“Nothing is too small to be a mistake.”
― Shannon L. Alder
I have been contemplating a lot of things the past few months, especially my estranged dad. He left when I was in fifth grade. I had no idea why (still have no idea why) he just suddenly up and left. My mom was never the same after that. I was never the same after that. Hell, even Coco, our then four month-old silver Weimaraner, wasn’t the same after that. My dad didn’t bother establishing communication after going AWOL in our lives. Then quite recently and very suddenly, my mom and I received the news: dad killed himself. Inside a fancy hotel room abroad, no less. The news hit me pretty hard but nobody had to know. It’s almost funny because even after fifteen years of neither hearing from him or seeing him, I have been reduced to sobbing and babbling like a baby upon hearing the news.
That was almost three months ago. I’m not sure what’s different from then to now. Or even those years before his awful death. Each day just rolled right in, blurring one after another. Leitmotif of my life.
“Still cola slurpee?” The rumble of Ammon’s voice jolted me away from my stream of thoughts.
I was back at the brightly lit 7-Eleven, standing by the counter with a large cola slurpee in hand. I smiled at the elderly man. “Always, Ammon. Always cola slurpee for me.”
“We’ve got a new flavor. Apple lychee,” Ammon said.
I paid for my drink with a laugh. “Maybe someday.”
“But not today?” Ammon said.
“Nope.” I got my change from his dark, frail hand. I glanced outside the store and saw Emery on the other side of the street, talking to someone. “Bye, Ammon. See you next Monday!” I flashed him a smile before walking outside and crossing the street. The midnight wind was cool and it flipped the hood of my jacket straight over my head. I managed to get to my friend with the hood covering half my face.
“There you are,” Emery said to me. “Ready?”
I shook back the hood of my jacket. Am I ready for some Friday night drinking, something I haven’t indulged myself in for the longest time? Hell, yes. I nodded and took a long sip of the cola slurpee.
“Great!” Emery sounded pleased. He turned to the guy beside him. “Will, I’d like you to meet Riley.”
I turned and looked up at Emery’s friend. He stuck out his hand and I shook it, which I found odd. It felt like I was being introduced to a boss. “Hello,” I said.
“Hi. Good to meet you,” the guy, Will, said.
I felt like straightening my back and giving him a salute while shouting, “Sir, yes, sir! It’s good to meet you too, sir!” Instead, I smiled and nodded. I turned to Emery. “Let’s get a cab?”
“Yeah,” My friend started walking and I fell into step beside him. “Stay in the backseat with him, okay?”
I finished half of my drink before answering. “Why? He’s your friend. Stay with him.”
Emery just shook his head. “I’ll stay in the passenger seat.”
“Okay,” I said with a shrug. I am not one to make a fuss, especially about something as trivial as seating arrangement. And therein lay the problem, I guess. I never made a fuss about most things. But after tonight, I’d have learned a lesson or two. And not ordinary lessons. Life changing ones. Stuff that I will be carrying with me for the rest of my life.
Have you ever had a feeling and known somewhere in your bones that somebody was gonna play a major part in your life?