Jericho laughed. It wasn’t a happy sound. His laughter dripped with pain and anger.
“He needs me? That’s not what he said when he threw me out!”
I really didn’t feel like participating in his bout of emotional constipation. His bitterness was not my problem.
“Listen, Rico, you have to let that go. He did what he did for your benefit. You probably wouldn’t have all of this if…”
“Cressida, don’t,” his said in a warning tone.
“Don’t you take that tone with me, Rico! Own your mess! You made the choices that got your tail tossed out.”
“Own my mess? Own my mess? He did the same things I did, and worse, and tells those stories with great pride! He just didn’t get caught! He didn’t have to worry about his life being on public display because of who his daddy was. He wears his sins like a badge of honor, but judged me publicly for every one of mine. Everything I have, I worked for! He gave me nothing! I owe him nothing! He gets no credit for what I’ve accomplished.”
“If he didn’t throw you out of the house, you never would have grown up! You would have continued to do the same dumb stuff! You have what you have because he loved you enough to say ‘no’ to your foolishness!”
“Don’t give me that after-school-special crap! I was never good enough for him. He hated me because I reminded him of my real dad. He assumed I’d turn out just like him, and treated me like I was a damn criminal from day one! He was more concerned about his reputation in the pulpit and in office than he was about me. He had an opportunity to have me in his life. He made a choice. He chose public opinion over family. Go tell him to own that!”
There was fire in Jericho’s eyes. I knew my brother well enough to know that he wasn’t moving. He was not going to leave his office to say his final goodbyes to his step-father, the only father we ever knew. Even though I knew my brother wasn’t attacking me personally, it still felt like he might be angry with me for being the messenger.
“Jericho, he did the best he knew how to do raising us. He wants to see you before he breathes his last and try to set things right between you two. Go hear him out, and if you still feel the same way you do now, after talking to him, then ok. You were right and he was wrong. But go. See him. Do it for me?”
“Let him die without me,” Jericho said, flatly as he glared at me.
“Fine. I tried. I hope you don’t regret this decision. Our real dad is long gone. This man raised us. He’s dying and he’s waiting for you. He’s holding on for you. He’s always held on for you, but you are too blinded by anger and hurt to realize it.”
Dad cried as he took his last breath that night. Jericho never came.
Copyright 2013 Nike Binger Marshall