Chapter 14 - Someone To Count On

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Chapter 14
Someone To Count On

A week later, the funeral for Franklin Maverick was the talk of the town.

It was a little shocking to say the least. The news of his death moved shockwaves throughout the city like people were actually close friends with him. Frank and my mother were a sociable couple when they actually were together, but when she left he cut all ties. He lost his job when he kept the incessant drinking and being late for work every day. He stopped answering his cell when it went off, the ringing bouncing off of the walls day after day. The alcohol became his go-to; his will to live was left up to that bottle of Jack.

That’s why it didn’t make much sense when his funeral was broadcasted in the papers the next week and suddenly person after person was showing up at our doorstep. Most of them included my mother’s old friends from years before. I hadn’t recognized many of them, given the fact that she left almost ten years ago. But everyone seemed so genuinely concerned and grieving when they showed up with casserole dishes and tight hugs for my mother and I. My mom just took it, wrapping her arms around the next unfamiliar person like she knew them for years.

She kept up this pretending game for days. Each person that knocked on the door and handed her dishes and gestures, she would just comply with and give them a smile. Sometimes I could tell that she hadn’t recognized a majority of the individuals on our doorstep, the way her face contorted just barely when they brought her in for a hug or gently touched her arm for comfort. But she didn’t let on that she had forgotten most of these friendly faces in the past ten years that she had been gone. Maybe it was the drugs that made her forget. Or maybe it was the excessive drinking and time in rehab she had taken that made her completely forget about those she used to call her best friends.

Most of the women who used to be her closest friends would always say the same thing, “I’m here to talk if you need me, dear.” It became such a constant with each person to knock on the door that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes after the tenth or so time it was uttered. What no one seemed to realize was the fact that we weren’t actually reeling with grief or depression. Mom had walked around like a zombie for a few days or so, but after our talk and the secrets being released, she acted like the mother I always remembered from those years before. She hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol since her past was revealed, and she was paying much more attention to me than I ever thought possible.

I, on the other hand, still wasn’t sure how to handle what was going on inside of my head and heart. A daughter was supposed to be grieving excessively and just wishing her father would come back. She should be looking longingly at pictures left around the house, try to keep the memory of his face burned into her brain. I should have been crying and shaking, in need of support or comfort. But here I was, walking around like I hadn’t the slightest clue that my father was dead and was never walking through that big red door again. I wasn't sobbing or grieving, I was just…centered.

It all made me feel so stupid and ungrateful. I felt like such a shameful daughter with the way I was feeling and how I wasn’t crying over the fact that he was gone forever. It made me question if I ever loved my father, even before the fighting started. I wondered if maybe I was okay with the fact that he was dead. The idea of him not being there to throw me into a dresser or kick me while I was down was leaving me with this hint of contentment.

The feeling of walking through the door every day after school, knowing I wasn’t going to hear the pounding of those combat boots against the wooden floorboards relieved my nerves. Instead of being on guard, I was coming home to a mother who was asking about my day and wondering how I was feeling. I could make myself dinner in peace, go to bed without a fear that I would be woken up or startled by him soon. But sometimes, if I was quiet enough, I could still hear those feet clambering down the hall or up the stairs. It was like he was gone physically, but his horrid spirit was still within these walls and beneath these boards. It woke me up some nights, startling me into a cold sweat.

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