Katie’s Feet

Katie’s feet pitter-pattered to our bedroom, waking us on Sunday mornings.

I’d be sober.
Janice would be drunk.

I’d make Katie pancakes.
I’d make Janice (Katie’s Mother) coffee, and bring her bottled water and a plate of food she never ate.

I’m sober.
Janice was drunk — again.

Katie’s tiny feet bounce the bed, waking me.
She’s a spittin’ image of her Mother, always gettin’ on my last nerve.
But I never leave. I could have and even should have.

But Katie’s feet pitter-pattered me back to reality (such as it was).

Katie’s feet pitter-pattered, knocking the bedroom door.
“Dad, can I borrow ten bucks? I’m going to the mall with Mindy.”
I opened my wallet, but she’d already taken fifty bucks.
I’d hand her another ten.

I was a money machine, and her mother was a drunk.
I was chilling on the couch, watching TV when I heard Katie’s feet pitter-patter to my presence.
I asked her if she needed money, and Katie said she didn’t, but she needed to tell me something.
I pressed a button on a device, and the sound muted.
I pressed another button, and the picture went black.
She stumbled over her words, and I told her to spit it out.
Katie told me she was pregnant. I almost lost my cool, but I didn’t. I swallowed a lump in my throat and said nothing.
Katie asked me to say something, anything. I had nothing to say.
She asked whether I was going to kick her out of the house. I promised that I wouldn’t.

Katie hugged me and told me it wouldn’t happen again.
I told her it was her life, but that she should be more responsible.
She told me she would.

I felt a pitter-patter to my bedroom door.
“Dad, are you ready?” Katie said.
“Almost,” I said. “I’m almost ready.”
“You know, we’re just going to live down the street, Dad.”
“It’s not going to be the same.”
“Oh, stop, Dad,” Katie said. “You’re going to make me cry.”

I walked her through an evenly lit corridor to where the pastor and her fiance stood. I had it in me to call the wedding off — to tell him he couldn’t marry my daughter.

I rest on a hospital bed, and I heard my granddaughter’s feet pitter-patter to my bed.
“You gonna be OK, Papa?” Sandra asked.
I lifted her off her feet, holding her close to my chest. “We’ll see,” I said. I just knew I was going to die. Cancer returned, and my eyes felt heavy. But the doctor said I’d be fine and how I had a panic attack.

I was smokin’ a joint when I heard Sandra’s feet pitter-patter to the Gazebo. I waved the smoke, but she had a contact high. I was horrible to watch her slur her words and laugh at nothing and everything at the same time.

Janice feet pitter-pattered to the Gazebo, too.

“I’m sober,” she said.

“Good for you, ” I told her.

(© 2020 by Andrew Cyr)

(Please check out my Wattpad page)

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