by Thadd Presley
The last text he received from his daughter was already three days old. The phone sat in the passenger seat and he looked down at it hoping it would ring. If only he’d have left the minute he received her text. What could have been so wrong with checking in on her? Why hadn’t he done it already? He should have at least called her and spoke with her, shown some proof that he was there for her if she really needed him. He could have even asked her to come home. He could have demanded it.
Get you’re ass in the car and home this instant!! I don’t care what mom said. I said Now!!
Can a person demand their children these days?
Could he have demanded her?
Daphne! Home right this instant? No you can not, missy! Home Now!
He didn’t know if it would have worked, but he highly doubted it.
He could have tried anyway. While he was trying, he would have had an opportunity to tell her that he loved her.
“It would have been a good start to a decent conversation wouldn’t it,” he asked himself out loud and hit the steering wheel with his hand, hard. He hit it twice and closed his eyes.
He kept them closed a few second and allowed his voice to sink into his head. His ears still rang from the gunshot.
It was at this moment, with his eyes closed and his ears ringing, that he realized that he had truly become a different person. The Old Jerold was a weak, pitiful person. He would have never drove to his daughters house for a surprise inspection.
Worse than that, was the truth. The Old Jerold could have been three days ago, but he chose not to go. New Jerold was already on his way and he wasn’t leaving Crossville until she was safe once and for all.
Somewhere inside, trying to push his lukewarm ideas into New Jerold’s mind, was still the Old Jerold. Just as the high pitch ringing was left from the gunshot, so was Old Jerold’s ideas echoing against New Jerold. Nothing but an old vibration from the past drowning out the present and making it hard to focus on what had to be done. The two were far apart in frequency, creating a disharmony of thoughts as they clashed and bounced off one another.
The fears of the Old Jerold and the solutions of the New Jerold beat at one another.
They beat dangerously.
The Old Jerold couldn’t have approached this situation head on because he was afraid of losing everyone around him. Remaining quiet was his way of hanging on to this place in the background.
It was strange to realize just how different life could be.
How could he have ever thought that was the way to live? When now the thought of his lovely, gifted daughter living with a violent drug addict was unacceptable, three days ago he didn’t call her back.
That was Old Jerold.
New Jerold saw the situation clearer. This was his chance to leave the background. A visit was just the thing to set a new future into motion, not just for his daughter, but for everyone in his life. He had no choice but to do this, if he ever wanted to be able look at himself in the mirror again.
He’d been meaning to visit Daphne for over a month. Almost every weekend, he wondered how she spent her free time, but something always come up. It was never the right time.
He knew now that there was no such thing as the right time. Time was what you made it. If it’s not the right time, you make it the right time.
It was so easy to see all the mistakes he’d made throughout his life. Not just with his daughter, but also in his marriage. Dealing with problems when they arose was never his style. He’d quietly let them dissipate, as if he was trying to be an invisible force, in case someone noticed he was there and pointed out the fact that they didn’t want him around anymore.
He saw how those mistakes lead to this point. He was as much to blame as anyone.
For a moment, he thought about calling her. She wasn’t to blame for all of this. Why should she be interrogated and spied on by her father?
Of all the people to hit her with a “gothcha moment” and call her bluff, it shouldn’t be him.
It’s just Daphne. Go see her if you want to see her.
Two opposing thoughts crashed together and the ringing in his ears had become unbearable. He couldn’t hear anything else. Calling and announcing his visit was what Old Jerold would have done. It’s what she would have liked him to do. But he wasn’t Old Jerold and New Jerold wasn’t taking any chances.
He wanted to see her.
He wasn’t interested in seeing the person who she became when she knew her dad was on his way over. He wanted to see Daphne’s house before she got a chance to hide the bong and light incense, before she cleaned the kitchen and vacuumed the carpets. He wanted to see his daughter, God forbid, before she put on concealer and painted on a fake smile for the world to see.
HE WANTED HIS DAUGHTER, GOD DAMN IT.
And it would not to be long now.
The ringing in his ears swelled and Jerold had to stop thinking and focus on driving. The two lane road was winding before him and soon he would turn of Highway 27 and onto Old Nashville Highway. From there, except for a turn onto Genesis Road, it was only an hour to Crossville.
Yes, he wanted to see his wonderful daughter, his magnificent creation, in her natural setting. It was more important than anything.
He also needed to see Erik in the raw. He wanted to hear him speak in his real voice. It had suddenly become important to know the truth, to know why this relationship continued through all of the pain and misery.
Daphne could have ended this more than a year ago. She could have removed all of these problems herself. She didn’t have to put up with someone like him. She was beautiful like her mother, with dark skin and dark eyes, almost a pixie of a thing, she was very enchanting and mystical in her movements. She spoke with a graceful, flowing voice and walked in a fluid motion that Jerold hated to see men notice.
Yes, Daphne could do better. She would do better, because her dad said so.
Could he demand her to leave him? Would she listen to his advice?
Jerold didn’t know, neither Old or New had a clue.
He could try to explain, but those were just words and she would not comprehend the urgency he needed to communicate.
He couldn’t just tell her what to do and expect her to do it?
Someone was supposed to teach her all of these things years ago while she was a child, but her father had no clue of what a real life was until now and her mother was too busy climbing the corporate ladder at Citizen’s Community Banking and Trust.
Was it too late to try and change any of this?
He realized sadly that it might be far too late for all three of them.
Just go and do it.
Make the world a better place.
Show Daphne that her dad has become a strong man who is no longer afraid to protect her. Show her how easy it is to clean up her life.
He’d been told many times by his father to do things right the first time so you don’t have to do it again. But, did he ever listen?
The truth rang through clearly. He should have taken care of this problem the first time it reared it’s head. This was the third time and he would make sure there was never a fourth.