Image by Mauricio Artieda

He did not need friends—not human friends, at least. These columns, personified, kept him company. They talked to him and he talked to them. At times, when he grew bored of listening to his music, he descended to the vestibule and played for them. Closing his eyes, he pictured them dancing, each in their fictitious TV world. Except for Karen—she was still asking for the manager.

Image by Adrien Olichon

We have never talked before, at least not a real talk. Our conversations were short and short-tempered. We would exchange one-word statements that proved nothing. At times, say, on a bimonthly basis, he would start an argument over something I did in the near past. Our alone-time was an interrogative session.

Image by Andrew Dunstan

After a while, being home started to feel like imprisonment. I lurked in my room most of the time. I wished school came back as soon as possible. At least then something could keep me busy not thinking about Dad.

Image by Nathan Dumlao

I got home and shut all electronic devices in my room. I did not want to end up in prison just like my father. I thought about it overnight, and I couldn’t be more sure that Sam has nothing to do with felonies. Most importantly, his father is a renowned doctor, not an infamous drunk alley guy.

Image by Linh Nguyen

‘He deserved it, didn’t he?’ the man whispered, with a grin on his face. ‘Commitment. That’s what I liked about your father. He committed himself to the work I offered him. Look at you — ’ He paused, his gaze scanning my body, head to toe, and then chuckled. ‘He wasn’t even a good father. I’m condemning myself for believing he would make a good friend. I should have ended his life when I had the chance.’

Copyright © 2021 by Tarek Gara. All Rights Reserved.

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