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Hi, How Can I Help You?

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Submitted By mhaugen94
Words 1093
Pages 5
"Hi, Can I Help You?"

It was so dark and cold. I couldn't stop counting the drops that hit my windshield. 7,8,9,10,11....constantly missing one, I would restart counting. I didn't want to focus on anything else while on my way to see him. Counting the drops helped keep my head calm. Although, it also helped me nearly get into a car crash. I should pay more attention at what's in front of me. Like the whole slew of cars during this bitch of a rainstorm. Nearly four years it was since I last saw him. Four years since I had last saw his boney frame and unchanged, soiled clothing. Four years since I thought this world was just compiled of shit and dirt. And four years since I couldn't wait for him to be taken away, to see what life is like without him.

Maybe he had changed or maybe he was still drinking away the tiniest bit of man he had left. Hoping he would remain the drunk he always was, I pulled up to the house he supposedly was squatting in. Remembering the address I read on the restraining order documents, I couldn't stop repeating the numbers to myself. Stomach twisted, I walked up to the house. I looked at what, essentially, resembled who and what my dad was. A mangy, dirty, and neglected structure. Hesitantly knocking on "his" door, I found nor heard my dad or anyone for that matter. Panic had set in. I felt pissed off. Those feelings were not foreign when dealing with this man. Of course he wasn't at this house. Of Course He Wasn't There. He never was, why would he be now!

I heard a voice from across the street, my father's neighbor. I instantly felt a need to apologize to this man for witnessing any scenes my father may have caused.

" You looking for Mike? Who the fuck might you be?" Impressed by how eloquently this sloppy, 5 foot man spoke to me, I responded, "I'm an old friend, is he here or not? Is he even alive?" Continuing to address me in a lazy but non-welcoming manner, he mentioned how "terrible" and "disgusting" Mike's daughters and wife were. He proceeded to say "they abandoned that poor man and I helped get his life back." I'm not sure what irked me more, hearing him utter the words "poor man" or "abandoned." I no longer saw a sloppy, 5 foot man. I saw a cockroach. A cockroach who wanted a pat on the back for enabling another cockroach. I saw a cockroach who wanted recognition to distract from the inevitable trauma he caused in his life. However, this cockroach spewed one piece of significant information, my father's current address.
Anxiously getting back in my car, I thought to get out and smash that cockroach. I wasn't anxious because I feared that man. I wasn't scared. My anxiety was caused by the comforting thought of me smashing his face in.

Perhaps, there was one thing I was terrified of-- the possibility of my father's sobriety and finally obtaining an honest heart.

Creeping down his street slowly, I looked at the house numbers. I wasn't sure what to do now. I couldn't believe I would see him after this long.

Screaming, crying, and violently attacking him was one option.
Screaming, crying, and hugging him was another.
Or maybe I could just scream, cry, turn around and never entertain this field trip again.

My nerves had consumed me. I was a goner. I was not strong.
I finally arrived. Let's get out. This is what you drove nearly an hour to do. Just do it.

Almost forgetting I brought my family dog for the trip, I kissed his head and sighed. I couldn't say why I brought him. Maybe I wanted to comfort my dad with seeing a part of what he used to have. Or possibly I brought him for my sake.

I remember feeling so isolated from the real world. I remember the feeling of discomfort when walking up to knock on his door.

I had lost myself in thought while knocking. All the possibilities racing through my head. Knuckles sore from knocking so much, I finally heard foot steps.

A young woman and her mother had answered the door.
I am dead.

He replaced us. We weren't good for him. He found something better. Fucking asshole, I hate you.

"Hi...uh....can I help you?" the young woman had confusingly spoken. Equally confused, I replied with, "Hi, I'm sorry, but does a 'Michael Haugen' live here?"

She made a face. A certain face. A very, very familiar face. She seemed embarrassed to say he was with them. She sent a vibe.
He was a burden for them.
The mother or daughter didn't have a close relationship with him. He wasn't a father nor someone's significant other. Michael P. Haugen was a burden for these two.

As the two women walked away to get him, I tightened my jaw and stood tall.
Fuck. I hear his voice. He sounds so brittle and weathered.

Smiling from ear to ear, he welcomed me, " Hi, can I help you? I'm not sure who you are..."
Once again, I am dead.

I felt sick to my stomach. " Dad, it's me, Mary Grace...I'm your daughter"

His face went white. For once, he had made an appropriate expression and felt some emotion. I was a ghost from his past. He grabbed my arms gently and looked at my face for a while.
I felt his eyes and brain scanning me.

My dad never wanted to be a part of our lives. True love from a fraternal figure was never shown to me or my sisters. He stayed in the garage, smoking and drinking, while we were awarded MVP for a school sport.

He stayed in the garage missing our talent and growth while complete strangers witnessed it.

My father, Michael P Haugen, was never meant for this life he abandoned so long ago. I love Michael P Haugen for the person he was supposed to be. That is the extent of that.

I will never have a father. But I also will never be a size 0 in jeans. It will never be easy, I know this. But I have my whole life to accept and welcome that feeling. I have my whole life to share that feeling with people who have shown me true love. To those people: I love you.…...

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