The Oddity of Feeling Complete

The Oddity of Feeling Complete

A Story by Emilia A
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A story that I wrote in a short amount of time for my school's literary magazine.

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He rang the doorbell and I took a deep breath in. I had to admit, I was more afraid for Ethan, than I was myself. The cold air pushed past my hood and I felt it sting my already rosy cheeks. Ethan’s younger step-sister, Marina, opened the big red door and gave Ethan a hug. I saw Ethan’s father looming in the distance, looking disapprovingly at his son.  He was not a bad looking man, but he was very rigid and uninviting. Ethan stepped through the door first, taking his hands out of his pockets and removing the snow hat he was wearing. I followed suit, removing my hood and mittens.

The house was modestly decorated and smelled of pine and linens. It felt an odd match for the tall figure leading us into the kitchen, even with a wife and daughter living with him. I took the liberty of pulling out a chair and taking a seat. Ethan sat at the end of the long, conference-like table. There was an awkward silence and Ethan’s voice was uneven when he finally spoke.

“So, how have things been going at work?”

His father turned to the cabinet and pulled out a short glass.

“Fine, I guess. Nothing that is of interest to you. Are you still trying to peddle off your paintings for money?”

Ethan took a deep breath and composed an answer.

“If by peddle, you mean, find a buyer, then yes. I've had a few people interested.”

His father shook his head, “I don’t know what I ever did to have an artsy-fartsy weirdo as son. You know, I had high hopes for you at one time, it’s no wonder I gave up so quickly,”  he laughed sickly, as if he had told the world’s greatest joke.

I had only just met Ethan’s dad and I could already see why he had wanted nothing to do with him. Ethan had told me that if we were going to be married, that I would have to meet his father. I had heard the stories, but promised myself I would hold back judgement until I had actually met the man. I needed no further proof now.

There really was no wonder why Ethan’s parents had split up when he was young. I can imagine the long screaming matches. The tears of Ethan and his mother, wondering what they might’ve done to upset him this time. This was something I tried not to think about, but it was a heartbreaking image burned into my brain. Despite all these troubles, there was something about Ethan that still held onto the desire to please his father.

His father picked up the glass that he had been drinking whiskey out of, tightening his grip. The comment about Ethan’s art seemed to throw him over the edge.

“What am I supposed to think?! You tell me that you’d rather live with your mother and that my money is the only thing making you stick around,” he slammed his fist onto the counter top, “All I asked of you was to make something out of yourself.  You work as an artist, Ethan! You live in a small apartment with this girl,” he flings his arm out, gesturing to me, “I don’t know her. I don’t know how you are making a life for yourself! Then, you disrespect me by coming into my home and insulting me.  How am I supposed to be proud of that? You walk in here like you’re trying to make amends, yet you open your mouth and having nothing remorseful to say.”

I cringed and wondered if I should say anything. It was wrong. I shook my head in disbelief. I watched Ethan’s face fall and I was worried that my heartbeat was heard by everyone in the room. I watched him blink back tears and I let a visible one fall, watching his face contort in anger.

“You’re the one who pushed me away! Don’t you see?” he slammed his fist onto the table, causing another loud bang, and got up from his chair.

“Everything I ever did wasn't good enough for you! I looked to you for love, for support, to tell me that I did a good job and you never did that for me! You brushed me off, sent me away, cursed at me,” he said through gritted teeth, “You beat me, pushed me around, told me I was worthless. What do I owe you for that?”

I couldn’t see into Ethan’s heart, or mind, but I imagined that all the memories flooded him at once. All the literal bruises, words like knives, disappointment and hatred through sideways glances. It was an overbearing thought, even for me. I couldn’t take watching this unfold, but I stayed and somehow found myself walking closer to where Ethan was standing.

I added hesitantly, “How can you treat your own son like this? It’s disgusting.”

His father exhaled sharply and threw the glass of whiskey to the floor.

“You’re not pinning the blame on me this time,” he met Ethan’s eyes, “That’s all your mother and you ever did to me. You all tried to blame everything on me and I am not going to stand here and let you treat me like this. I let you come here because I thought you’d have some respect for me and THIS is what you do to me? It’s ridiculous!”

