Not His Fault
With the news that his son was finally coming home after leaving him fifteen years ago, Jo didn’t know what to do first. He went through the email once again in his head, even though he’s read it more than five times already since shutting down his laptop.
Adam was coming home. His one and only son, finally coming back to him. And he’ll be bringing along his wife and kid with him. It’ll be the first time he’ll meet them. First time he’ll see them. Adam didn’t give any pictures in the email. Just a very brief message saying he’ll be dropping by tomorrow for tea, and he made it clear that it would be expecting only tea, and nothing more. Jo could hardly contain his tears.
He looked around his cramped two bedroom apartment. What a mess. He knew that he hadn’t been taking too good care of himself lately, but only now did he notice just how unacceptable the conditions were. At least they would have been unacceptable to Mariah.
Jo shook the thought away. The last thing he needed was the thought of her haunting him on the eve of his reunion with his son.
Adam. Beautiful beautiful Adam. The last time he saw him was when he had just finished his A-levels. Oh what an auspicious day that was! Adam got the best results in the school. Mariah called when Jo was at the office to inform him. He was the proudest dad alive. He even took the night off to celebrate.
They had gone to the fanciest restaurant in town. It wasn’t the first time Jo would have been there, but it was certainly Adam’s. After all the hard work Adam had put in, it only seemed appropriate for him to get treated to the best.
They had an exquisite dinner. He doesn’t exactly remember what they had to eat, but he was sure it had to be something good. The restaurant always served top quality gourmet food. And the champagne, to die for. Dom Perignon 2003. He never ordered anything else when going there. He’s pretty sure he even let Adam take a sip. He deserved it. Jo ended up finishing the whole bottle by himself. Mariah just had her usual Evian. No sense of celebration, that woman.
The rest of the night had always been a blur. All he knew was that by the end of it, his Mazda was wrecked, his collarbone broken, and his wife dead.
And after all these years, nine of which Jo spent in jail, Adam is finally ready to forgive him! He must be, since he’s coming to visit him finally after all these years, right?
Jo started cleaning up his apartment. Picked up all the dirty laundry on the floor. Gathered all the beer cans and puts them in one corner. He needed to get himself some garbage bags.
But what if Adam doesn’t forgive him? It’s outlandish, sure, but why should he? Surely Adam blamed him for the death of Mariah. He knew that he hadn’t been the most present of fathers, what with work at The Daily Metro taking up most of his time. He knew that. Mariah was the one who raised him, mostly. He sure took after her a lot because of it. That was why he took them out for dinner that night. To make it up to them. To show Adam that he was proud of him. Didn’t he see that?
He cleared the pizza boxes on the table and puts them alongside the beer cans. He gathered and stacked all the newspapers in the living room. He did what little dishes he had.
It wasn’t his fault. He just wanted to celebrate his son. What’s wrong with a little drinking? Everyone did it, right? And it’s not like he chose the van to hit his car, right on Mariah’s side of the car. It’s not his fault he wasn’t able to see the stop sign in the dark. It wasn’t his fault. Right?
He washed the only knife he owned. He looked around his apartment.
What was he doing with his life? He used make a good living being an editor at one of the best-selling newspapers in the country. Now he’s collecting petty change to proof-read undergraduates’ assignments. What happened to him? How would Adam see him right now? His mother is dead, and his father, this? Living by himself, hungover every morning and drunk every night? Barely able to pay rent each month? He came back to this?
Adam opened the unlocked door to the apartment after knocking for three whole minutes. He was surprised to see that the house seemed to be in the middle of being tidied up. He was even more surprised to see his father’s dead body sitting at the furthermost wall of the living room, blood coming out of his left hand and a knife in his right.
nice! you should do better.
What a tragedy! Poor Adam.
There seems to be a dark side in some of your stories now. Different but I like it.
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