“Sheila, why are you at Home Depot for that stuff? I’ll just pick it up at a CVS on my way over.”
I headed over to my dad’s place last night to help Sheila pack up my dad’ apartment. She was in full blown undiluted panic. I took on the task of packing the books, the hundreds of books my dad read while in his recliner, a hand-knitted afghan draped over it with a few old throw pillows for extra comfort. His pipe stand was next to the chair, along with a half-read book. I put them aside for a box I’d take with me.
Sheila was manic, all right, not visibly sad really, just boinging back and forth like a Road Runner cartoon, all the while talking talking talking. She spent her entire time in the bedroom, packing, I think, but also talking on the phone with friends. I heard things I didn’t want to hear, making me fear for MacKenzie’s future.
“Shit, no, Gil. I can’t afford to get into trouble right now.” What kind of trouble was she already in? Was she still using? Given her behavior, it was certainly a possibility. I know she was smoking pot all last night, adding to whatever other confusion was in her system.
Shit. This is so not good.
“I had to get rid of MacKenzie tonight. She was driving me crazy with all her damn questions. I didn’t want to hit her anymore. Dropped her off at her no-good father’s house. He’s such a damned liar. Says he’ll take care of her anytime I need it, but when I ask him, he ain’t there! I told him when I first got pregnant, he’d better do something, and he kept puttin’ it off and puttin’ it off. Then when I got to the clinic, they told me it was too late.”
I don’t want to hear this. “I bet you’re glad that you didn’t do anything.”
“Now I am. Your dad said it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I think he meant it was the best thing that happened to him. He loved that girl. He sure did.”
I was sweating in the heat of the apartment, angry at her words.
“My dad wouldn’t give a shit about flowers.” I yelled out to her. “I’ve told everyone that instead of flowers, I’d like to set up a college trust fund for MacKenzie. I can have my lawyers do that when I get back. I already talked to the family, and they want to do that, too.”
“That’s good. That’s good.” I’m not sure she understood that she would not be able to have access to the money.
“It just seems like that’s what my dad would want.”
“I don’t know what I’m gonna do with her damn father. He ain’t ever there when he say he’s gonna be.”
We were having two different conversations, and I stopped talking as I continued to put books into boxes.