Best Friends Ch. 01

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Chapter One

We pulled into my dad’s neighbourhood around six p.m. It was winter time, so it was miserably dark, cold, and particularly unwise to drive on the roads. It was my dad’s birthday, however – December 17th – and I promised I would come to his house, snow or shine.

I must have been wearing a sour expression, for my mom said: “Come on, honey. How bad can this be?”

“You divorced him,” I said. “How bad could the marriage have been?”

“Touché,” she replied with a chuckle. “But you only have to see him once ever so often. And it’s his birthday. I’d certainly be crushed if you didn’t come to my birthday.”

“But you shower once a day and believe beer isn’t a staple drink,” I said sarcastically. Part of me felt bad for being snarky to my mother, but I would have preferred going to the salt mines than going over to my dad’s.

My dad was your typical lower-middle class slob. He worked as a pipe fitter for some local construction company, and when he wasn’t working he was drinking beer and watching sports on television. I honestly wouldn’t be so opposed to him if it weren’t for his stupid attitude. He usually pretends not to know things or feigns forgetfulness sometimes, but I know he knows. Like, generally, kocaeli escort when I go over to his duplex once a month for my obligatory visits, he would ask me how school was goin’, to which I’d respond it was going well, to which, unfailingly, he would add: “What was it you were takin’ again?” He pretends not to know so we have something to talk about.

I do love him. It’s just harder to do so sometimes when he acts so much like a narrow-minded dumbass that I want to throttle his neck or swap the beer out of his hand. But the last time I talked to him he sounded so tragically crestfallen that I didn’t plan on coming over to his house for his birthday, so I promised his lost puppy-dog voice that I would.

“It’s only for the night,” my mom said, running her hands over the sides of the steering wheel as if she were rubbing by arms to comfort me. “If things get too unbearable, I will come get you. I just won’t be impressed by it.”

“I’ll try,” I said. I kind of sounded like a stuck-up ungrateful brat, and I felt bad about it, but trying to be more respectful towards my dad was like asking me to qualify for the Olympics next month. I couldn’t see him in a positive light, so I certainly couldn’t be positive myself.

We darıca escort turned the last corner and mom pulled the car over to the curb. “Here we are,” she said with finality. I sighed.

“Remember, just call me—”

“Okay,” I cut her off. I grabbed my overnight bag from under my seat and opened the door of the car. “You’ll come get me tomorrow morning?”

“On the hour.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

“Take care, honey.”

I stepped out and shut the door behind me. As I swung the bag over my shoulder, I looked at Dad’s house with narrowed eyes. The lights were on in the living room, but all seemed dead quiet inside. Typical of him to be alone on his birthday. But I suddenly felt a stab of guilt pierce me as I realized again that my dad was just a lonely old man looking for someone to accept him. I sighed to myself a second time before I marched up the sidewalk to the front door.

Just as I tried the door handle, Mom drove away. It was locked, so I knocked on the door impatiently. I didn’t hear any movement inside.

“Shit,” I muttered, digging into my overnight bag for his house keys. I didn’t have these until recently, when Mom made the argument that I’d get locked gölcük escort out of the house one night while he’s gone somewhere, to which an explosive argument ensued until I affirmed that I wanted my own set of keys. My mom had to nag him to death, but I eventually got the keys and access to his pitiful little home.

It took me the better part of a minute to dig them out. I finally fished them out of my bag, and just before I stuck the key in the deadbolt, the door opened for me.

A string of curse words flared in my mind – good for nothing, lazy, dick-head, ass – until I saw a stranger standing behind the door.

My immediate conclusion was that I’d somehow climbed the steps to the wrong house. “Oh, sorry—” I started, stepping back to glance at the address.

“Hi, uh… Sarah?” he said.

I glanced back at him out of surprise that he knew my name. He was tall, maybe around six foot, and his head was shaved, save for a thin layer of black stubble across his scalp. He was wearing a plain wool sweater, simple blue jeans, and a large novelty belt buckle that read: “TEXAS WHISKEY”. His skin was the colour of butterscotch, and his eyes were a deep shade of chocolate.

I hesitated for several seconds before I could muster any sort of reply. “Um… yeah.”

“I’m Doug, your dad’s friend,” he said, switching his beer bottle to his left hand so he could shake with his right. I took it tentatively as he continued, “Your dad had an emergency, so he asked me to wait here for you.”

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