Father, Forgive Me!

Welcome to Author Next Door!

I told the greeter that both of you
were parking your cars,
since wait time was twenty minutes
and you’re usually both on time.
But the blinking red lights flashed
and the small black square
vibrated its summons after only five minutes,
so when he asked if you were still parking,
I said, “yes.”

I don’t know where that came from.
I could have told the truth–
that neither of you was here yet–
and waited, like the rest of the crowd at lunch.
But–I lied.
It just came out
much too easily
for someone who complains
about speeders in the school zone,
students who say they were sick when
they really stayed home to finish a project, and
parents who are willing to fire a cannon
into a teacher’s face to cover their golden child’s latest misstep.

So, I ordered queso for the three of us
and waited…
and waited…
and the waitress asked–
again–
if the two of you had gotten lost in the parking lot.
She must have known.
“Maybe they’ve given up.”
I should have, too.
But I pulled out my cell phone,
left a message on Clare’s, and got a startled “hi”
from Jan, who told me why you both weren’t there.
Disconnecting,
finally I was truthful. Sort of.
I told her I thought my friends had ditched me,
changed my order to go, apologized for taking up a table,
and left a three dollar tip.

It helps if you write a meeting down in the correct month.
And have girlfriends who fall off their chairs laughing when you admit what you’ve done.

Karen Taylor Saunders

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