He walked to the edge of the steps and called out to Marina.

“Get a broom and a dustpan, Marina! I need you to clean up something in the kitchen.”

Marina scurried down to the garage to retrieve the broom and the dust pan.

“I came here for you, Dad. I wanted to make an effort to be your son, but obviously that will never be good enough for you. I might not be able to be the son you always wished you had, maybe I even suck at being a normal human being, but I love this woman,” he looked to me, his eyes watering, “And I will love her the best I possibly can. I will marry her and I will treat her like she’s the only person in the world I’ve ever loved and that’s something I sure didn’t learn from you.”

He opened the door and slammed it shut, not thinking about the fact that I was still standing in the entryway. I worked up the courage to say the last words I have ever spoken to Ethan’s father.

“I honestly believe deep down you love Ethan. He’s made me very happy and he’s tried to make you happy too, whether you accept that or not, but you are awful. You might be his biological father, but you are not his Dad.”

I opened the door and and slammed it shut. I took in a deep breath, but it seized my lungs with cold. It was the cold that sets into your bones, but I was already feeling iced over after what just happened.

I walked down the driveway and found Ethan sitting in the passenger’s seat of the car. For all the abuse, mental and physical, that his father had thrown on him over the years, he held a strong front, despite the tears that were gliding down his cheeks. I got into the driver’s seat, started the car, and turned on the heat.

He was stoic and didn’t say anything as I pulled out of the driveway.

“I think your father does love you,” I said boldly.

He continued to look out the passenger’s window.

“I mean it,” I said softly, “The problems that he has with you, are problems that he has within himself. Although, you’re a much better person than I am. I would have never been able to take that kind of a beating.”

“Well, I hope he beats himself up about it too,” he turned to me, “Sometimes you have to endure the worst parts of things to truly understand them,” he spoke softly, “I have spent so long trying to gain his approval of anything and everything and it’s not going to happen. I feel the wound has been torn open, but I feel this is the last time. Is it wrong that I pity him?”

“No,” I shook my head, “When someone feels the absence of love, we should take pity on them. I feel that pity is the form of love that can’t be returned. You feel deeply for someone, yet know in your heart that they can’t mirror that same feeling to you.”

He played with the latch to the glove compartment.

“Funny way of looking at it isn't it?” He said, his voice cracking.

“I suppose,” I clicked the heat down a notch, “We find other ways to cope with life because we can’t choose not to feel, as hard as we may try, so we must feel it completely, in the oddest of ways.”

© 2014 Emilia A



Author's Note

Emilia A
I wrote this for my school's literary magazine and it is my first attempt at a longer piece.

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Featured Review

“No,” I shook my head, “When someone feels the absence of love, we should take pity on them. I feel that pity is the form of love that can’t be returned. You feel deeply for someone, yet know in your heart that they can’t mirror that same feeling to you.”
A well interesting story. I like the storyline and the above lines stood out to me. You create strong characters and I like the ending. Thank you for sharing the excellent story.
Coyote

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Emilia A

3 Years Ago

You always provide such nice reviews and I'm glad that someone as talented as yourself shares with o.. read more
Coyote Poetry

3 Years Ago

I enjoy your work also. Thank you.



Reviews

“No,” I shook my head, “When someone feels the absence of love, we should take pity on them. I feel that pity is the form of love that can’t be returned. You feel deeply for someone, yet know in your heart that they can’t mirror that same feeling to you.”
A well interesting story. I like the storyline and the above lines stood out to me. You create strong characters and I like the ending. Thank you for sharing the excellent story.
Coyote

Posted 3 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Emilia A

3 Years Ago

You always provide such nice reviews and I'm glad that someone as talented as yourself shares with o.. read more
Coyote Poetry

3 Years Ago

I enjoy your work also. Thank you.

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Added on May 20, 2014
Last Updated on May 20, 2014
Tags: family, son, daughter, mother, father, wife, love, heartache, acceptance

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Emilia A
Emilia A

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"Writing is feeling when your eyes cannot truly see." Obviously, I love to read and write and I ended up here! Writing is truly something that everyone can do and there is no right, or wrong. I'm j.. more..

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