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Periaktoi Writing Post

Volume 50
Issue 1

Single Visual Art Post

Francesca Watkins

He shouted for another drink, drowned in his sorrows. It might not be correct, but it was my right to get wasted. Besides, this helps me forget.

Wait...what am I trying to forget? NO. Don't...oh, god, Liz—

"Where's your coat, Al?"
He swung his head to the right, squinting to focus in on the person who was speaking.
She had dirty blonde hair, pulled back, and wore a gray pant suit with a light blue polo. And her
eyes were moving, no, brown. And she was staring down at him with something resembling
sadness. She looked good, almost like Jen—

Oh. OH. Oh no.

Al straightened up immediately, sweeping his hair back and straightening his tie, then,
looking down, realizing that his tie was gone. What happened to it? Did I lose it at the last bar?

"Hey, lady, let's see some ID."

Jennifer glanced at the bartender, set her purse on the bar, and started rummaging through

"I'm 20. And I'm not here to drink. I'm taking my father home." She pulled out a wallet.

"I'm positive that he lost his money with his jacket. How much does he owe?"

"$45. But look, lady, I can't accept this money from you."

"Then you'll accept it from him." She handed Al a 50 dollar bill. "Please give this to..."
Jen glanced at the bartender's shirt. "I'm sorry, what's your name?"

"His name is Billy. Billy the bartender," Al said, leaning back in his chair. He realized a
bit too late that it had no back, and was about to fall backward when Jennifer caught him,

buckling slightly under his weight. After heaving him upright, she looked at him expectantly. He
stared back at her, dazed.

"The money, Al. Give Billy the money."

Oh. Right. Al placed the 50 in Billy's hand. "Don't spend it all in one place."

"Are you ready to go?" Jennifer looked at him expectantly. Her eyes were still sad, but
with a steely determination. They seemed to say "Whether you are ready or not, it's time to go."

"Yeah. Yeah, I'm ready." He stood slowly, moving cautiously to avoid his daughter having
to catch him again. One step in front of the other.

Jennifer marched towards the door and held it open for him. After he passed through it
she immediately walked to her white Volvo and opened the passenger door for him.

How dare she?... I'm not a child! He slid in, seething. He stole a glance her way, and was
somewhat surprised to see that her face was virtually unchanged.

"Buckle up," she said with a sigh. Buckle up! BUCKLE UP! Who does she think she is?

"Why are you even here?"

"I was worried," she whispered quietly.

"And so you just yank a grown man out of a bar? Did you forget that I'm your father?"

The harsh, empty words kept flowing out of him. He needed to be angry with someone. Anyone.
Even if it was her.

"Oh course I didn't forget. That's exactly why I found you." Her voice was steely with
thinly veiled rage.

"You humiliated me—"

"You SCARED me. You know if you had called, texted me, told me SOMETHING about
where you were going, I would have been fine. But you just ditched after the funeral. One
moment, you're at Meg's with family, the next, you're gone. After 30 minutes I start looking for
you. I go back to the church. You're not there. I go back home. You're not there. So now I'm
really worried. I'm calling family, friends, anyone I can think of to see if they've heard from you.
No one has. I'm panicking. And then I talk to Meg, and she says you might be in a bar. So I've
been searching every dark, dank, disgusting bar for the last two hours trying to find you."

"And it didn't occur to you once that I just wanted to get away, that I just wanted to
forget?" He shouted.

"Oh, excuse me if that didn't occur to me." Her voice started to become strained.

"Excuse you?" Al was bellowing at the top of his lungs.

"YES!" She screamed. "Excuse me that I didn't want to lose two parents in one week!"

The rest of the trip was completely silent. Al stared at Jennifer's face as the highway
lights made her tear streaked face illuminate and then disappear. When she pulled up to the
house, Jennifer entered without a word to Al. She went directly to her room and closed the door.
Al went to his room, now his alone.

Habits die hard through generations. There is no truer example than this. Albert Costard
is a reformed alcoholic who recently relapsed. Jennifer Costard, his daughter, is a 3rd year
college student who has never touched spirits. One male, one female. One old, one young. Yet on
this night, the night after Elizabeth Costard's funeral, they both, in different rooms,
simultaneously sit on a bed, curl into a ball, and cry