(Wiggie, Dana and) Kyle's plan is working out: Patrick lets Sheena in again.
18. Teenage mutant photo intervention
As soon as Mom had left the house to do some grocery shopping Wiggie and I crept down the stairs, making sure that Dad hadn't left his office. I listened at his door for a second, he was talking on the phone.
"All clear," I whispered over to the girl and joined her in the middle of the living room.
"Whea do ve set dis ap?"* she looked around.
"Dad should see it right when he walks out the door. How about over there?" I pointed at the wall facing my father's office door.
Wiggie agreed and we hurried into my room to get the surprise. A minute later we were back on the stairs, a huge cardboard spread between me and the Austrian, who was walking backwards.
When she almost tripped she grunted, "Maybe ve shouldn't haf glued it togesa apstairs. Woult haf been smarta to do so downstairs."**
Maybe she should just watch where she was going and not question my plan of action.
After we had propped up my masterpiece (Wiggie and Dana may have done the photoshopping, printing, cutting and gluing but it had been my supervision and arrangement skills that resulted in the overwhelming artistic value) we admired it for a moment. It was basically a giant collage consisting of pictures of my parents together through the years. Through two decades actually. Man, they were old.
There were various clusters of photos that must have been taken around the same time, showing the progression of their relationship. Some of the pictures, most of them I got from Pete, didn't have a date on them. It wasn't too difficult to arrange them accordingly, you just had to pay attention to Dad's steady horizontal growth and Mom's face gradually losing the battle against time to figure out the correct chronology.
It's weird to think of the time before you were born, that your parents had a life before you showed up. As I could tell from the pictures, they did have a pretty sweet life; even before their lives had been given more meaning by my presence. It was odd, almost unbeliveable. I must have been the cherry on top.
"Dat's my favorite!" Wiggie grinned and pointed at a picture of my mother and father trying to feed me spinach. I was sitting on Dad's lap who was holding a spoon with the green goo near my face. His shirt and pants had green stains. Mom was a few feet away, holding an umbrella which also had a few green spots on it and watching the scene with an amused grin.
"Well, alright... Let's get out of here," I told her. "We can hang out upstairs until either of them sees it. We'll hear Mom's car when she comes back."
- - -
As soon as Mom opened the front door I was at my vantage point, hidden behind a pillar where our staircase made a strong turn to the left. (Wiggie had declined do watch the show, mumbling something about respecting other people's "privates". She probably meant "privacy". At least I hope so... I mean I wasn't watching my parents going at it - Yuck!)
In the meantime Dad had come out of his office and was standing in front of the collage, his back turned to me.
"He.... hello," my mother breathed out hesitantly as she entered the living room and found him there.
He turned his face towards her, pointing at my masterpiece, "Do you know what this is about? Did you do this?"
My mother frowned and put the grocery bags on the floor, then walked over to Dad to check out my great artwork.
"No... Wow," she replied. "Looks like Kyle got really worried about us. Just look at all the work she has put into this thing."
I am quite selfless for my age.
For a minute or two both of them were quiet, looking at the various pictures of them.
"I never meant to hurt you..." Mom whispered finally.
Dad sighed and then said, "I know that."
His voice sounded soft, almost forgiving.
"You have no idea how my guilty conscience is plaguing me. I never regreted something as much in my life."
Humor was apparent in my Dad's voice, "How about the time you asked Pete to show up for Career Day at your school?"
"Well, that's the runner-up," she giggled.
Mom was acting all girly. Almost humanoid.
"Seriously, though... why Joe?" Dad walked over to the couch and patted the space next to him.
Mom joined him and put her hands on her lap, "Did you read the letter?"
"I tried to explain that. He was willing to listen. I felt understood... It could have been anyone."
Dad raised an eyebrow.
"I mean... not anybody as in anybody from your band. Pete is a definite no-go and Andy... for some reason I have a feeling that he's got some twisted secret,"* Mom shuddered slightly. "What I mean is that it being Joe was just a coincidence of unfortunate circumstances. You know that, right?"
He shrugged but he didn't seem indifferent about the matter at all, "I want to believe you."
"Don't shut me out like that. I know words can hardly correct the wrong I've done but what good does the silence between us?"
"I was so hurt, I was shocked," Dad explained. "I wouldn't even know what to say. I would have been rude..."
Mom smirked, "I can deal with rude, honey. We have a teenage mutant foulmouth daughter."
That's how she repays me for softening Dad's heart with the collage and enabling her to set things right again.
"I am sorry I left you alone with her," Dad said seriously. "I never wanted you to feel left alone. I felt alone so many times while we were touring, I missed both of you so much. I never meant to take you for granted once the band thing ended."
Rolling my eyes, I crept back into my room. It sounded as if they were on their way to reconciliation. And I really did not want to see their privates.
* "Where do we set this up?"
** "Maybe we shouldn't have glued it together upstairs. Would have been smarter to do so downstairs."
* It's that sixth parallel-universe sense of Sheena in action.