Growing Up

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~This kitchen was clean yesterday. Sorry you missed it~❤️

Ten Years Ago

The candle light flickered near his fingers and he jerked, getting some of the wax on his hand. He squeezed his eyes tight and bit his lip to keep from crying out.

You're too old for this.

His copybooks lay scattered on the table around him. He had one in front of him with a blank page.

Sam sighed and left the taunting candle alone and read the directions on his last assignment again.

Write an essay with not more than 200 words on your relationship with your father.

“Aren't you supposed to be studying?” His mom came from behind him and sat on one of the chairs at the table in the living room.

“I was, until I saw that I have an assignment that's not done.”

He relaxed in the chair and lifted the copybook to his face.

“So do it. Which subject? Math? Try to get Ashley to help.”

“English Literature.”

He hunched over and stared hard at the direction, trying to figure out a way to not say something bad about his dad. The one he knew nothing about.

“What does it say?”

She came closer and used her phone to shine a light on his book, reading silently.

When she finished, she sighed and rested her chin in her hand that was on the table. This was one conversation that they had never had. He asked once when he was seven and he seemed satisfied with the answer he had received.

Your father is not around.

“I can't do it because.. I don't have a relationship, I don't even know him.”

“Then write that down, Samuel. Tell the truth at all times, remember?”

He laughed and closed up the copybook, his heart beating faster than normal. Usually, he avoided the topic of his father.

He didn't have any good thing to say or feel about the man. He didn't know what he looked like or what his name was.

But his grades meant everything to him, right after his mother and sister. And he had to do the assignment.

“That’s ten words ma. It has to be two hundred or I get a bad grade. I can't afford a bad grade, especially in English.”

“Try. Do what you have to do, even though you don't want to. If you'll let me, I can help.”

She held and squeezed his hand lightly, giving him a little smile.

Deep down, she knew that helping him with his work wasn't the only reason why she was prepared for the conversation.

She needed him to know and understand.

He was grown up, nine more years added to his seven year old mentality. Sam was never just a child. She wouldn’t call him a genius only because he was very social and had heap loads of friends. But for the brainy part, he was more than average.

“Only because I have to.” He grabbed a newspaper and his pen to write down anything important.

His face was determined, void of any emotion. He was going to listen to what she had to say but that didn't mean he was going to enjoy it.  “Name?”

“His name is Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald Grant.”

He paused in writing and looked up at her. “Is? He's alive?”

“Of course. Had you and Ash at nineteen, remember? He's not much older than me. I think it's two years.”

He nodded and scribbled something beside the name.

“What is he like?”

“Hm..when I was with him, he was very..shy. Had a lot of friends but he was never the talking type. I saw him get mad once. It took a lot for that to happen. But I pushed him. It was not pretty.”

His body grew rigid, and he clenched his fist. “He touched you?”

“Oh no, he would never. He hurt himself though. Punched anything he came in contact with. Then, I always thought that the only reason he didn't hit me was because I was never in the way.” She paused and smiled at the distant memory. “But one talk with him that I'll never forget made me realize that he always had the best intentions towards me.”

He stared at the flickering flame and took in everything she said. Her voice got softer then talking about him, and that confused him.

“If he was so 'good to you', why didn't he stay? Weren't you guys in love?”

“He had..issues, Sam. Things he didn't deal with when he was supposed to.”

“Like what? And it was good enough to leave you to raise twins? On your own?”

His hand was beginning to hurt from being clenched beside him in the chair. She wanted to tell him everything and he felt like he owed it to her to listen.

But every word pierced his skin like needles and he needed to lash out at something.

Now I know where I got that from.

“He never wanted.. children. Both his parents were never really supportive and his father.. was abusive. I know it sounds like a load of excuses but—”

“It does. And honestly, I'm really don't care ma. None of this is helping me with this assignment. Which was the point of all this.”

She wanted to back down, let him think what he wanted. It was much easier than this.

If there was an easy way to convince a child that his father had the best intentions for not being in his life, she was all ears.

“Okay, but..let me ask you this. From all that I've explained.. what if he was in your life? How would you relate to him?”

“I won't, because he's not. I'll figure something out for the assignment. Thanks for all your help.” He pushed back from the table and lifted his bag to pack his copybooks.

“Sam..”

“Goodnight.” He kissed her on the cheek and left the living room.

Fitzgerald Grant.

He got to his room and closed the door behind him. After putting his bag down, he noticed the lump in his bed that the moon light illuminated.

“Ash. Get up.”

The lump moved, burrowing deeper into the sheets.

“Shut up.”

“Get up before Ma catches you. You know she doesn't like us sleeping together.”

She sat up slowly and crawled to where he was sitting, her legs tangled up in the sheets.

“Are you okay? You look..angry.”

He turned to her and she put her head on his shoulder, staring at him. “I am. But I'm trying not to be.”

“I heard bits of the conversation.. I know you don't like talking about him.”

He stared at his hands, feeling worse by the minute. He'd never thought much of his father. But when ever he did, there was a good reason as to why he wasn't with them.

“I hate him, Ash. If he'll be the only person that I hate, that's fine with me.”

•Daddy Issues•

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