The Writers Voice
The Matter With It
D. Robert Tibbits
Minor complications, but they should be fixed soon, and then I can right all the things the matter with her. Sara. That's without an "h" as in the biblical sense, because far be it that she would act as such. Dismissive, conceited and unaware.
"Clark!" my father called from just inside the sliding doors of the back porch. "What the hell are you doing out there?"
I was caught, standing in the middle of the backyard armed with a pair of black binoculars and the craving to get even or something. "I thought I saw a Luna moth."
"Oh, cripes, biology can wait. Your mother and I want to talk to you."
"All right." And I took one last look through the binoculars at Sara's window two houses down. The light was on, but nothing.
"Come on!" Dad was becoming annoyed.
I knew it had to be fairly serious. Court was in session. Dad in the big chair at the end of the dining room table. Mom positioned to his right hand, quietly fluffing the centerpiece as if this would make her seem more nonchalant about the matter.
"What's up?" I asked.
"Just sit down." Dad wasn't dragging his feet on this one. I sat down. Mom looked at me the way she did when our first dog passed away, and dad folded his hands together, sighing through his nose.
"Clark," he said, "is there something going on with you and Sara?"
"What makes you say that?"
Mom stopped fluffing the centerpiece.
"Her parents phoned us," dad said.
I looked confused, first at mom then at my father.
"What did they say?"
A reposition of my father's folded hands and another sigh led to, "Now, your mother and I know you're sixteen and driving, and there are many things you need to experience on your own."
"And you have been spending a lot of time over there," mother finally chimes.
"What?" I asked, "Is she pregnant?"
The look of shock and fear on both of their faces confirmed my dead-on deduction. They were speechless, and mom danced her eyes at father to continue with his questioning.
"No. It's not that at all," he said.
"Because I haven't had sex with her yet."
"Oh god," mom gasped.
"Yet?" dad asked, "What kind of thing is that to say? And in front of your mother?"
"Sorry. Everything seemed so heavy and important, so I figured I'd get right to the point."
"Well, before we get to the point maybe you should read this," dad confided and handed me a folded note. Two pages of yellow loose-leaf with my name scribbled in Sara's handwriting on the top.
"Did you read this already?" I asked, slightly annoyed.
"I need to know what my son is up to," mom blurted.
"We're your parents, Clark."
I left. I stormed up to my room and quickly read the letter. My window overlooked the neighbor's backyard, but I could manage a peek into Sara's window across the way if I crouched in the right-hand corner and the trees weren't fanning in the breeze. It's not like the winter was any better.
The leaves were gone, but the frost built up on both our windows, making glimpses of her more like a blurred figure from an impressionist painting. The letter was good.
"No," I said out loud. It wasn't her fault.
Just then, I felt the rumble of the telephone through the floor. My mom answered, and there was a pause. There was always a pause, and for how long it took my parents to answer the phone and yell up to me one would think it was the devil himself calling.
"Clark?" she called up the stairs, "Phone."
It was Sara's father. All two hundred and thirty pounds of him. A twelve-year Army man, and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. A man whose hobby was breaking his knuckles on a rebuilt 1970 GTO and making it hum. He was the spokesperson for intimidating fathers everywhere, and he wanted to talk to me.
"Hello?" I said with trepidation. And boy, did he give me an earful. Even the breaths in between his sentences were filled with force. He had a point though. Everything he said corresponded with the statements in Sara's letter. It wasn't punishment, but it wasn't praise either. It felt more like a judge issuing a set of probationary rules.
"You got it?" he said, finishing.
And before I could ask to talk to Sara, he abruptly said, "Good." And he hung up. And I was fed up.
"What is everyone's deal?" I yelled.
"You keep your voice down!" my dad ironically retorted as he stormed into the room.
"I've read the letter. I've talked to you. I've talked to her dad. And now I just want to know what the big deal is?"
"We just don't think you should see each other anymore."
"Why? Because I liked her? Because I asked her out and she stood me up? Because even though she said she likes me, someone's changing her mind?"
"Didn't you read the letter?"
"Yes, I did, but it doesn't change anything." And as my frustration peaked, I made my way for the back door.
"Clark, come back here!" my dad huffed.
I wasn't going to, and I didn't. I marched right across the back yard, through the neighbor's yard around the side of Sara's house and right up to the front porch. The doorbell ding-donged when I pushed it, my finger shaking with passion. I could hear footsteps coming to the door. They were dainty and delicate. It was Sara. I held my stance firm as the door opened, but the second I caught sight of those thick brown eyes I fell.
My knees buckled and my heart dropped. She had her hair pulled back and she wore a cute little top that perfectly complemented her burgeoning body. And the color went well against her skin, even though her skin didn't go well with mine according to many in this town.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
I replied, "You tell me."
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