She has been starring at her cell phone for about five minutes now. Had anyone paid close attention, they would notice that she was not really starring at her cell phone. She looked at that thing in her hand blankly, as if something occupied her mind.
And it was. Something. Fill her mind.
As a matter of fact, it was what appeared on her cell phone screen which made her lost in deep thought.
Her dad, to be exact.
The old man had been calling her for at least ten times this morning. Which she did not get. None of them, since she barely heard her cell phone rang.
She knew this would definitely upset her dad. But she was downstairs, taking a long bath when her dad called her ten times. Since it was Sunday, after all, she thought she could use some extra time to get a nice, comfortable hot bath, which she clearly could not do during weekdays, for she got up early in the morning, break her fast in a hurry, and tried not to be late to the office. Then she did what she ought to do, every week days, until the clock told her it was six o’ clock already, and that she could go home to rest.
Surely her dad must know that she had been unable to take his calls.
At least he should’ve take the hint after at least five unanswered calls.
But no, she sighed as the thought came to her mind. Her dad wouldn’t understand.
She had been thinking whether she should wait for another call or to call him back instead. Talking to her dad has not been the most pleasant events in the world to her. She’d rather he left her alone and mind his own business instead of hers. But he was her dad, after all, and in the name of courtesy and propriety, she ought to pay the old man some respect and at least try to call him back and explain why she hadn’t been able to take his calls.
She had decided to call her dad back when her cell phone rang again.
Grimly, she pressed the green button, taking the call.
“What the hell were you doing!? I was sick-worried, you know! I could be thinking that someone had kidnapped you, or that your cell phone had been stolen, and–”
“I know, dad. I’m sorry. No one’s been trying to raid my phone, and I’m fine. I was in the bathroom, you know, and I sure couldn’t bring my cell phone there. That’s why I didn’t hear you call,” she explained.
“What the devil took you so long in the bathroom!? God, I’ve been trying to reach you since three days ago! Couldn’t you at least texted me, simply to tell me that you’ve been doing okay? I was dead-worried thinking you might be sick since you haven’t contact me since last week!”
“Geez, dad! It’s only a week! Please, don’t exaggerate things!”
“It’s only a week! It has been a week without any news from you! Surely you can’t blame me since you never really tell me what’s going on with you! It’s simply in your nature to keep things from me, even if you got sick and could barely get up from bed!”
“Dad, please. I’m fine!”
“Once you got married and have kids of your own, lady, you’d completely understand my action, and, pray, don’t seek for my advice! You ought to know better!” He scolded her again.
Sure, she thought. If I ever got married. But she kept that thought to herself. She knew better than anyone else not to mention even the notion of the idea to her father. It would drive him mad.
Instead, she sighed.
“Dad. I’m fine,” she repeated, trying to emphasize every word.
She heard a sigh from the other side of the line.
“What’s up?” she asked her dad, trying to sound casual, yet she was actually burned with rage, for the scold she got earlier.
“Nothing. Just want to catch up,” replied the old man.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. Just want to catch up!? What’s with all the fuss, then? He sure made an impression that a gang of mafia just tried to rob him and he wanted to make sure that they hadn’t robbed her, too.
“Oh,” she said instead. “Well… Nothing’s new with me, actually.”
“Oh,” said her dad. Then silence. Nah, an awkward silence, to be precise.
“Well,” finally the old man said, breaking the silence. “You know, it’s been a while since you’re home, young lady. You’re still gonna go home this weekend, are you?”
“Yes, dad,” she said. It’s the fifth time he asked her that very same question, and now it has begun to irk her.
“Well, then, have you prepared for the things you’re taking with you?”
“I haven’t, but I still got time. It’s still a week ahead, dad.”
“Well, but… you know, you should’ve started to prepare things, right?”
“Geez, dad, it’s still a week later!”
“Well, you know better, then,” said her dad in a rush, trying not to make another commotion. At least he realized how she inherited his temper.
She sighed, then, filling the silence that came afterwards. She was clearly reluctant to break the silence, only hoping that this small talks and politeness would end soon. Not that she hated her dad, but one too many times she thought her dad was too much overprotective and he definitely exaggerated his affectionate attention toward his one and only daughter.
Finally her dad spoke up, “So, have you heard about your grandpa?”
