Chapter 2 – Part 2
Jesse: At the Funeral Tea
Jesse started to walk through the house looking for Robbie. When she didn’t find him inside, she slipped out to the backyard and started walking around the house. It was a warm day out and people were sitting on the back patio in lawn chairs. She didn’t see him sitting among any of them. When she got to the front yard, she saw her dad sitting by himself on the front step.
“Hey stranger,” she said, sitting down next to him. She wasn’t too surprised to see him out here. He often retreated from big social events partway through to get a breather. “How are you doing?”
“Oh, you know,” he said, giving her a half smile. “I’ve been better.” They raised their eyebrows at each other and said together: “But I’ve also been worse.” She smiled.
“Except, you know,” he voice choked up. “This time, I’m not sure I have.” He said, whispering the last part.
She wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his shoulder. “I miss her too Dad.” She said.
They sat in silence for awhile when suddenly he abruptly stood up and thundered down the steps to the grass. At first, she had no idea what had provoked this sudden change in mood.
Then she saw a man saunter down the street towards them with an odd hobble to his gait. “Who is that?” she asked. But her dad was already halfway across the front lawn and didn’t appear to hear her.
“No. You are not welcome here.” Her dad announced, waving his hands at the man. The man didn’t seem deterred by her dad at all and kept walking towards them. She had never seen her father upset like this. Usually it was her or her mom that lost their tempers.
“I told you at the funeral, you are not to be here,” her dad said. The man was now standing in front of her father.
“He’s my son. I have a right to see him,” the man said. He tried to walk around her dad, but her dad grabbed the man’s arm and pulled him back.
“I’m not going to tell you again. Go home.” Her father said.
The man jerked his arm away and once again tried to walk past him. Suddenly, her father swung his arm around and punched the man in the side of the jaw. The man grasped his jaw while her dad immediately grabbed his fist and crouched into a ball cupping his hand to his chest. He glared up at the man. “Not today.”
The man, still grasping his jaw, stared down at her father, hesitating. Finally, he seemed to make up his mind and turned away from her dad and started to walk away.
Jesse ran to her father. “What was all that about?” she asked, putting her hand on his shoulder.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, walking back to the porch, grasping his hand.
“You’re bleeding!” she said, when she saw drops of blood running from his knuckles. “Wait here.” She quickly raced back into the house and, carefully avoiding Alison, grabbed the first aid kit from the bathroom. When she got back she found him on the porch around the side of the house. The porch wrapped around the side and her parents had set up a porch swing. Her dad was sitting in the swing, rocking slowly back and forth. She sat down beside him and began to clean up the gash on the his hand. “Are you going to tell me what that was all about?”
“Nope,” he said.
“Who was that man?” she asked.
She worked in silence cleaning and disinfecting his hand. He was just about to stick a bandage over it when he stopped her. “Don’t tell Robbie,” he said. She looked at him to see a worried expression creasing his face.
Confused, she nodded anyway. “My lips are sealed,” she said, as she placed the bandage on his hand.