Contains: Mild Cursing...
The sound of a loud BEEP cut through the air of the quiet and dark room where you slept. Groaning, you began to slap your nightstand in your lazy attempt of finding your cell phone. After feeling a rubbery case, you picked it up, lifted your face from your pillow, eyes open, and unlocked the device, which caused you to squint. Shutting off the alarm that had disturbed you from your dream and locking the phone, you let your head fall back onto the soft and plush pillow.
Pulling your hand back under the covers, taking the phone along with you, you tried to fall back asleep, not wanting to face the day. “It's too early for this,” you yawned out, a small stretch following close after.
As soon as you thought you could get away with sleeping in, you were proven wrong. A hand came on your shoulder and shook it gently, kisses peppering the back of your head and side of your face. You kept a smile from coming onto your face. Hearing an accented laugh, and feeling fingertips begin to tickle your side, you couldn't help but start laughing yourself. “Réveilles-toi, ______!” Laughed your uncle, Francis. He was always the one to wake you up in the morning, and he woke you up this way every day.
Sighing in defeat, you opened both eyes and looked up at him, a smile formed on your face. “Come on, time for breakfast!” He threw off your covers and pulled you up and onto his back. You laughed, wrapping your arms around his neck, trying to hold on and not choke him in the process. He carried you out of your bedroom, your head ducking as you passed under the door frame. “Put me down, Uncle Frenchie!” You giggled as the both of you entered the kitchen.
Your aunt, Alice, who was reading the newspaper, looked up at the both of you, chuckling some. “Oh come now, Francis, let the poor girl eat her breakfast. She's got a big day ahead of her,” She reminded him.
Francis sent a wink her way, squatting down some so you could get off. Unwrapping your legs from his torso and letting go of his neck, your feet touched the ground at an instant. “That's right, ma petite ______'s birthday is today.” He said, turning around and giving you a big bear hug, something you believed him to be famous for. You hugged him back, nodding in agreement to his statement.
“Joyeuse Anniversaire, ______.” He let you go and pulled out a chair for you to sit down. “Thanks, uncle Francis,” you genuinely said. Alice laughed and got up, going to get the breakfast dishes as Francis sat down. She came back holding two plates stacked with pancake. She sat a plate in front of your uncle and one in front of you, kissing your cheek and giving you a hug from behind before you began to eat.
“Happy birthday, love.” Alice let go of your figure and passed by Francis, giving him a kiss on the cheek as well. You thanked her, beaming at your aunt as she hurried to get her suitcase. “Good luck at the meeting!” You called out, grabbing your utensils so you could begin cutting the delicious looking pancakes in front of you. “Bonne chance!” Hollered your uncle before he took a bite of the flapjack. “Thank you!” she shouted, the sound of a door closing shut following after.
After a long pause, you looked up at Francis. “You cooked this, right?” Another quiet aura entered the room, making an awkward silence. Then the unique laughter that belonged to the both of you rung through the house.
After getting dressed, you were finishing up your attire for the school day by putting on light and natural looking eye-makeup. Just as you were finishing up the mascara, your cell phone began to ring. Cursing under your breath, you quickly finished off combing your lashes and bolted for the cell phone, which was entangled with your bedsheets.
Two rings later, you found the cell and answered the call, not noticing who was the person calling. “Hello?” You asked, taking in a few deep breaths. “Hey squirt,” said a familiar voice. “DAD!” you shrieked from joy, standing up from your bed. His laughter filled your ears and you couldn't help but smile. “Look, I've gotta be fast, kiddo. I just wanted to wish you a happy birthday and I hope you have a great day, ______.”
Your smile faded some as you thought of spending another birthday without your dad. “Thanks dad... I miss you,” you murmured, feeling your eyes moistening up. “I miss you too,” he replied, sighing. There was some scuffling coming through the phone and you could make out a person talking, mentioning Alfred's name. After a few seconds of silence and barely audible conversation, your dad came back on the line. “Hey, I’m sorry, but I've gotta go. I love you, kiddo.”
At those words, you felt the tears attempting to break out of the corners of your eyes. “Love you too, dad.” As soon as the phrase left your lips, the call was cut off. Your phone locked itself a few seconds later. You slowly lowered your hand, licking your lips. “See ya in a few months...” All the excitement had left your expression. You were happy that you had herd from him and you were glad to have short contact, but you still wished you could give him a hug.
You felt the tears tickle out of the corners of your eyes. After a few seconds of a depressed expression clouding your face, realization hit you. You bolted up and looked at the mirror, seeing your mascara had been running. Cursing yet again, you grabbed a tissue and started cleaning up the corners of and bottoms your eyes. Just as you were about to start touch-ups, you glanced at your clock from the mirror, seeing the inverted time.
Looking back over you shoulder so you could actually see the time, your eyes widened. Grabbing your bag and your cell phone, you bolted for the front door. “BYE UNCLE FRANCIS!” You called out as you shut the door. You could've sworn he was calling you back inside, but you kept running, wanting to get to the bus stop on time, without the bus driver having to stop and lecture you about the importance of being on time.
