Urine scent filled the staircase as we began our ascent. "Don't use the handrail," I said.
He looked at me, his hand just seconds from grasping it as he quickly lifts his hand and places it on his side. "The stairs are...sticky," he said gesturing to the squishing sound his sneakers were made with each step.
"Yeah...this happens not infrequently."
He turned to look at me but decided against speaking his mind. We arrived on the 3rd floor and he pulled the door open. It was stuck he had to put some force into it. "Well, that seems safe," he said with a sarcastic tone.
I let out a chuckle. I admit it was funny because it was true in that it was totally not true, this place was a death trap but it was home. I wasn't going to complain about having a roof over my head. There are some who have it worse than me.
We continue to the front door of my home. I knocked. For some reason, it didn't feel right to use the key. My youngest sister Shari opens the door. When she sees me her eyes glow with happiness. It feels nice to see her like this. "Cathy!" she said as she held me in a tight embrace. "Welcome home,"
"It's good to be back," I lied but maybe it wasn't entirely a lie. I got to see her beautiful face after all.
"You must be Charlie?" she said as she looked up at him.
"Hi, nice to meet you," he said as he reached out his hand. She took it and shook it and blushed. She blushed. The girl better not get any ideas!
She backs out of the entryway "Come in, come in. Mom's in the kitchen cooking," she said.
We both walk in and the scent of her cooking fills my nostrils. "Smells delicious," Charlie says.
My mother with her super hearing says loudly "Thank you, welcome Charlie. It's good to have you with us."
We both go into the living room and sit down. My cat greets us. He was trained to be a guard dog so he didn't like people just hanging out in his space. He was pretty aggressive towards Charlie at first so I had to put him in the room. After that, things seemed to be going well. He met my sister Marie and my mom after she came out of the kitchen and later he met my dad once he got back from the OTB (Off Track Betting).
The two men went to talk but my dad being the way he is simply said "Hey, I'm not that kind of father. If my daughter wants to marry you and you make her husband I am not going to stand in her way. As far as I am concerned it is not my decision it is hers. If you want my blessing to say you asked for it, you got it, ok?"
Charlie looks both stunned and pleased by this statement and the two of them found common ground to talk while I went to ask if my mother needed help with anything. I was standing in the kitchen getting ready to ask her if she needed help with anything and the doorbell rings.
"Who's that?" I ask her.
"Cathy, could you go check the door please?" She said.
"I think Shari can get it she's in the living room," I said.
"Don't be difficult, please just go get the door for me OK?" she asked a second time only much more demanding. With a heavy sigh, I walk towards the door, towards my sitting down on the couch comfortably sister, and I open it.
"Mr. Sunshine?" I asked, my jaw dropped. No other words could be processed in this pathetic little mind of mine. What the hell was he doing here?
"What are you doing here?" I asked him.
He looked sheepish. "I guess your mom didn't tell you I was coming?"
"I guess not"
"She invited me"
My eyes bulged out of my face and I think I might have worn the look of the devil. "Why?"
"I don't know but I'm glad she did. She told me that you are getting married."
"Do you think that you and I could go somewhere to talk?" Mr. Sunshine asked me that just as Charlie had walked into earshot.
"Babe, who's that?"
I turned towards him, not sure if I should play it cool or let him know how totally freaked out I was about this whole mess. "This is Mr. Sunshine. I mentioned him briefly before, remember?"
He looked up for a second, probably going through our previous conversations in his mind and when he finds it his eyes lower and his eyes are blue. "Yes, I remember. Hi," he motions towards Mr. Sunshine with his hand outstretched "I'm Charlie, nice to meet you."
If it weren't for his eyes you wouldn't have known how he was feeling about this exchange we were having. I could see it in his stance, he's taller than Mr. Sunshine and he used that height advantage to his advantage. "What brings you here today?" he said cooley.
Mr. Sunshine rocks back and forth on his feet as though the floor was suddenly on fire. "Cathy's mom invited me"
"And you decided to come?" he asked. It was a legit question. I wanted to hear the answer as well.
"Yeah, I had some stuff I wanted to talk to Cathy about. Some amends I need to make" Mr. Sunshine says to Charlie but turns to look at me. "Would you give me 5 minutes of your time?"
I look at him and look at Charlie. "It's up to you, babe. Whatever you want. I can wait here and chat with your dad." Charlie said while he looked at me. Hazel.
"OK," I said simply.
With that, Charlie turned around and started to walk away before turning back and saying "It was great to meet you, Mr. Sunshine. Thanks for coming," and just like that Charlie was out of sight. Mr. Sunshine stood at the entryway of the door, he seemed smaller now. The confidence he used to exude had faded away.
He didn't seem like the same person I used to know. I wondered about his happiness. I wondered about a lot of things but mostly I wondered why he was here.
"So, what did you want to talk about?" I said deadpan.
"Could we take a walk?" he asked.
I heavy sigh. "Ok...a short walk."
I cross the threshold pulling the door closed behind me. What have I gotten myself into?
Author's Note: Mr. Sunshine is back. Thank you for reading and posting your comments...please. I love your comments. They brighten my day. Unless they are mean, in which case, I don't like them but I'll live with it anyway.
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