Ah, the last day of freedom. Today is my birthday. Today is the last day I get to be a lazy teenage boy. In the other room I could hear the noises of my father and his new fiancé. Seriously, don’t they ever take a break? I guess I should be happy for them, my dad’s home for once. He’s not puking in our only bathroom, and he’s not in the living room watching television while drinking a beer and smoking. Maybe Lonni is a good person to have in his life? Just maybe I can talk some sense into him with Lonni’s help.
I was the first out to the living room, followed shortly by Lonni, dressed in her normal wear and my father in his boxers and shirt. Lonni made some coffee for him before sitting down herself. I waited till he poured his “special mix” in before I started to speak. “So, I know tomorrow I have to get on that doomed bus of mine, but I was hoping, maybe, I could back out and just get a job here?”
My dad choked on the hot coffee before looking at me. I could see him drilling a hole in my head with his eyes. “You are going to get on that bus tomorrow. You are going to give me four years. You are going to do something good with your life.”
I looked over at Lonni, “Lon, tell him I don’t have to go?”
“Uh uh! I am not getting into the middle of this. This has always, and will always be between you two! I am Switzerland.” Great, she maybe a good influence on my father, but she won’t help me out of a jam.
“Look David. Today is your birthday, stop dwelling on the inevitable and have fun. Go out and fish at the lake, maybe hang out at the park and read. Just have fun and stop giving me a headache.”
“And what are your guy’s plans?”
“Work. I have to get somewhere on this homicide case. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back tonight for your birthday.” My dad got up and headed for the bathroom. He was right, I needed to have fun today. At least he wasn’t making me go to school.
I did go fishing, but not at the lake. No, I went to my special spot, by the ravine off the road. This was the spot where my mother’s car was found, this was the spot that I came to visit her. I hadn’t been here for a while, but I thought since today was going to be my last day in Bridgeport that I go say my final goodbye to my mother. “Well, mom I’m off after today.” I said aloud. “I hope you know that I love you, and that I will always miss you. Someday, maybe, I’ll be back.”
Just then I caught a nice fish and smiled. I knew it had to be my mother giving me one last gift before I was a man.
My father spent the entire day working. He had cases piling up and I just knew that this one homicide was driving him up the wall. There had been a murder down in the ritzy spot of Bridgeport. A high profile actress had been gun downed in her own apartment, and my dad had no leads, no suspects, and no evidence except for the bullet that was lodged in her head. I have never seen him so busy. He was going everywhere asking everyone, hoping he would find just one witness. He spent his nights and days on the computer with his reports off to one side and the beers on the other.
When I returned home, I wasn’t surprise to see dad was missing. “He still out?” I asked Lonni.
“Yea, he called. Said he’d be a bit late. You wanna play some darts while we wait?” And so we did. At least I had a chance of beating someone in this house. “Did you have fun today?”
“Yea I went fishing, caught a few fish. You?”
“Your dad left soon after you did. I’ve been here all day cleaning and baking a cake. I hope you don’t mind?”
“Lonni, you didn’t have to do that.” I couldn’t believe she made me a birthday cake. The last time either dad or I had a birthday cake was when I was just a toddler, and even then it was burnt to a crisp.
“It’s your eighteenth birthday, I thought it would do some good before you had to leave.”
Dad finally returned home and headed straight for the fridge to get a beer. “Sorry, I know, I’m totally late. But great news, I found a witness!” He exclaimed. My dad popped the top of the beer and chugged. “It’s great, they gave us a solid description of the shooter. My man Robby is on it with the sketch artist.”
“That’s great news dear.” Lonni cheered for him. He raised the glass to her and me.
“So,” He said as he wondered over to Lonni, “who’s winning?”
“I am.” I told him as I fired my last arrow.
“Not for long. My turn.” Crap. I was actually hoping to play one game without having to lose.
My father gave a small peck on the cheek to Lonni before taking the darts from me. “So, I went and saw mom today.” I said. My dad didn’t hesitate as he threw the dart.
“Yea, and how was the fish? Anything bite?” My dad always knew what I meant when I said I’d seen mom. He and I use to both fish at that spot when I was a small child. He stopped going there soon after he met Lonni.
“Nah, just a couple of gold fish and a minnow. The only big catch of the day was a nice catfish, but I tossed it back.”
My father finished his three darts and was up on me by twelve points. We finished the game in about two rounds and my stomach gurgled. I was ready for cake, and so was my dad.
Both dad and Lonni celebrated with me and sang “Happy Birthday.” My dad cheered more than I wished he would. I just know he was excited for me to leave the house. I stood there for a while and tried to think of the best possible wish. I knew what I wanted in life, a perfect house, a perfect garden, a perfect wife, and the perfect children. I wanted the life that my father and mother once dreamed of. I also wanted to not have to get on that bus tomorrow. So, I wished for everything, and I only hoped that most if not all that wish would come true.
I was now an adult, well a very young adult. I know I didn’t change much, but hey I was no longer having to worry about school. I just had to worry about the bus for tomorrow. Oh God, tomorrow! I really don’t want to go. I know that my father wants me to for my own good, but why couldn’t I choose my own way in life? Well, at least I still have tonight.