I am very pleased to bring you a fictional short story from published author and blogger, Abbie Johnson-Taylor.
SINS OF THE FATHER (Fiction)
by Abbie Johnson Taylor
“Where were you last night?” I asked my son, once we were settled at the kitchen table with coffee and store-bought cinnamon rolls. He’d shown up, unannounced, and I knew why.
He stared down into his coffee. “Like I told Carrie, I was at the hospital late with a patient. But she didn’t believe me. She let me slip into bed with her after I got home last night, but this morning, she kicked me out. She didn’t even fix me breakfast.”
I gave him my iciest stare. “Carrie called me at midnight, saying she couldn’t reach you on your cell. When she called the hospital, she was told you left at eleven. She was worried. I felt I had no choice but to tell her about your father.”
“Dad? What about Dad?”
“You’re just like him. So, who did you go to bed with last night instead of Carrie?”
He sighed. “Remember Jamie, that sixteen-year-old girl who had a heart transplant? I told you about her last week when we all had supper together.”
“You had sex with your sixteen-year-old heart patient?”
“No! Of course not! I’m not that stupid!” he spat. Then, with a sigh, he said, “Lydia was her nurse. We went out for a drink or two after Jamie died. One thing led and…” His voice broke, and he hung his head.
“Well, I’m sorry about your patient, but I’m not surprised at your behavior. It was the same way with your father when he lost a client.”
“What do you mean?”
“He was defending a man convicted of murder and sentenced to death. For years, he fought to stay the execution. At the end, a female paralegal worked with him on the case. The night of the execution, your father came home very late. I figured he had to tie up some loose ends or something after the man died. But when he slipped into bed next to me at three in the morning, he smelled of booze and sex. Apparently, he hadn’t bothered to shower after the act. In the morning, when I confronted him, he told me the truth, and I forgave him.”
“Okay, so, why didn’t you tell Carrie that? This is the first time I’ve ever cheated on her. I promised her it would never happen again. She’s the only one for me but…”
“The paralegal wasn’t your father’s only conquest. Things were fine for a while. Then, someone else came along, a secretary, another attorney. Once, it was a client’s wife. Each time, he confessed and said it would never happen again, that I was the only one for him. I didn’t want to leave him because of you and Debbie. My own parents split up when I was eleven, and I vowed my children would never be in the same boat. But now that you both are grown with your own lives…”
Not looking at his face, I stood, picked up my plate with my untouched roll and carried it, along with my full coffee cup, to the sink. As I disposed of the contents of the plate and cup and rinsed them before putting them in the dishwasher, he said, “That explains why your suitcase and purse are here by the back door. I thought you were going to a writers’ conference or something.”
I slammed shut the dishwasher door and turned to him, hands on hips. “When Carrie called me last night, frantic because she didn’t know where you were, I invited her over, and we had a nice visit. We’ve gotten along so well since the two of you were married last year.”
“Your father had yet another late night, and she was gone by the time he came home. Anyway, we decided to strike out on our own. For now, she’s invited me to move into your apartment with her. Eventually, we’ll find a place where we can each have our own space. I saved some of the money I made from book sales, and Carrie is removing, from your joint bank account, the income she’s made so far from her physical therapy job. That should be enough to support us for now, and my new book will come out next year.”
A look of shock crossed his face.
“Tim, I love you, but I’m extremely disappointed in you. I thought I’d raised you to be a better man than your father, but this sort of thing must be in the genes. I’m just thankful you haven’t had a chance to get Carrie pregnant yet.”
“She can’t get pregnant,” he blurted.
“That’s no excuse.”
His face reddened. “I’m not saying it is.”
At that moment, his father walked into the room. Eyeing us with a curious expression, he said, “Tim, what are you doing here? Leah, what are your suitcase and purse doing by the back door? I don’t remember you saying you were going out of town.”
Turning to him, I said, “And where were you last night? No! Don’t tell me. I already know. I don’t need to hear for the umpteenth time that she means nothing, that I’m the only one for you. Well, if I were truly the only one for you, you wouldn’t need any of those women.”
He looked aghast but said nothing.
“I’m sure Tim will be glad to explain why he’s here. All I can say is like father like son.”
I picked up my suitcase and purse, marched out the back door into the garage, got in my car, and drove away, not looking back.
Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of two novels, two poetry collections, and a memoir and is working on another novel. Her work has appeared in Magnets and Ladders, The Weekly Avocet, and other publications. Please visit her website at: https://www.abbiejohnsontaylor.com
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