"You know, your father wouldn't want you to eat that," Stephanie said while walking past a picture of Rebecca's family. Stephanie and Rebecca were roommates and best friends.
Despite them being best friends, Rebecca never opened up to Stephanie, but Stephanie could always see through her lies and could easily tell when something was wrong.
"Can we not talk about my father right now," Rebecca said while eating a bowl of Rocky Road and brownies. "Well if you were bleeding from your--”
"I hate to break it to you but the shedding of your uterine lining won't fix any cavities or stomach aches," Stephanie murmured while grabbing a bowl and Fruity Pebbles.
"I'm a big kid now," Rebecca sang, mimicking the children's commercial.
"Keep eating like that you'll be a fat kid," Stephanie said as she sat down.
"I'm going to the store. I'll be back," Rebecca said finishing her breakfast and putting her dishes in the sink.
She walked out the door and drove to the store. She began to patrol the aisles for what she was looking for: tampons, ice cream, brownies, cookies, and strawberries. The strawberries were a decoy. Rebecca knew if she came back home without at least one healthy item, Stephanie would make her take everything back. She walked to the cashier and took out her wallet. Out of the corner of her eye she swore she could see her father’s slim, yet muscular build watching her, but the figure crossed into an aisle she couldn't see. The familiar scent of Jack Daniels and vanilla pervaded the aisles.
"Um, hello? Are you gonna pay for the food or not? I have a job that I'd like to keep," the pubescent cashier said. Rebecca handed over the cash.
"You adults are weird. And we're supposedly the horrible generation."
Rebecca ignored the comments as her thoughts about her father began to race. Was that really him? How is he here? She grabbed the bags and ran to her car. She wasn't taking any chances.
She got in the driver's seat and looked through the windshield. Her father was standing about 10 yards away. Screaming, she locked the doors and attempted to put the key in the ignition. It wouldn't turn on.
She saw him walking.
He was getting closer and closer.
Struggling to get the key to turn, she looked down to investigate what was wrong. When Rebecca looked up, he was gone. The key turned, allowing the car to start, and she drove away as fast as she could.
Hot tears began to stream down her face as she began to remember memories of her childhood:
Her father stumbled into the house. He clutched a bottle of Jack Daniels in one hand and held onto the door with the other for support. He took a swig of the dark alcohol and slammed the door close.
“Sarah! Where the hell are you? You can’t hide from me forever. You thought you could just whore around with Robert and get away with it didn’t you?” He shouted at Rebecca’s mother.
“I told you that nothing happened. I’m your wife. You should be able to trust me to hang out with a few friends and remain loyal. You know I love you and I know you’re drunk. Just go to bed and I’ll take care of you...”
A loud “smack” was heard and Sarah held her throbbing cheek.
“That’s a bunch of bull! I swear I’m gonna—“
“Daddy,” a seven year old Rebecca said. “You said you would read to me tonight.”
“CAN’T YOU SEE I’M BUSY?!” he shouted while throwing the bottle at the wall closest to Rebecca. She ran back to her room as fast as her tiny feet could carry her. Her parents screamed all night long as she cried trying to make sense of what had transpired. It was then that she realized her father would hurt her the same way he hurt her mother.
She got to the house and immediately felt safe. She retrieved her bags and walked inside.
"That was fast," Stephanie said. "Your father said you usually take too long in stores deciding what you wanted to get."
"Can we stop talking about my father, please? This is getting really weird." Rebecca said while putting stuff away. She sat down and had tea with her sugar. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
"Well he came over. He said to tell you he was going to visit you soon."
Rebecca stopped before she took a sip. Her face became pale and turned a sickly greenish color. Stephanie obviously knew something was wrong: Rebecca was black., and that's not something you'd usually see on brown skin.
"What do you mean he came over?"
"I mean, he came over, we talked a bit, then he said he was going to come back after you came from the store."
"That's not my father", Rebecca said as she became fidgety.
"Of course it was. He looked exactly like the pictures. He had your baby picture-"
"In his wallet on the left side", Rebecca interjected quietly as she stared at the floor, deep in thought.
"Am I missing something?"
"Yeah", Rebecca started, "he's been dead for six years."
Rebecca began to smell her father's cologne.
... "I've missed you, Rebecca."
- Rieanna Duncan