A/N: Another Friday gone by, another story written in the very last minute… enjoy!
“I got the job,” I told my dad as soon as I had started the car.
He grinned at me, pride evident in his face, and I smiled back at him, equally proud of myself. I had wanted to be an artist ever since I was a little girl, and my dad had always supported by ambitions. As a single father he’d had a hard time, and working two jobs to pay for my tuition at the School of Art didn’t help. Thankfully I’d gotten a part scholarship. Otherwise there was no way a blue collar like my dad could ever afford it no matter how hard he worked. My job at the local book store hadn’t paid off that much either.
My mother had died when I was pretty young, and I was used to it just being my dad and I. We’d scraped by. We hadn’t gotten everything we wanted in life, far from it, but we’d survived. And now our hard work was finally paying off.
“Can you believe it?” I asked him. “Christopher is one of the biggest names in the world of art. Like, at all. To be his assistant is huge, I mean; I know it’s not my own collection or anything, but it’ll get my name out there, you know? In a couple of years my name is going to be known. Not world-renowned, but known. And I can finally make more than a few bucks of my art.”
“I’m proud of you, honey,” my dad told me, and I knew he was. I could see it in the way his eyes shined with joy. After everything he’d done for me, this was as much his success as mine.
I grinned at him. “I’ll get a new apartment then,” I told him. “Some place nicer. With an actual art studio.”
“And in a better neighbourhood,” my dad told me, his tone of voice brooking no argument.
My smile turned bitter sweet. I knew he worried about me. Especially since the only apartment I’d been able to afford had been in the kind of neighbourhood,where you always, always locked the door.
My dad always seemed to be worrying about me though. Even when he really should worry more about himself. He’d worried over the possibility of me getting stress, when he was the one working two jobs. He’d worried about me when I started dating. He’d worried about me when he got diagnosed with cancer. He’d worried about me, when the doctor’s told us that he wasn’t going to make it.
And I knew that the main reason that he had fought against the cancer as hard as he had was because he was worried how I would go on without him.
I smiled at him. “When I get rich I’ll cover mom’s grave in flowers,” I told him, reminiscing the many times we’d had to pluck some wild flowers in the nearby park because we hadn’t been able to afford to actually buy any.
Dad grinned at me, resistant as ever. “I’m sure your mom loved the flowers we brought her,” he told me. “You should buy yourself something. Spoil yourself a bit. You deserve it. Or maybe, if you really want to throw your money away, you could buy me a flat screen.”
“A flat screen?” I laughed. “Over flowers on mom’s grave.”
“She would understand. She knew how much the Knicks mean to me. She would want me to be able to watch their games with style.”
I laughed again. “I’ll admit that you are probably their biggest fan.”
“Probably?! What do you mean with probably?!”
“Well, there’s always Uncle Jerry.”
Dad snorted. “What does he know? He only likes them when they’re winning. No, a true fan stands with them in better or in worse!”
“Isn’t that a marriage vow?”
“That doesn’t make it any less true!”
“Hmm, was that what you told mom at your guy’s wedding? I love you in better or in worse, in sickness or in health, till Death do us part – alongside the Knicks of course.”
“No, I told her that I loved her in better or in worse, in sickness or in health, till Death do us part – but I was marrying her because she was knocked up with you.”
“Well, it’s true! Not that I hadn’t already decided that she was the one whom I was going to spend the rest of my life with. You were just the reason we had to make it official.”
I sighed, knowing how childish he could be when the mood struck him. I decided to change to subject. “Christopher says I have talent.”
Dad beamed at me. “Well, of course he does! It’s as clear as the day is long!”
“Then it’s as clear as the day is short! I always knew you were gonna make it, honey. You’re a fighter. You’re not going to give up at the first sign of trouble.”
“Well, luck probably had a lot to do with it too.”
“Well, it’s about time you got lucky.”
I thought about it. He was right. With mom’s death, and our lack of financial security alongside dad’s cancer – it was about time I got a bit of luck in my life.
“I miss you,” I told him.
He laughed. “What are you talking about, honey? I’m right here.”
But as I turned around to look at him, his expression caught between teasing and confusing, he started to fade away just like I knew he would. Just like he always did.
“No, you’re not,” I told him.
For some reason I could only really imagine him when I was driving. Maybe because of the many hours we’d spent together cramped in a car, when he took me on one of his jobs as a truck driver. Maybe the memory of him was just stronger sitting in a car.
Whatever the reason it was the only time I could imagine the exact expression he would wear, the exact words he would say. Slowly I drove into the side and stopped the car.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
“I miss you,” I told him again, just like I had every day for the past four months. Just like I had since the day the cancer had finally won. “I miss you so much.”
I could almost hear the words, so sure was I of his answer. So well-preserved was my memory of his voice.
“I miss you too, honey,” he told me. “I miss you too.”
A/N: How many of you had guessed the plot twist?