I have dubbed this day: Flash Fiction Friday. I will be sharing original Flash Fiction pieces (short stories between 300 – 500 words in length) written by myself and some of my fellow writers on Fridays. Today’s piece is called, “Meeting a Stranger.” I hope you enjoy it!
Meeting a Stranger
All I wanted was the truth and a piece of it was finally coming to meet me. I sat at a wooden table pretending to read an article on my tablet. The words and images were fuzzy. I couldn’t focus. My palms were sweaty and my stomach was turning. The smell of coffee and danishes should have relaxed me a little, but the fluttering in my stomach increased every time someone walked through the door. Mom told me he died in a workplace accident shortly after I was born. I found out a few weeks ago why she lied. I felt betrayed. I was furious about being lied to, but I didn’t confront her. I saw my step-father in a new light. He’s not the man I thought he was.
“Amelia?” I looked up. He was dressed in black sweat pants and a red t-shirt with black trim. His skin was carmel colored, he was tall, clean-shaven, muscular and handsome. I understood my mother’s attraction to him. This was my father.
“Um, yeah. I mean, yes, I’m Amelia.”
“I”m Reynard, your father. Hi,” he said a little awkwardly.
“Hi,” I said with equal awkwardness. Then, we just looked at each other for a long moment. I thought I knew what I needed to say, but now that he was here, I didn’t know where to begin. He sat down across from me.
“This is strange,” he said, “I guess I should apologize for not trying to reach out to you, but under the circumstances, I thought it would be best not to stir the pot. It really isn’t a good reason not to have a relationship with your own child, but I had to respect your parents. The relationship with your mother caused enough problems.”
I nodded. I couldn’t blame him, not entirely anyway. I guess there are no written guidelines on how to raise a child conceived as the result of a marital affair.
“Mom and dad are still together. What about you and your wife? Are you still together?” His expression reflected a multitude of emotion, hurt, guilt, shame, anger, regret, embarrassment. He looked down at his coffee cup.
“No, we didn’t last. I’m sure you’ve done the math and figured out that both she and your mother were pregnant at the same time. Your sister was born the day after you, same hospital.”
I nodded. I met my sister, Delora Zina Mason, at school district function. We look alike, like twins actually. She knew the story, at least, as much as her family shared with her. She was the one who told me about our parent’s affair and put me in touch with her father, our father. “She told me,” was all I said to him.
“I know it’s late, you are both about to graduate and go off to college, but maybe you two can start building a relationship.” I nodded again, but knew it wasn’t likely. Delora had made it clear that she and her mother saw me as part of the problem, and a reminder of Reynard’s betrayal.
“I’m hoping,” he continued, “that we can start building a relationship.” I bit my lip and looked away. I thought the truth would be enough. I wasn’t sure if a relationship with this stranger was what I wanted at all.
Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall