“Ms. Williams”, pause. “Ms. Williams”!
“Yes Mr. Herne”. I looked up from my student’s papers and then finally into his appealing blue eyes. “May I do something for you”?
“No”, he replied in an ungrateful tone as to, why should he be bothered with anything to do with her. “You have a phone call waiting for you in the Deans office. You should learn to keep your personal business at home where it belongs. I suppose you have a cell phone”?
Was that a question? He knew I had one he called it almost every day complaining about one thing or another. He acted like he was the Dean instead of being head of the maintenance department on campus. I made the mistake of letting him connect with me at a school function over Christmas break. I was just trying to be nice to the, ugh, well man. He was a creep, paunchy, then the dirt. He was filthy every time I seen him, and did I say creepy, but his eyes were the bluest of blue I had ever seen.
“Contacts”, a female voice said.
“Ahh”! I screamed, “What, huh, what”?
It was Karen the Social Science Professor, we were best of friends on campus. “His eyes their contacts, you knew that didn’t you”?
“What, what huh, what, yea of course, how-how, how did you know, I mean how do you know”? I shuddered and stammered.
“You know last Christmas? Well”! She sings songs.
“Yuck, him”? I exclaimed in pretend discussed, we laughed. “Ok, I got to know how far”?
“Later you have an important phone call in the Dean’s secretary’s office”. She pulled me up out of my desk chair and pushed me down the hall to the golf cart waiting at the entrance to my building.
“Come on get in, its long distance”. Karen pushed again.
Long distance no one has long distance anymore, just pick up a cell phone and push in the number and presto your connected no charge. Then I thought about my big brother he was ten years older than me. He never had anything to do with my family he ran off right after high school. He didn’t even come to our parents funerals. Never called, he never cared. I had four siblings, one brother from Dads first wife and two sisters from my mother, making me the middle sister of the three girls. Frank or Frank junior by name and title never seemed to fit in. After I grew up and matured I figured he never tried to fit in. At eight he held his mom in his arms after a car wreck he was with her when she died. I expect Frank never got over it and my mother was no substitute in his mind. I don’t think that frank and mom fought any more than most kids do with their parents for that matter, yet he still left.
Karen and I walked into the Deans office and the secretary, announced that the party would call back in about fifteen minutes. I sat down in one of the chairs normally reserved for waiting students. The Dean stuck his head out the door, “where you waiting to see me”?
“No I don’t believe so; I was waiting on a phone call”. I replied.
“Students don’t take personal phone calls here unless it is some kind of an emergency, Miss”.
“Yes, I know that and I have no idea what it’s all about and sir I am not a student”. I smiled as I returned fire.
He was yanked from the half opened door and the door was shut by a woman’s arm. “Hum what was that all about? You think he’s got a student or a faculty member in there calling the shots”?
“Who cares”, I replied. From another door the secretary walked through and sat at her desk, I then realized that it was her arm we saw. “Can you tell me who the phone call was from”? I asked. She politely smiled and shook her head and said nothing. She kept looking at me stealing a mournful glance whenever she thought I wouldn’t see. I was fed up!
“Okay, what’s up”? I stood up abruptly and walked over to her with purpose. “You know something Elaine, spill it”, I demanded.
“Okay, you can’t shoot the messenger, do you agree”?
Chapter Five part two
Okay Agreed, I just wanted to know why should she know before me anyway it was my call not hers. The Dean opened the door stuck his head out made a funny face of surprise and ducked back in.
“What I yelled”, not too loud but enough to get my point a crossed. The phone rang just when Elaine was about to open her trap. Elaine answered the phone and without making eye contact she handed me the phone.
I took the phone and paused taking a moment to compose myself and to get myself ready for the bad news whatever it was. I watched Elaine hurry over to Karen that was now standing at the counter and they began to tell secrets. If looks were darts they would be dart board.
“Hello, this is Carol”, pause, “yes Carol Williams”. I listened and replied, “My social security number, why”? I listen again to the raspy voice I’m sure belong to a man but wasn’t quite sure. “I D purposes, tell me what this is all about”? I almost cussed I was so angry by now my friend Karen and Elaine of all people knew and I don’t because of this person wants to Identify me. How did Elaine know anything if this person on the other end of the conversation was keeping tight lipped until I assured her who I am?
Chapter Five part three
I assured the person of who I was, after they identified themselves as a law office to which I knew from my father’s affairs. This came weeks after my father passed away my sisters Trish and Emily had been back to some type of normalcy. I was back on campus teaching again. I liked Portland but I loved my family home best. Holidays at home had always been the best. My family home was this call about that. Were they going to tell me if we didn’t have a half million dollars we would lose the ranch? The person finally spoke then told me that there would be a reading of the will and all my siblings were asked to join them in their office, there would be coffee and pastry.
“Dad had a Will”? Trish asked. She was sitting on the edge if the chair that was placed around a giant oak table in the attorney’s conference room.
“What, hum, huh, what? What Trish, what did you say”? I asked, I had been pondering all day I couldn’t keep focused on anything. I called for a car to drive me because I was too nervous that morning.
Emily spoke up for Trish, “she questioned Dad’s Will”?
“No I asked if dad had a Will”?
“Same thing I just said,” Emily piped in.
“No, Emma I said”…
Emily cut her off and started to interrupt Trish again when the door opened and a man slightly recognized by all three of us judging from my sisters faces and mine, well I am an open book when it comes to making faces.
It was if our father walked through the door, at least of all a younger version of daddy. We all stood up but it was Trish that ran and climbed Frank as if he were a tree. He towered six feet and maybe 6 inches, maybe more, wow he was tall and broad. His face was weathered like daddy’s each line telling a story. As a girl I would sit on my father’s lap and trace my father’s lines on his face. They were like rivers and each of them had a story of its own.
I gulped,” ah what are you doing here”? I managed to say.
Trish clinging to his neck, him half stooped tried to speak. “I was called, just like you”.
He pried Trish from his neck and stood upright. “I was called just like you”, he repeated.
It was Trish that spoke next, “Leave him alone you are always attacking Frank”. Trish spoke in a mocking childlike voice.
“What, I haven’t seen or talked about Frank for years. None of us had for that matter”, I said.
Emily sprang into action. Walking like a cat ready to prance on its pray she moved toward Frank speaking these terrible words of hate and anger. “Dad and mom are dead you know? Where in the world have you been? Why didn’t you come we searched and looked for you left word for you where dad told us you might be. We called the oil rig you were on last that place dad knew, you killed him Frank, you killed my daddy”. Fisted now she was on him pounding at his mighty chest, Frank with tears in his eyes just stood there took it knowing what she said she didn’t mean. Emily was our father’s favorite out of all of us. I think we all knew it and she loved daddy seemingly more than any. I took moms death hard she took daddy’s death hard and poor Trish hadn’t a clue how to act she cried and carried on when they both passed away. Trish was the combination of my sister Emma and I put together. I sat down and stared straight ahead. Then face down in my folded arms on the table like a school girl I began to cry.