I just stood there for about a minute, staring at her blue door and listening to her footsteps–she seemed to be pacing non-stop, to and fro, to an fro–until I could muster the courage to knock.
The pacing stopped. I could swear I heard a deep sigh on the other side. Then the door slowly creaked open.
Hannah replied with a small nod, our eyes meeting for just a second before she quickly looked down. She ushered me into her room by swinging the door all the way in and gesturing, still with just a small nod of her head.
“Sit down, please.”
I finally heard her voice as she pointed to a chair beside her cluttered desk. I sat down obligingly while she sat on her bed, cleared her throat and then looked me straight in the eye. I couldn’t read her expression. Or maybe I just couldn’t acknowledge that it looked stone cold.
“Listen. I’m not into emotional confrontations and such, and I’m quite bad at small talk. So here’s the thing. You committed a grave sin against me and my mother when you abandoned her before I was even born. I understand you two have long buried the hatchet and have since been friends, and I’m earnestly happy for you.”
She paused for a second.She was so grown up! And so tough, even more than her mother.
I felt like a criminal in court, waiting to be read his sentence.
“I can’t say thank you, though, for whatever sprinklings of support you’ve handed mom over the years. Such tokens are inconsequential and don’t make you my father. This is probably…what? The first time I’ve seen you since high school? So anyway that role of dad has long been occupied by a man named Manny. I don’t have a place for you in my already-very-packed life. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate you. In fact I don’t feel a thing toward you.”
Had she rehearsed this? Goodness.
“Can I just say something?”
“Um sorry, yeah, sorry for blabbing.”
I stood up and took one short stride to get to her. I knelt down and reached for her hands, causing her eyes to grow wide. I thought she was going to jump out of the bed.
It was my turn to look at her straight.
“I…I came here because I know you deserve to hear directly from me, how much I regret having left your mother. Having abandoned you. You will probably never forgive me, but I had to come here and tell you, face to face, that I’m truly, very sorry for having caused you so much pain. Maybe someday, somehow I still don’t know, I’ll make it up to you.”
“No no, I–I’m okay. No pain. I’m fine.” Hey eyes started to well up, but a couple of blinks and the tears were gone. Did I just imagine them?
“Yes of course. Um, that’s really all that I came down here to say.”
I slowly stood up and let go of her hands, but my eyes stayed on her face. She didn’t look as collected as just a few moments ago.
“Thank you for seeing me.”
“Thank you, too, for coming.”
I started heading to the door.
She was rushing to her desk, rummaging through the mountain of paper that was in disarray on top of it. She pulled out a small pink envelope and handed it to me.
“Here. I know mom told you. You can come. I, uh, decided to walk down the aisle alone.”
“Thank you, Hannah.”
“I’ll go ahead now. And, um, if there’s anything I can do to help, let me know?”
“Uh, sure, sure, thanks. No problem. We’ve taken care of everything.”
“Ah. Okay. Bye for now.”
I stepped out of the room and she closed the door behind me.
Downstairs, I could hear Lisa setting the plates in the dining room. Manny heard me coming down and began folding his newspaper, standing up to meet me.
“Just in time! I think lunch is almost ready. Is Hannah on her way down now?”
“Um, Manny, I don’t think I can stay. I have to go now, but will get in touch with you guys soon, before the wedding.” I glanced at the door to the dining room. “Um, just tell Lisa I’m in a hurry. And that I said thanks.”
“Is everything all right, Ray?”
I was already on my way out.
“Yeah, sure. I just remembered something important. Gotta go, Manny, thanks again.”
I almost ran to the car. I had to leave that place as fast as I could.
Yet another snippet for my WIP. 🙂