Echoes Between Us - McGarry, Katie Page 0,1
on the waffles and allows me time to ease into my day before jumping into conversation. I’m not a diva, it’s just that most mornings I wake with a pounding headache. Moderate pain days equate to a massive migraine that makes me feel as if a 747 is continuously landing on my brain. On terrible days, the pain is so bad, I can’t make it out of bed.
But I didn’t wake up with a raging headache, and I really did sleep well, so I’m quick to let Dad know it’s a good day. “How did you sleep?”
Engaging with him this early is a gift, and the smile Dad flashes in my direction lets me know I couldn’t have given him anything better. “I slept great. Are you ready for today, peanut?”
“Yep.” Not really. I’d rather rip out my eyeballs than go to school orientation, but Dad’s pretty adamant on this whole education thing. I don’t want him going on the road worrying about me so it’s easier to lie. “Are you ready for your trip?”
Dad leaves this afternoon for a five-day drive. “I think so, but you know me.”
Mom and I giggle as Dad is notorious for forgetting things when he has long hauls. He’ll forget toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shoes …
“He didn’t sleep well,” Mom whispers to me. “He tossed and turned all night.”
“Why?” I ask, glancing at Dad to make sure he can’t hear us over his singing and the accompanying air-drum solo.
Mom combs her fingers through my corkscrew short blond hair. Worry consumes her expression and the pain in her eyes hurts me. “He’s concerned about you.”
And she is, too.
Unable to stand either of their worries, I look away from Mom and notice the strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream—all of my favorite toppings—on the table. Dad loves doing things for me and with me. My throat tightens because I’m lucky to have a father like him.
Dad forks steaming waffles out of the iron, and his eyes fall on the fifty colorful, construction-paper turkeys I stayed up to make last night then taped to the wall. “Does this mean we’re celebrating Thanksgiving again?”
“When do I need to be home?” Dad doesn’t balk at my strange fascination with creatively celebrating holidays at a time other than the designated day. It’s one of the many things I inherited from my mother.
A lot of people at school call me weird. People called my mom weird when she was in high school, too, so I do my best to view any taunts as a compliment. “I need to talk to Leo, Nazareth, Jesse and Scarlett and see what works for them. We should buy a huge turkey this time. I want lots of leftovers.”
“Can you give me two weeks’ notice on Christmas? I’d like time to buy you a gift that isn’t from a gas station.”
“Join the present day, Dad. Internet shopping. Two-day shipping. It’s a thing.”
“Won’t Leo be leaving for college soon?”
The reminder makes me frown, and I change the conversation. “Are the new people still moving in downstairs today?”
“Yes, and they’ve been instructed to never knock if they need anything. They’re to call me. If they break the rules, tell me and I’ll evict them. I don’t want them bothering you.”
“Sounds good.” Dad is gone several days at a time driving long distances, then home two to three days driving locally. It’s a rotation that works well for us. Sometimes our renters will try to talk to me when they’re impatient with waiting for Dad to return their calls and that pisses Dad off. “Who’s moving in?”
“Someone from within town. It’s a short-term lease. Rich people waiting for their house to be built in The Springs.”
The fancy-schmancy neighborhood being built on the east side of town. If Dad and I saved every penny we made in the last ten years, we still couldn’t afford a down payment for one of those overpriced, mammoth mansions.
“Their first month and deposit check is on the counter. Do you mind depositing it?”
“Sure.” Because Dad travels, I handle our finances. Trucking is a small business, at least owning your own rig is, and there’s a ton of accounting associated with it. Dad’s been teaching me how to balance budgets since I was fourteen. He double-checks everything I do, but as I’ve gotten older he doesn’t look over my work nearly as much.
“Did you tell them the house is haunted?” I ask.
“The house isn’t haunted.”
Oh, yes, it is. Dad’s feeling left out because he hasn’t seen the