Friday, October 28, 2016


By 8:30 the next morning my host mom, Sharon, was pacing frantically throughout the kitchen, making brief pauses only to feel Steve's favorite recliner. That thing was on its last leg, so worn that there were clearly defined marks made by each of Steve's butt cheeks. A knock startles us.
"Oh my word!" Sharon exclaims, clutching her hand over her chest.
"It's him! Oh thank God." I exclaim, throwing the door open unsure what to expect Steve to look like. Would he be disheveled and covered in sweat? Perfectly combed over still? Yet instead of seeing some form of Steve, I am greeted by slightly plump lady with a towering beehive.
"Well hello dear, aren't you just precious. Are your parents home sugar?" Her southern twang is seemingly unreal, matched only by those seen in movies.
"Uh yeah my host mom is here" I manage to mutter back.
"Well I can't hear you through all that mumbling, now can I? Anyways my name is Loretta. I am from Southern Living, and I am here to interview the residents of this fine apartment. I suppose you will do."
"Is it him Rebekah? Is it my Steve?" Sharon shouts still clinging to the recliner.
"No Sharon, just someone here to interview us from Southern Living."
"Unbelievable. Where on Earth could this man possibly be? I have to go find him." Sharon finally detaches herself from the recliner and comes toward me and beehive hair lady. "Oh hello ma'am. Please do come inside. I am just headed out, but Rebekah here can take over."
Everyone calls be Bekah. My name is Bekah.
Beehive lady makes herself right at home, situating herself on the couch with various recording tools and notepads. "Alright dear let's jump right on in. Clearly by your accent, you ain't from round here, so what brings you to the great states of 'Merica?"
"Oh I'm just a foreign exchange student" I shrug trying to keep my answers as short as possible so I can shake off beehive lady. Even though Steve isn't my dad I feel a strange connection to him, enough so that his disappearance shakes me. I twist my pinky ring anticipating her next shallow question.
"What do you like about this town, I mean as opposed to wherever in Europe you're from?"
"Britain. I don't like it here as much. Kind of strange. Weirdly formulaic. Then the pattern breaks and it is confusing."
"Oh dear, I can't say I know exactly what you mean. Formulaic? I guess we can move on to the subject of decor! I notice you guys have quite a homey house. Nice big recliner! What inspired the feel of the house?"
"I couldn't tell you. I have only lived here for a month or so. But if you'll excuse me, I don't mean to be rude but I really must go now," and without even waiting for her over top response, I bust out of there and head for the calming paths of Howell Park.

1 comment:

  1. 8:00am - I slowly rolled out of bed, made my way into the kitchenette, and grabbed my only coffee mug. I turned on the faucet, and nothing came out. "Damn."

    8:45am - I pushed through a mess of bodies, curving my chest around a cardboard cup of coffee to protect it from the crowd. Connie's, the local coffeehouse, was one of the few places in town that still had water. Unfortunately, I hadn't been the only person to figure that out, and it was as if a number of townspeople had decided to overrun the place. I wouldn't have gone near it if I hadn't needed the caffeine. Every once in a while, a business asks me to give a presentation or assess something on-site, but I happen to be the only businessman that wakes up a reasonable time in the morning, so I rely on coffee to help me up.

    I headed into Howell Park in search of further privacy, finally took a sip of my coffee, and almost spit it out. Compared to the coffee that I make in the apartment from freshly roasted Puerto Rican beans, I might as well have been taking a bite out of the cup that the coffee came in. I took a breath to harden my resolve. Caffeine was caffeine. I was about to take a second sip, when I noticed that someone else was on the path. It was a young girl (she couldn't have been older than seventeen), and she looked as if a small wind would have caused her to shatter into pieces. At first I walked right past her. It was obvious to me that something truly upsetting had taken place, and I have dealt with more of that in my life than any man's fair share. Nowadays, my policy is to keep to myself, and I happen to be damn good at it. But that's when she spoke.

    "Um, have you seen a man named Steve? He hasn't been home in a few days. He's a medium height, and a bit chubby. You probably would have seen him in a white button down and some khakis. He has a perfect comb over, if that helps." I turned and stared at her for a second. She had a British accent.

    "Oh, ah, is Steve missing?" She made a face at me, and I kicked myself. "Is he your dad?" I asked.

    "Host dad," she replied. "I've been staying with him and his wife."

    I just stood there for a moment. I felt helpless. Out of my depth. I held out the cardboard cup. "Do you like coffee?" I asked.

    Finally, it was her turn to look flabbergasted. "A lot, actually. I was never much of a tea person."

    "Take it." She took it.

    "Thank you." She took a sip.

    "You're welcome." I walked away as fast as I could, leaving her as she made happy faces into the drink.

    9:15am - I sit in my silent car with the key in the ignition, still just as goddamn tired as when I woke up, while I hold back tears. I need a drink.

    I can't drink.

    I cry.