“I sighed, and turned back towards the door. And, just at that instant, the door opened, and Dad stumbled in, his hair messy and tousled. There were bags under his eyes, and a frown stretched across his face. Nevertheless, Kaitlyn and I still ran into his arms.”
It was already 10:00 p.m., and Dad still wasn’t home.
“Where issssss he?” my 6-year-old sister Kaitlyn, whined, since Mom was letting her stay up until Dad got home.
“Be quiet, Kaitlyn,” I snapped, then returned to my gaze at the door. Dad worked at Google, pursuing his love of computers, and usually he was home by 8 every night. But not tonight. He was two whole hours late, and I felt more nervous and worried than I ever had. What if he had gotten into a car crash? Or what if he had been kidnapped, and the kidnappers had taken his phone away from him, so he couldn’t call us? Yes, I was overreacting, but STILL! The thought of anything bad happening to Dad made my heart leap into my throat.
I turned towards Mom, who was looking really nervous as she paced back and forth across the living room.
“What time is it?” I asked.
I sighed, and turned back towards the door. And, just at that instant, the door opened, and Dad stumbled in, his hair messy and tousled. There were bags under his eyes, and a frown stretched across his face. Nevertheless, Kaitlyn and I still ran into his arms.
“Hey, kiddo,” Dad said, but without the usual ring to his voice.
“Dad, what’s wrong?” I asked.
Dad didn’t reply, and he walked up to Mom.
“Penelope, can I talk to you for a bit?”
“Sure, honey. What’s up?”
Dad led her into their room, and I heard the door lock behind them. What on earth was happening? Dad never acted like this, never ever ever. Where was his cheerful self, his kind and happy self, his self that always hugged me and was smiling? I was pondering this as I tucked Kaitlyn in.
“What’s wrong with Daddy?” my sister asked, as I turned off the light.
“I don’t know.”
Then I left, and went to my room to wait for my parents to come in and say goodnight. But it was only Mom who came in. She now looked as forlorn as my dad, and her face was tear-stained.
“Mom, WHAT is happening?” I said, sitting up in bed. She sat down, and placed her hand on my head, running her fingers through my mess of red hair.
Mom sighed, and closed her eyes.
“Something very sudden has come up, Marley,” she said in that soft voice of hers.
Mom sighed again.
“Your father…he’s… lost his job,” she blurted out.
“He’s lost his job.”
I was silent for a long time. This was all SO quick, and it came at me like cannonball. If Dad lost his job, we could go broke! Mom didn’t have a job, so there would be no good money in the family. We could be homeless! What if Kaitlyn and I had to be sent off to a homeless shelter because Mom and Dad couldn’t afford our rent anymore? Or what if…
“Why?” I finally said, quietly.
Mom didn’t answer.
“I’m going to send in your father, all right? I think that he should tell you why.”
Mom left, and soon my father walked in, the door creaking as he walked into my room. He was silent as he sat upon my bed, and he was still quiet 5 minutes later, just staring in front of him, a dazed look in his green eyes.
Dad closed his eyes.
“Sometimes people gotta do what they wanna do,” he finally said.
His hand went on my shoulder, and my father turned to look at me.
“Today at work, I was fired by my boss. My careless, rude boss who has no feelings for other people whatsoever,” he said, his voice coated with anger the way a chocolate-covered pretzel is covered with chocolate. “A guy at work, my friend actually, was being yelled at by my boss for saying that he would have to leave work early tomorrow, since he had to attend his youngest daughter’s school play. Well, I didn’t think that my boss screaming at my friend was right, so I-I spoke my mind. And that’s what got me fired.”
Dad looked at me, me, who was in complete shock.
“You got fired for standing up for your friend?” I said.
“Yes, I did. But I lost my temper, Marley. I took it a little too far.”
“How?” I asked, feeling bewildered.
“I yelled at my boss. Screamed, argued…cursed. What my boss did wasn’t right, but what I did wasn’t-wasn’t right either,” my father said, quietly.
Dad? Losing his temper? I was confused. Dad was supposed to be perfect. He wasn’t supposed to scream at people, even if those people were jerks. I felt a shiver go through me.
“Why, Dad? Why did you have to lose your temper?”
