anything.”
I follow his gaze to an old picture of a woman.
“When I was a kid he was my hero. He was my younger brother, Tony’s, hero too. We gave him another chance no matter what he did.” Tears choke off his words and he turns his back to me. “One night when I was 17, and Tony was ten, dad had gone out drinking. I was at work, and Tony was worried about him because he had just had a wreck. Tony probably figured a sober kid was a safer driver than a drunken adult.” He points to a bent bicycle wheel hanging on the wall. “Dad was already on the way home and Tony met him going upstream on a one way street. He was hung over at Tony’s funeral, and slapped my mother because she wouldn’t stop crying. I thought for sure the accident would turn him around, and it did for a week. After that I was done.”
“Another reader asked if you’ve been able to forgive him since he was trying to become a better man.”
He shrugs. “The man that wrote that letter I forgive. But believing that man and the man I grew up are the same person I’m not able to do yet. I haven’t forgiven the man I grew up with.”
“A reader also wanted to know why you tried to punch the officer.”
Luke’s face reddens. “I wasn’t trying to punch him. He was just the closest thing that wasn’t Mary. I didn’t want what he said to be true.”
“If your dad was here right now, what would you do?”
He looks at his feet. “I’d hug him, like I used to. I wish my mom could have seen him get clean.”
“Knowing what you know now, would you have kept him in your life?”
“I keep asking myself that. His AA sponsor called me and said Dad told him I was the reason he got, and stayed, clean. I would do anything to know the man he became, but I think it’d be selfish to do something differently if it meant he might have died not knowing what being truly sober felt like.”
“Do you wish you had taken his call?”
“Yes. He wouldn’t have been hit by a drunk driver if I had.” He laughs. “I always said booze would take him out, but that wasn’t what I pictured.”
“Is this funny to you?”
He shakes his head. “I’m at the point where I laugh or cry. Mary has seen me cry enough.”
“Last question, if you could say one thing to your dad, what would it be?”
He turns his wedding ring. “Meet your grandson.”
Thank you so much for reading! Also, a BIG thank you to everyone who had a question for Luke. I hope you guys enjoyed the story. To check out Luke’s pin board on Pinterest, click here.