Remnants of Anne

ScentTree

“That bitch owes me money,” he said gruffly as he took another swig from the bottle. A drop of the thin, yellow liquid slid down his chin before being wiped away with the back of a withered hand.

She hated it when he got like this. Belligerent, obnoxious old fool. These were the moods that got him locked up all those times. These were the moods that got mother smacked in the mouth and made her leave. These were the moods she dreaded. In his youth, these moods were lusty declarations of manhood, charging in warlike and ready to conquer. But he was old now. Old and spent. She knew it was only talk — Just a little bravado to help him get past whatever it was he had to get past this time. She also knew it wouldn’t be very long before he calmed down enough to be reasoned with. A few more beers. A TV show. Maybe he’d slip out the secret stash of nudie pics he had tucked away… It really didn’t matter to her how he soothed himself when he got in one of his fits — Just so long as he did it and they could get back to the normalcy of this partnership. A Pairing of thieves. An endless meandering bond between father and daughter that left her feeling more like the parent than the child.

“That whore owes me money and then up and disappears? What does she expect me to do with it?” Again, he rambles on about the busted up car that his dead best friend’s wife left sitting at the mouth of the driveway. “Scrap it,” She offered. It would not be an acceptable answer, but it was the only one she had at the moment. “Just like you told her you would last week.”

He stood, spat some unintelligible, mutterings her way, and walked into the back porch which had been converted, years prior, into his private bedroom suite. Not that she’d been asked about any of this. He was just suddenly there… Doing what he does. Embedding himself into every facet of a person’s life so that they can never get away without an explosive discharge and a lot of mess to clean up.

Like what happened between him and her mother. Her name was Anne. In her youth she had been quite a beauty and, even after all the years of putting up with this life, she remained attractive. She’d been with her father nine years before she decided to leave. Clara was told that her mother’s plan was to return for her after the smoke cleared. Apparently the lugubrious stuff must still be hanging, as she never even tried to make contact with the child since that fateful day 20 years ago. Some people say she’s dead. Clara’s grandmother says she sent her a letter once from “somewhere in Spain,” telling her everything was ok and inquiring about the weather. Never any mention of the child. The old woman said that thinking of the child she left behind would break her heart, so she just doesn’t. Clara thinks that’s bullshit. Mother’s who love their children, don’t leave them alone with volatile drunks like Richard. Period.

~H

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