The Real World

The Real World

A Story by Kelley Quinn

Being like my father was the absolute last thing I had ever wanted to do in my entire 16 years of living. If I had to grow up to be like him, I might as well run away to Argentina and adopt myself into a new family where new parents and new habits would affect me. I’m 17 now and when I look back on the situation when he told me I was acting just like my father, I still get a little upset, but I understand now that I will grow up to be him, but how much of him I let show through is what I have control over.

            We rode bikes together through Caleb, my boyfriend’s, neighborhood to get to the Kroger on Crabapple Road. We hid the bikes behind some bushes and stepped into the fresh air conditioner and looked around. Mouths watering and limbs shaking, we migrated to the subs and deli area. I looked around and grabbed a sub and Caleb picked up a jelly-filled doughnut. “We should get some pizza for later tonight” I told him and he gestured towards the frozen food isle. The freezers were icy and cool, keeping their food prisoners behind frosted glass doors of opportunity. I chose a fresh pepperoni pizza and turned it over for the price. Caleb laughed: “5.14 for one pizza? What a ripoff”. For some bizarre reason this aggravated me. And suddenly I was extremely frustrated that Caleb did not understand that prices were going up and food was more expensive and gas was a ripoff too, that is why we rode bikes to Kroger instead of driving (not like he had his license anyway-it was me who drove all the time). So, seething in my surprising anger I spat at him, “Welcome to the real world.” And right as the words exited my mouth I slammed my teeth together and my eyes widened in horrible realization as to what I had just said.

            If a new friend were to meet my father they wouldn’t think anything is wrong with him. And, in a sense, there is nothing wrong with him. He’s extremely intelligent with a twisted sense of humor but gets along with most people. He is always working so hard on his projects for his companies that he has made. I could not be more proud of any man if I tried because I love him like any daughter would love her daddy. And if anyone asked me who the smartest man in the world is, I would say my father. But I also hate him. I hate how smart he is because, for the most part, he’s right all the time. That isn’t what I really hate though. I hate how he can’t be wrong. He won’t allow himself to. So when or if I ever tell him my opinion or that he is wrong, he will allow me to finish but, in the end, he is right and I am wrong.

            My sister and I have an inside joke about my father. His favorite line he likes to tell us, no matter what the situation (whether we forgot to do our chores or we’re late for an event or we have too much work to do and we complain) is “In the real world…” and for him, the line never gets old. My sister and I would always crack jokes and mock, “In the real world…no one cares” or “In the real world…shut up” because by the age of 10 we were both completely and most certainly done with the real world and we hadn’t even experienced it yet.

            When I told Caleb “welcome to the real world” I almost wanted to punch myself in the stomach because I couldn’t stand the fact that somehow and someway, my father had pushed and forced himself into my mind, causing me to say the very things I swore I never would. How could an idea I hated so much, an idea of a real world that very well didn’t even exist be somehow blooming in my mind? It didn’t make sense. What was even worse is that Caleb gave me a look of such disgust that I immediately backfired at him in anger. I did not apologize. I did not explain the situation to him. He knew exactly why I said it and how it related back to my father. He knew how rude it sounded and how much I hated the idea of a real world and yet there I was, spitting my father’s own words at my boyfriend. But while staring into the eyes of the only person who understood my hatred, I have never felt so judged in my life.

© 2012 Kelley Quinn

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Added on March 30, 2012
Last Updated on March 30, 2012
Tags: judgement, father, parents, dad, shopping, real world