“Nothing weird about it, sweetie. I know for a fact that a couple of us single parents are taking our adult kids with us. It’s not a ‘date’, just keeping your old man company at his reunion.”
My face feels tight like it might crack if I even try to speak.
“I told you about it weeks ago,” he chimes in, turning to scramble the eggs in the pan.
I kinda do remember him mentioning his college reunion, but after the incident with the Trent photo, I figured he wasn’t going.
We were putting some of my things up in the attic once I got home from college, all the stuff I won’t need anytime soon. When I happened across an old box of his own college stuff.
“Oh wow,” he’d exclaimed. “I thought all that had been thrown out years ago, after your mom…” but he never finished any sentences with the word ‘your mom’ in them.
Ignoring what he’d been about to say, he finished hefting my trunk into an empty corner and I start to pick through his dusty old box of memories. Pulling out a yearbook first and then a framed photograph.
Dad has never raised his voice at me, not ever. But as soon as he saw the picture, he snatches it from my hands and growled.
“And this! This isn’t your business either, gimme that!” he’d snapped, wrenching the back of the frame off and tearing the photo up into pieces right in front of me.
Apart from being shocked at my dad’s weird behavior, I also got to see enough, confirming the other two people in the photo from the yearbook after my dad had stormed off.
It was a picture of my dad, my mom, and my dad’s childhood buddy, Trent Latham.
Best buddies for life until something happened, which I guess I’ll never know.
I haven’t mentioned the incident since, but I have to admit, I’m surprised my dad’s even considering going to his college reunion, let alone asking me to go with him if that was how he’s likely to handle his past.
I kept the yearbook though, and after almost surprising myself by skipping over my mom’s photo, I can safely say it wasn’t hard to do.
Trent Latham though.
The man was a god back then, as much as he is today.
In fact, I think he’s even more handsome today than he was when he was my age, back in college.
Back then, Trent Latham was a college football star. The head jock, and by all accounts a bit of an asshole.
But my god, was he attractive, still is.
Did I mention that? I think I mentioned that.
“I guess Trent Latham won’t be there, at your reunion I mean,” I hear myself say a little too loudly, making my dad tense up.
He doesn’t turn around or even get angry, but I can see him grappling with his emotions before he finally relaxes a bit, laughing nervously to himself.
“Oh, honey. I’m sorry about the other week. I really lost it for a second, seeing that photo… It just brought back a lot of bad memories for me. Mostly about your—” he starts but doesn’t finish.
I know he wants to say ‘your mom’, but apart from knowing what he means by that near mention of her, I can tell it wasn’t about her that day and it’s not about her now either.
He lifts our eggs off the stove, and serving up some on each plate next to the toast and bacon he’s also prepared, he sits himself down opposite me, heaving a heavy sigh before he says anything else.
“Yeah. Trent Latham will be there, apparently,” he forces himself to say without being able to hide his chagrin but creasing his mouth in more of an ironic expression than a smile.
“He’ll be there, and the whole room… The whole college will be kissing his ass, as usual, telling him how great he was. Reminding us all just how great he is today,” he groans, frowning at his food after bringing the fork to his mouth, not even able to eat now.
“That’s why I want you to come with me, Brooke. As my friend as well as my only daughter I want to show off. I could use the moral support,” he murmurs, pouting as he gives me an overdone performance of puppy dog eyes I don’t think anyone could refuse.
“Well, if you say he’ll be there— I mean. If you need some moral support,” I say encouragingly, recovering my words enough to correct myself.
“Thanks, honey. It’d mean a lot.” He sighs, wrinkling his nose at his breakfast again and sipping some coffee before he notices the time.
“Ah, shoot. I gotta run,” he exclaims, leaping up from his chair and grabbing his jacket slung over the back of it, leaning over to kiss the top of my head on his way out.