It wouldn't be a long run, since it was down the block. You jogged for a while until you reached the rest of the crowd that was waiting for the bus to take them to the school. After a few minutes of waiting, you and the rest of the kids were loading onto the bus, hearing the sarcastic and nasally sound of your bus driver saying “Good morning” to every two or three people that passed her. You sat down in the middle section of the bus, leaning back on the seat.
A few minutes later, the morning headache started. You hoped to drown out the sound of other teenagers acting like wild animals, but you knew that wasn't happening any time soon.
Well, maybe you could.
After all, you did have the conversation between you and your father on your mind. You also had emotions rolling around. You missed him, and you missed him badly. You remembered the last time you saw him, two years ago, the day of his deployment, as if it was clear as day...
~~~You looked down at the floor of the airport, tears falling out of your eyes, down your cheeks, onto the waxed tiles of the airport.
Alfred finally faced you after departing from his eldest and adopted sister, Alice, younger brother, Matthew, and brother in law, Francis. Your dad looked at you as he slung his duffel bag around his back. You herd his boots squeak and felt a pair of arms wrap around you.
You buried your head in your dad's shoulder and engulfed his neck in a hug, crying but saying nothing. You were too chocked up to form any words.
His big hands cupped your face and he began wiping your tears away, shushing you as you hiccuped. You continued looking down at the glossy floor, not wanting to meet his gaze. Alfred sighed and pleaded, “Come on, squirt. Look at me.” The nickname he had always called you pulled your heart in many different directions, but you obeyed and looked at him, your blood shot eyes hitting his glassy looking ones. “Now listen to me,” he began. “This isn't going to be forever, alright. I’m going to be back. I pinky promise,” he said, holding out his pinky finger.
You couldn't help but crack a smile on your quivering lips. You sniffed and wrapped your pinky finger around his. You saw his own eyes getting just as red as yours. He looked over your face and, after a few seconds of capturing every single detail he saw, pulled you in for a tight, bone crushing bear hug. You embraced him just as tightly, or at least you tried to.
After a while of a long, tight, and wordless cuddle, a man came up behind Alfred and tapped him on the shoulder. “Jones...” He said, a sympathetic yet firm tone coming off his words. Alfred looked up at the man and nodded, then quickly turned his attention back to you. He patted your back, and you nodded, your eyes meeting his. He kissed your forehead, and let you go. “I love you, ____,” he said.
Still being too chocked up to say anything, you nodded and mouthed back the words to him. You saw another glassy layer come over your dad's eyes as he stood up. He and the man both began to walk away, leaving you behind. You continued looking at the back of your dad, more tears falling down your face than before. 'I’m going to miss you so much, dad,' you thought, feeling that lump in your throat rise even more, if that was even possible.
You felt two hands place themselves on your shoulders. You looked up and saw your uncle and aunt, both having a sad smile on their face. Alice, your aunt, had red rims around her eyes and tear stained cheeks. You felt another hand rub your back. Turning your head just a little more, you saw your other uncle, Matthew, with his own saddened and tear streaked face.
There was a silence between the four of you as you all looked at the back of Alfred Jones as he continued to walk, getting farther and farther away. Soon, he had disappeared in the crowd of people, and you all faced each other. Faster than a speeding bullet, you all embraced each other in a big group hug. Francis had you and Alice in one bear hug and Matthew hugged both you and your aunt from behind. Even with the tight and big bear hug that you were in, even in the arms of your uncle Francis, who you believed had a talent for giving the best hugs ever, it wasn't the same as the hug you had gotten from your father.
It just wasn't the same...~~~
“___!” The nasally voice of your bus driver disturbed your thoughts and brought you back to reality. You looked up, now noticing the empty bus and the scenery change. Instead of being at a traffic light, you were at the bus loop of the school. “Come on, child! Get off!” nagged the woman. You quickly grabbed your things and scrambled out of the bus, trying to escape the evil and menacing expression on the driver's face. Getting on the cemented ground, looking at the main building of the school, you sighed and slung your backpack over your shoulders.
“Another day in paradise,” you mumbled, sarcasm dripping from your words.
The school day sped by fast, and you received a whole bunch of compliments and happy birthday wishes and gifts from your friends. Thanking them for every single thing they said or did or gave, you quickly would recoil back into your thoughts, not wanting to be disturbed yet at the same time dieing to be dragged out of the recurring memories of your dad.
The only time you were dragged out of your thoughts was during your favorite elective, ______. It always got you thinking on what you were doing, and it also brought positive thoughts to your mind. Even though for the most part you weren't thinking of your father, it helped some.
That elective class might have been the highlight of the entire school day.
You got off the school bus... well, more like pushed off the bus. The kids were just as anxious to get away from the school experience as you were. Landing on your knees, you scrambled back up before you became the ground that the other crazy ass teenagers would trample over. Sometimes you wondered if you were the only sane child on this entire bus.
Dusting yourself off, you began walking to the house. Before you even took a step, you herd a car honking and the oh so familiar voice of your aunt Alice calling you over. “___! Come along, darling! We're going to pickup Matthew from the airport!”