Her mind jumped right away to her dad’s dad who just had a surgery last week, and she’d been dying to know how her grandpa had been doing following the surgery, but the thought that his dad would chatter endlessly on the phone was unbearable to her. She only wanted to end the conversation right away. But she knew the courtesy obliged her to continue this conversation, so she said,
“No. How’s he doing so far?”
“About time you ask. He’s been doing great. Tough guy, he is. You know he was walking unsupervisely last night to the bathroom while he was supposed to sleep and rest in bed? Thank God he didn’t got slipped in the bathroom. We were worried sick, and I think I frightened the nurse for failing to notice this careless action. She ought to accompany him all the time!”
“Slow down, dad. She’s a human being. At least grandpa’s fine now. Nothing happened, right.”
“Well, yea, but something worse could’ve happened!”
“Are you wishing for it?”
“Young lady, watch your tongue.”
“I know. Sorry,” she replied, regretting every words she had said, cursing at her stupid mouth.
“Well, tell grandpa I said hi,” she said.
“Will do, if only he remembered you.”
“Well, tell him anyway.” She understand completely that her grandpa had been suffering from some sort of dementia. The only memory survived in his mind was his memories of his younger days.
“You know, he’d been walking out to the hospital’s garden this morning, slipping away from the nurse. They were freaking out earlier at the hospital until they found him wandering aimlessly in the garden. Looking for his dad, he said.”
“Jesus! What happened, then?”
“Well, they took him back to bed, and as soon as I got to the hospital, I warned him not to go anywhere unsupervised anymore. He promised me that he’d stay in bed until I, or the doctor told him otherwise. Sakes, he called me ‘dad’!”
She chuckled. Likewise, she thought.
“Well, that’s grandpa. As expected, right?”
“Yea. He kept asking me how his brother’s been doing, with him lying sick in the hospital. I kept reminding him that I’m not his dad. I’m his son and both his elder brother and father had passed away.”
“Daddy! Is it wise to tell him so?”
“Well, it’s the fact, right? It’s no good to let him believe that he’s back in the olden days, anyway. He ought to know that this is 2011 already, after all.”
“Yea, it’s true,” she said, agreeing.
And then another silence followed.
God I hate this, she thought.
“Well…,” she tried to end the conversation.
“I met Kerry’s cousin the other day,” he said, out of the blue.
She sighed. Apparently the conversation would last longer than she’d expected. Kerry was her cousin. Distant cousin, to be exact, who she barely knew.
“Oh,” she replied briefly, hoping that whatever it is he was about to tell her, would be as brief.
“She told me Kerry apparently got a job in a big, multi-national company. Sakes, she earned more than 7 million every month! Can you believe that?”
She shutted her eyes for a while. Please, she muttered to herself, let it not be another talk of a better job. I’d prefer to choose my own profession, so please-please-please, don’t let him suggest another better job for me.
“Well, I’m glad to hear that. I wish her every luck in the world,” she responded.
Please stop now, she screamed inside.
“Your aunt M has apparently back in town, by the way,” he added shortly.
God, she thought. So what? It has nothing to do with me!
“Oh. So?” She can’t believe she just said that to her dad.
“Well, she was asking how you’ve been doing, and wondering when you’d come home.”
“Tell her I’m doing okay. As to coming home, you know when I’d come home.”
“Well, yes, I know. But I’ve been wondering…”
No. No, no, no, no, she screamed in horror inside.
“–whether it’s possible for you to come home sooner.”
“I miss you, you know.”
Yet she blew another sigh before she replied,
“No, dad,” she said in a firmer tone. “No, it’s not possible for me to come home sooner. I’ve got work to do, you know.”
She’d been missing her dad as well, in fact. But what her dad had said made her wish she could go anywhere but home for the weekend.
Truthfully speaking, as much as she loved her dad, she thought she really needed a long-long break from him. May God be merciful and let him have a long life so she won’t have to regret for having the thought alone.
“Yeah, I know,” her dad said, desperately.
“We’ll see each other in a week, anyway, so there’s really nothing to ramble about missing me at all, dad.”
“Yeah,” replied the old man sadly, and she regretted right away for showing him such attitude before.
“I got to go now, dad. Talk to you later,” she said.
“Bye,” she added, really hoping that she could end the conversation right away, but she knew she ought to wait for her dad’s reply.
So she hang up.
She sighed again.
God, she thought. I’m a horrible, horrible monster.