EMDAS 2011 - June (Power and Control!) Entry Thread
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In scientific terms only.
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Over a hand lens
You Can't Help It
“I’m going to get us out of this, you know. It’s going to get all better soon,” I whisper. I smile as wide as I can for my daughter. “I promise.”
Then I flip on the lights.
“Come on, kiddo, wake up!” I walk over and start to take off her blanket. “It's time for school.”
She pushes her face further into her pillow, shaking her head. “Dad,” she whines, “I don't wanna go to school.”
“I know, I know. But it's just one of those things that you just have to grin and accept.” I give her a pat on the head, ruffling her hair because I know it annoys her. She sits up in bed and turns to face me, looking a little cross, before removing my hand from her head.
“I wish we didn't have things like that.”
I pause for a moment and wince a little bit in the inside. Then I sigh. “Yeah,” I say, chuckling. “Yeah. But there's no time for whining, kid. Breakfast is already on the table.”
She swings her legs over and jumps off the bed, following me into the kitchen. There's a bowl of milk and cereal for both of us. We eat quickly and in silence. I'm supposed to go to work soon, after all. After I clean up my bowl and grab my keys, I pause at the door.
“You'll be okay getting to the bus by yourself?”
She looks up at me from her near-empty bowl. “Uh huh. It's just another school day, Dad!”
“Okay. But be careful.” I open the door and start to walk outside. “And don't forget to clean up.”
When I look at her, jeez, she's only eight, but already she's so mature. I think about how she shouldn't be. I smile, but this one is more forced. “Have a great day at school.”
I get in my car. I don't go to work. I can't.
Instead, I drive around the block and then park at a nearby street corner. I stay there until I see the bus come by and pick up my daughter. I head back to the apartment, go in, and seat myself next to the phone. I'm waiting for a callback. I'm waiting for some hope.
I sit there for hours, remembering some bitter memories. I'd come to work on time. I did my work well, though I wasn't the best. It was financial reports for an insurance firm. Earnings this quarter were up. They were always up. I'd always hoped to quit, but where would I go from there? It was too difficult a decision to make, so they made it for me.
“Come into my office,” he said. Middle management hack, a little too comfortable with his job. “We're downsizing,” he said. “This business can't afford it. I'm sorry, but you're not alone. We're laying off a substantial percentage of the workforce. Business, you understand? It's not official yet, so we'll give you a few days to gather your things, clear up loose ends. I'm sorry, it's completely out of my hands.”
Hope never arrives.
I'm still sitting there when my daughter comes home. She walks in, looking a little surprised to see me there. But not overly so. I wave to her, but I have a wistful smile on my face. I try to shove some happiness there, but it's just not in me.
“You're home early, Dad.”
“Ah, well, my boss let me get home a little earlier today. Why, are you sad to see me,” I joke.
She shakes her head and sits down next to me. “Nuh uh, I'm happy. But you've been getting home early a lot.”
Yeah,” I say, but my voice is breaking. “Yeah.”
“Dad? Are you okay,” she asks me. Jeez, kiddo, you're too mature.
“Aha, I'm perfectly fine!” I clear my throat and force another smile. “See? So, how was school?”
“It's going to get all better soon, isn't it?”
I hesitate. My throat clenches. “Wha—were you awake for that?”
“Uh huh,” she says, nodding. “Every morning.”
I don't say anything for a long time. There isn’t anything words can do.
But the silence tears at me.
“Would you give your old man a hug? I—I think I need it.”
She nods again and hugs me tightly. I notice that I'm crying and I start to wipe the tears away. “Ah, jeez, you don't need to see your dad like this, do you?”
“It's okay, Dad. You can't help it.”
“I suppose I can't!” I laugh and wear the smile I had this morning. “I guess this being something you can't help is okay, isn't it? Thank you.”
She giggles. “You're welcome, Dad.”
“It's going to get all better soon. It definitely will.”
I'll do everything I can.
Well, it's a little late to be entirely appropriate, but hey! I got it in.
Last edited by WordShaker; 2011-06-23 at
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