You grinned largely and ran for the van where Francis was in the driver's seat and Alice took the place of the passenger, right next to him. Opening the trunk and putting in your backpack, you closed it quickly and got in the back seat, rushing to get your seat belt on. “I can't believe he's stopping by!” You said, all excited.
Francis and Alice smiled at each other knowingly, leaving you confused.
“What's going on, guys?” You asked, furrowing your eyebrows. “Nothing, it's just we've got a little birthday surprise for you, after we pick up Matthew,” answered Alice. Francis accelerated some, making a left onto the road. You thought for a while, trying to figure out what the surprise could be. After guessing aloud many, many, things that were extremely off, you began to grumble to yourself.
“Come on, can you at least give me a hint?” You whined, giving Alice the best puppy dog eyes you could. “Please aunt Alice?”
You chose the wrong person to beg to. She shook her head, reaching into her bag and pulling out some romantic novel, she opened to the page she had bookmarked and began to read. Francis kept his eyes on the road. It was quiet, aside from the hum of the car and the other cars around you, and the constant flipping of one page after one or two minutes.
Sighing, you pulled out your cell phone and began to play a few games that you had, eventually settling on sodoku. After a while, maybe thirty minutes, you felt your phone vibrating and you heard the shut down tone play. Mentally cursing, you looked at the screen until it became pitch black. With a puff of air shooting through your nose, you let the phone drop on your lap.
'So much for entertainment,' you thought, looking out at the window. You glanced over at your aunt and uncle, smiling some. Alice's family had adopted Alfred and Matthew, who were blood relatives. They were all a super close family, and Francis was the friend who tagged along and helped Alice whenever she had to babysit her younger siblings. Eventually, the two became a couple and got married, living happily. There was always some sort of excitement in their household, so their lives were never boring. You were glad to be apart of that lively household for the two years you've been there. Thinking of your family, you soon began to daydream.
After picking up Matthew and having a very VERY long conversation and getting a cute little stuffed bear from your uncle, they stopped at a gas station, since uncle Francis exclaimed that the car was almost out of gasoline. No one obliged to the actions, so right now you were sitting in a car, all alone, waiting for your family to get back in the car.
Alice swore that she needed some help getting something, so she asked Matthew to come along to assist her, which he didn't exactly complain. Of course, you were very oblivious at the moment and forgot to wonder why to get a few things and to get gas required three people. You were too happy thinking about having your family here with you for your birthday, but after the thought circled around in your mind a few times, the happiness left. There was one person missing after all.
Soon, you began to think about your dad; him being in the army, probably seeing him in a few months... or more depending on the circumstances with him. Things were always changing with the work he did. You remembered him saying that it wouldn't have been so long; that it would possibly be a few months time before he came back, but you knew very well now that it wasn't just three or four months of work. It had turned out being longer than you both expected. Looking back at it, time to time, it made you angry, furious at times, but you knew this was his life. The military was his job, and you reminded yourself that you had to deal with it and always think positive, but you, above many people, knew that it was hard to keep a positive perspective on things, especially when there is not a lot of communication.
The door opening suddenly pulled you out of your thoughts, and being pulled out of your seat into strange arms caused a loud scream to escape your mouth. “OH MY GOD!” exclaimed the voice belonging to this stranger. Your chest slammed into a man's chest and you were enveloped into strong and muscular arms, your head pressed against this person's shoulder as a rather large hand caressed the back of your head. Your feet were lifted off the ground, causing you to gasp.
Of course, you where freaking out.
This person knew you, but you had NO idea who it was. In your curious attempt to find out who this man was, you began to wiggle, trying to get out of this guy's grip, and you had no luck. “Stop moving, squirt!” hollered the man. You could hear him sniffling, as though he was crying. Then it hit you. After a second of shock, even with you being lifted in the air, you managed to jump and wrap your arms around the man's neck, tears dropping from your eyes.
“Dad!” you cried out, chuckling some as you sniffed back some mucus. After a long hug, you both pulled back, still in each others grip. You had a stupid smile on your face, as did Alfred, and the two of you broke into joyful laughter. You herd a scream coming from the front of the gas station, and soon found Alice hugging your father from behind, spitting ecstatic words at him, using English slang that no one understood. You looked at you aunt, and you couldn't help but giggle at her reaction. Francis came up and observed the whole scene, his eyes wide and a crooked smile on his face. The only one who seemed completely unfazed by this was Matthew.
“Damn Mattie! Why didn't you tell me they were gonna be here!?” Exclaimed Alfred, casting over a playful glare at his younger brother. Matthew smiled big and said in his quiet and timid voice, “It was a surprise.” He had a cheery tone in his voice when he said that.
It then dawned on Alfred and then he looked at you. A sheepish smile formed on his face and he said, “Sorry, squirt. I didn't get a chance to get you a present.”
You grinned from ear to ear.
“Are you kidding me!? I HAVE THE BEST PRESENT RIGHT HERE!”