Lingering Silence

by Will

It was a warm sunday afternoon. I stuck my hand outside of the window to the old truck, to feel even an ounce of the breeze outside. The adventure ahead of us, destination unknown. What mattered most was that I was currently in paradise without a worry in the least. I glanced over towards my father, he smiled back at me. We stopped at a nearby gas station and went inside. There it was, the arcade machine. I remember always being told I couldn't go and play it, but today he handed me two quarters and said have fun. I ran in excitement towards the old arcade machine. Upon leaving, I saw a box of candy cigerettes in my father's hands, to which he handed to me, saying, "Don't let your mom see these." I smiled at him and began indulging the sugar crammed sticks, and while they had no distinct flavor or any appeal to them, the fact that he got them for me, made it all the more great.

We made our way back to the house, my home, and rightfully named. I never felt more secure than where we were going. As he drove up to the driveway, he began to floor the gas to the small bank on the side of the house. Though we always knew he'd never actually go over it, it was always thrilling nonetheless. "I can't stop!" he said with a smile on his face. I felt a wave of exhileration flow throughout my veins as the drop off came closer into view, and then he hit the brakes. I looked at him and we both laughed. As we walked inside he went to his room and began getting dressed for his show that night. He played the piano at a fancy restuarant, and tonight I was going to be able to go and sit next to him while he played. I could tell from the smile on his face how much he was looking forward to this, as I too, felt the same excitement. Overjoyed would perhaps be an understatement, as words could not describe just how excited I really was, how much I honestly looked forward to it.

Later that night, we arrived at the restuarant. Everyone was dressed up nice, myself included, snap on bowtie and all. We made our way to the piano near the front of the restuarant, and there he was, playing away. You could see the determination in his eyes as he played each note. The music flowed effortlessly throughout my mind and made me feel assured that I was at ease, in paradise once more. I went and sat next to him and without missing a note, he looked down at me and smiled. During a pause in his song, he made sure to rub my head and mess up my hair like he always would. It was perfect, just the way life ought to be. We stayed for a little while longer, before going back home. I hugged him goodbye and couldn't wait for his return. As we arrived at the house, I counted down the hours before I would get to see him again. It wasn't long now.

I watched him pull into the driveway, but before I could run out and wait for him at the front door, I was stopped by my mother. "Stay in your sister's room and watch TV with her, Will." She said with a nervous look in her eyes. Confused, I did as she asked. I sat down on the floor with my sister as we watched the latest episode of "Are you afraid of the Dark" on Nickelodeon's Saturday night "SNICK" marathon. I heard my father come in, but suddenly it wasn't my father I heard. There was a monster outside of my door. Though I should have been afraid, I instead chose to go out and try to stop it. My sister quickly grabbed me and stopped me from opening the door, where we both stood motionless staring at the door, as the once drowned out screams and crying began to increase in volume. I stood there confused and tearful, I just wanted it to stop. I wanted the monster to leave and for my father to come to the rescue. But instead I never got my wish. The night ended coldly as my mother came into the room and laid next to us, telling us everything was fine, though something about her tone surely said otherwise.

The next morning I awoke to the nightmare of the evening before. I sat in my bed and stared into the lonely ceiling above. I got out of the bed and peered into my parent's bedroom. There I saw my father asleep, the monster inside him silenced, at least for another day. I walked to the edge of the bed and just stood there. He awoke with a smile. "Well hey Bubba." He said as he rubbed my head again. I knew then I had nothing to fear. Today seemed to be slowly becoming a much better day, I could see it already. I went outside and climbed the tree in the front yard. Life seemed simple from atop those old branches. I sat out there for hours, as I watched the cars on the road go back and forth. I finally decided to jump down and run inside for something to eat. I brought a sandwich to my room before passing by my parent's room. I looked inside and watched as my dad was gathering all of his things.

I watched in confusion as he began to pack all of his things into a suitcase, and the only words that I could utter from my breath were, "Where are you going Dad?". I knew from his uneasy glance that it wasn't somewhere he wished to go, and suddenly, I didn't want him to go there either. I sat on the bed as he packed his things. I couldn't begin to put together words that might make him smile again. As he made his way through the hallway I followed him, "I wanna go with you Dad." I spoke slightly, somehow knowing the answer before he even turned around. He walked outside to his car, but before he got in, he slowly turned to me and crouched to the ground. He pulled out a box of candy cigerettes and handed them to me, but snatched them away before I could begin to grab them. "Don't let your mom see these." He said with a tear in his eye, as he released the box of sugar sticks into my grasp.

I stared vividly at the old box of candy before slowly looking back at him. I stood there motionless as I watched him get into his car and began to drive away. I could feel the surge of a single tear release itself from my eye, and in that moment, in that very instant I wanted him back. I ran towards the fleeting car. I wanted trips to the gas station, I wanted an endless supply of candy cigerettes, I wanted to hear the music that so tapped against my very soul. I wanted a simple life once more, but it was all too late. I could only watch helplessly as he drove off into the distance. I slowly walked back to the porch overlooking my favorite tree. As I sat there in sadness, All I could say were the words that faded into the air, again and again. "I'll wait here until you get back Dad, I'll wait here."

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