Dad didn’t reply, and one of those uncommon frowns formed on his face.
“Good night, Marley,” Dad said, in almost a whisper. And with that, he left, closing the door behind him.
. . .
Clack, clack, clack. My fingers worked furiously at my keyboard, typing and typing, deleting, and typing again. Finally, when my fingers were just too tired to type anymore, I stood back and smiled, admiring my finished product.
My name is Marley Simonds, and I’m 13 years old. I live with my dad, Logan Simonds, and he just lost his job for doing the right thing. Let me just tell you, my dad is the best person in the whole entire world. He is so kind, and nice, and cheerful, and smart, and he was so good at his job at Google. All I want is for my father to get another job, preferably one having to do with computers. He would be such a good worker, I assure you. Please, if you work with computers, and you need a new worker, hire my dad. My whole family would appreciate it so much.
Done. My ad to put in the local newspaper was done. I grinned, satisfied, and sent it to the newspaper using the email address I had found the night before. Now, all I had to do was wait for the newspaper to email me back – hopefully with good news. What a surprise it would be! I closed my eyes, smiling. Dad sure would be proud.
It was a week later. Luckily for me, the ad was going to be put up in the newspaper by tomorrow! I got a letter from the local newspaper telling me that they would definitely put it in the paper, free of charge! How cool is that? The editor said that he was so touched by my care for my father, and that he was going to contact my dad later today, to let him know. I couldn’t wait to see Dad’s face, full of joy and surprise. He would hug me, and laugh, and be his old self again. Soon, he would get the email from the editor, later today. Later today had better come soon.
Dad came home before dinner that night. The second he walked in through the door, him and Mom shared a glance that said so many things. Dad hadn’t found a job.
But just you wait, Dad, just you wait.
Mom looked down, obviously trying to hide her sadness, and continued to grill hamburgers on the stove with Kaitlyn hanging by her shoulder, nagging her to let her help flip the burgers.
“I wanna flip them, Mommy! It looks fun!” Kaitlyn said in that annoying little voice of hers.
Help me, Mom mouthed to Dad, who sighed, and walked up to the stove to convince Kaitlyn that flipping hamburgers wasn’t as fun as it seemed. All the while, I waited impatiently, hopping around in a circle, twiddling my thumbs, WAITING for Dad to be finished with Kaitlyn so that he could see the email.
Finally, Dad went upstairs to his computer. He was up there for a long time. Had the email come yet? I wondered, biting my lip.
“Marley, can you come up here for a second?” Dad yelled down from his office.
This was the moment I had been waiting for! I raced upstairs, and stood behind Dad, who was reading an email, surely enough from the “Connecticut Local Newspaper.”
Dad looked towards me, but I didn’t see any of the excitement I had expected to see in his eyes.
“What’s this?” Dad gestured towards the email.
I was confused. Why wasn’t he happy?
“I, well, I sent the newspaper a notice, about you losing your job and everything. I wanted people to see it, and maybe even, you know, hire you. I…wanted to help you,” I mumbled.
Dad was quiet for a long time, and I suddenly regretted everything I had done – the ad, sending it to the newspaper, having them email Dad.
“Oh, Marley,” he said quietly, rubbing the top of my head, “that was so kind of you. I can always count on you, you know that?”
“Aren’t you happy?” I asked.
“I am happy, Marls. But sometimes, someone as old as me has to take care of things themselves. You know what I mean?”
I didn’t reply.
“I can’t have my daughter getting me a job. That’s my responsibility. It just proves that the kids are always smarter than the adults, though,” he said, chuckling, “Marley, that was very thoughtful of you. And you know what? That ad you wrote was so inspiring. I’ll never forget it. But we don’t need that ad in the newspaper. Because, guess what?”
“What?” I muttered.
“I GOT A JOB! I was going to tell you guys at dinner, so it could be a surprise. The job is at Apple, and I’m gonna be in charge of the whole store! How cool is that?”
I looked up, shocked.
“You got a job?!!”
Dad nodded that nod of his, and smiled that smile of his, and hugged me the way that he used to. And suddenly, I understood everything.
“Oh, Dad!” I exclaimed, wrapping my arms around his neck.
I guess that there was a surprise tonight, after all.