(Continued from last issue)
David and Diane have been married for years; then there is Julie, the young secretary whose axis collides with the couple’s in ways none of them saw coming.
Dinner started without much ado; glad to have their father back, the girls were chattering away, filling him in on their weekend, while in preparation for her departure the following day, my mother was updating me on a checklist of instructions she had given the maid, peppered with advice on how I should manage her.
On any other given day, I would probably have reminded her that it was my home and therefore my business how I managed it, but this evening, anything that kept me from having to act normal and civil with David was a welcome distraction, so I let it slide.
And then just as I was beginning to think I actually might make it through the entire meal without having to deal with David, he went and ruined it. It started with Daniel innocently interrupting the girls chatter by asking David about his weekend.
“What things did you do at the retreat, Daddy?”
The mere fact that Daniel had even addressed David was a surprise as he normally went out of his way to avoid any direct contact with his father, but rather than take advantage of the opportunity to further engage with his son, probably because he was feeling cornered and guilty by the question, David snapped at him.
“Don’t you know that it’s rude to interrupt someone when they are speaking? Your sisters were telling me about the different things they did this weekend, but you no doubt spent the whole weekend playing on your tab! Did you even open a book this weekend? You might be on holiday, but that doesn’t mean you forget about your studies and don’t revise!”
“Yes Daddy,” Daniel murmured, dropped his head, and appeared to shrink into his seat.
“How do you know he spent all weekend on his tab when you weren’t here?” I leapt to Daniel’s defense, furious that David had barked at him, when all he was trying to do was engage in a conversation with him.
“Didn’t he? I don’t hear him denying it,” he pointed out challengingly.
I was about to respond, when I suddenly noticed the uncomfortable silence that had fallen over the table, and biting my tongue, I mentally kicked myself for letting David get to me enough to drop the act that I had pulled off so perfectly until then.
“May I please be excused,” Daniel’s meek whisper broke the silence.
Diane and I had always had differences in our parenting styles, especially when it came to Daniel, but for her to throw a fit and contradict me in front of him, especially over something as basic as studying, was taking it a step too far; so, when she excused him from the table in the middle of dinner, and then proceeded to stalk off to our room, I followed her.
“What was that about?” I demanded, shutting the door behind me.
“You tell me! Our son makes an effort to reach out to you and have a conversation, and not only do you shut him up, but you literally bite his head off as well!”
“I told him not to interrupt someone while they were speaking, which is common good manners, and reminded him that he needs to study, which is just basic sense, and you threw a tantrum over it!”
“How do you know he doesn’t study? If you spent more time with him, maybe you would know that he does, but now that you’ve gotten yourself a new son, Daniel gets kicked to the curb!”
“Don’t be ridiculous; this has nothing to do with Junior; this is about you as usual over coddling and protecting Daniel, even when there’s no need for it! You complain that I’m not bonding with the boy, but every time I try to parent him, you jump right in the middle of it!” I shot back.
“Your idea of ‘parenting’ him is breaking him and putting him down; so, of course I’m going to intervene.”
“I’m trying to raise a man who will one day be able to stand on his own two feet and let go of his mother’s apron strings; if you have a problem with that, then go ahead and mess him up with your coddling, just don’t contradict me again in front of him, or you’re going to teach him to disrespect me, and then we’ll really have a problem,” I answered warningly.
“Whatever,” she sneered, then marched past me and out of the room, slamming our door behind her.
Seconds later, I heard her knock on Daniel’s door.
It is crazy how just one phone call can turn your entire world upside down; for most of the day since David had dropped me back at the apartment that morning, I had thought of little else but him and our relationship, and now after just one phone call that hadn’t even lasted a minute, my mind was filled with thoughts of Kenneth.
Why had he called? He is the one who had ended our relationship, not me; so, why was he calling me now? What did he want? Had he missed me and realized that it was better to have part of me, than none of me at all? Did he want me back? And if so, what did I want?
There was no denying the fact that I had had very strong feelings for Kenneth, and that it had hurt deeply when he ended our relationship. He had always treated me with love and respect, and furthermore, as an equal in a way David never could, and he would always own a part of my heart.
However, once he ended the relationship, I had worked hard to bury the feelings I had for him, and while it hadn’t been easy, I had eventually succeeded, and I hated him for re-awakening those feelings, moreover, with just one call.
To top it off, coming on the heels of my weekend away with David, his timing couldn’t have been worse. Although I was yet to see if David would keep his word and become a regular part of Junior and my lives, the mere fact that he had promised to do so was a giant step forward in our relationship, and not something that I wanted to jeopardize with thoughts of Kenneth.
My future was with David, and while Kenneth might have been a very special part of my life, he was a part of my past, and that’s where he needed to stay – in the past.