It was a Sunday evening around 6 o’clock or so, one of the many Sunday evenings where I would cruise around with my father in the car. Though this wasn’t just any ordinary Sunday sightseeing excursion with dad. We stopped at a red light, and without much enthusiasm observed the pedestrians. A woman, as she walked, fixed the white lacey gossamer slip of her dress. It dragged out of her skirt, obviously making her feel self-conscious. A short, stubby man with an overbearing gut was nonchalantly picking his nose as he ogle the lady adjusting her slip. He stared at her, as though undressing her with his eyes.
I looked at my father, who was looking right back at me. We both laughed. Being only 8 years old, I was at an age where I found everything hilarious. The very fact that my father and I were looking at the same scene and probably both thinking how perverted the man seemed made me laugh hysterically. My dad continued to drive. I kept gazing at the scenery of the city, as the sun started to set and the darkness took over. Our little sightseeing trip was over, or so I thought. I was so used to the same path we went through, that when my father made an unaccustomed turn, it made me suspicious.
I refrained myself from asking him where we were going because his usual reply would be, “Don’t worry about it, don’t ask where you’re going, its where I take you okay”. I had to admit it was an unfamiliar, but enchanting view. I had my window all the way down, with the reflection of the side mirror in my face. The wind blew, as the luminous setting sun mirrored back rays of light. With each reflection, I narrowly squinted my eyes and continued to marvel at this picturesque interaction of color and beauty. Being in the month of October, one can imagine the colorful setting that was before me.
Beautiful, vibrantly colored decayed autumn leaves sprang from the limbs of the trees. The aroma of crispy, dried up leaves embraced my nose. These exuberant, withered leaves captivated my vision and olfactory senses, as though I had nothing else to admire. Beauties of nature that so often people, including myself, tend to ignore. Suddenly, my father stopped the car. In front of a deteriorated, run-down house, indicating abandonment. It stood two stories high, brownish-red exterior with a few steps before a wide wooden porch leading to the front door.
The door consisted of a rich maple-like wood into an endless pattern, with two long columns of crystal clear glass. “Daddy why’d we stop? Who lives in this ugly old house? ” I asked. “A friend of mine that I came to pick up”, he coldly replied. As though trying to avoid my eyes. He honked the horn several times, startling me. I sat there impatiently waiting for this so-called “friend”, getting bored as the minutes went by began to wander. My eyes traveled upon a huge oak tree surrounding the old wretched dwelling. Two squirrels chattering down the tree engaged in a game of tag.
I pointed them out to my father laughing. “Look daddy the squirrels are chasing each other”, I exclaimed. “Yes sweetie, how funny”, he said still avoiding my face. “Where is she? ” he murmured. “Who dad? ” I received no response. Right then the door of the old shabby house opened. Stepping out of the brown house was a lady dressed in white. She was of medium frame, short black hair, thin and fairly attractive. She trampled towards the car. “Honey sit in the back seat”. My father ordered me. I was always an obedient child, so I did as I was told.
The lady, who appeared to be in her early 20’s, opened the door and sat in the front seat. She stared at my father with the most seductive glare I had ever seen. Worst of all, she greeted him with a kiss on his lips. I stared at them in disbelief. I was bewildered, completely astonished at what I had witnessed. What I saw caused my breath to be caught in my throat and my chest to tighten as I gasped in despair. Why did this woman whom I’ve never seen in my life kiss my daddy? I had only seen him kiss my mother like that. Why was he kissing this stranger?
They stopped kissing; my dad started the car again and began to drive. As he was driving she whispered things into his ear, giggling and snickering inaudible words. They were oblivious to the fact that I was in the back seat watching them. I sat there pondering in amazement at what I had seen. She didn’t look once towards the back seat, but she knew I was there watching them both and was insouciant. She just kept caressing my father. My mind shifted at the moment. I remembered that my mother was in the hospital that day. She had kidney pain and wasn’t feeling well.
My poor mother, what would she say, think, or do if she saw this happening? I was eight years old when this happened. I was young and innocent, but knew that what I had seen that day would never leave my mind. After that incident I was unable to look my father in the eyes. That image has stayed very vivid in me. That woman’s eyes staring with such desire at my father; and he caressing and responding right back. I can still hear her hands brushing against the tiny hairs of his neck and arm, the tapping of her long red nails, and the mocking laugh she had. That day I lost respect for my father.
Though I have forgiven him, I never have told him that I remember what happened that day. That day, in which he allowed me to witness his unfaithfulness, losing all trust in him. After a year or two I did tell my mother. Through her he has realized that I do remember. There have been few experiences throughout my life that I recall more vividly than of that Sunday evening. Memories of the past leave impressions of the future. I now realize the significance of that Sunday drive. It changed how I saw my “daddy”; I could no longer look at him in an innocent and dignified manner.