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Apathy, Chapter 24 Chips

May 13, 2019

I didn’t know what felt weirder: my dad in jail or the fact that he remembered Daisy’s home phone line. She looked at me with a saddened look before she decided not to say anything. She struggled to get up and walked away. I’m not sure exactly what that was about, but it made me feel alone. What the hell am I supposed to do? I could feel it from Daisy, she had an opinion, but she was keeping that to herself. I took a minute to myself before I decided to get up and find the old woman.

I asked, “Daisy? Can you drive me to the police station? Daisy?” I looked all over the house, and she was nowhere to be found until I stepped outside. She was sitting in the car, and I knew that she felt the same as me and that this was the right thing to do. The car was already on, and within a few seconds, we were already on our way down.

Daisy slowed the car down for a second and with her wrinkled skinny arms quietly said to herself, “God bless you, Paul.” Then she began to pick up speed.

I asked, “Who was Paul?”

Daisy smiled, “I miss that man. He was so obnoxious. Have you ever met somebody who just made you smile with their weird, silly laugh?”

“Not really.”

“Well, Paul had a loud laugh. Like Santa Claus. He did everything that he could for us and was like an older brother to most of us. There’s a spot near the houses where we live, I don’t know if you noticed it, but that’s a scar on our lives. Paul had the day off, and we all worked. A cell phone was left charging, and the house burned down. Paul must have seen it and attempted to call 911, but the power lines were out. So, he drove down to get help and must have accidentally driven off the embankment and hit another set of power lines. He attempted to get out of the car and hit a live power line… he died trying to save my childhood home.”

“Who’s house were we just in?”

“Mine, I bought it. That was where Paul used to live. I basically bought his entire estate.”

“My dad knew Paul?”

“Yeah, but your dad was like an outsider with us during that time. He worked, bitched a lot, and went home and drank and played video games.”

“That doesn’t sound like dad.”

“I would hope not, he’s changed a lot.”

“I had a tiff with a guy who worked with us, and he left. Your dad, Jim, and Ronnie did everything they could to help me through it and in the process your dad and I… well…”

“He’s told me that you two were engaged, but you pushed him away. You didn’t want him to watch you deteriorate.”

“I watched my father die from an illness, our relationship was just on the cusp of something greater, and a part of me wanted him to stay, and the other part wanted him to go. I don’t know what I really ever wanted, but I do think that it would have been better if he went. Like if I had died by now, but here I am. Twenty years later, still kicking.”

“I wouldn’t be here, but you’d have another set of kids though. If he had stayed. A version of Paul would still be alive.”

“I never told your father this, but I also had tumors in my uterus, so they removed it. I was not destined for children.”

“Jesus…”

“Yeah, it was rough. The cancer did remain, and just maintained.”

“Is that how you justify pushing my father away?”

“No, I justify it by the fact that you exist and that he loved another woman just as much as he would love me. I can see how great of a father he is and-”

“He’s been hurting a lot and had been drinking a lot since then. The last time I saw him drink anything was after mom died.”

“I can’t make excuses for anyone but myself, but he seems more or less himself as of what I’ve seen.”

“That’s true…”

“Here, give your dad this when he gets out.”

“How do you know that he’ll get out?”

“I don’t, but you gotta trust that by doing the right thing you’ll somehow get ahead, and if those fucks tried to hurt you guys, well then that’s just self-defense. So, give him this.” Daisy handed me a burnt AA chip and said, “It’ll mean a lot to him. It belonged to Paul. It was in his pocket when he died…”

I just said, “Ok,” and took the chip. It would be another hour of driving to reach the police station.

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