Today’s Story a Day prompt was to tell a story that features a disappearance. I visited with Jeff, from Craving You, again for this one.
“Where is it?”
Jeff looked up to see his father standing in his bedroom doorway, his arms crossed over his chest. “I don’t know, Dad,” he said slowly. “What is ‘it’?”
His father glowered at him. “You know what I’m talking about, Jeff. What did you do with it?”
Jeff wanted to throw his hands up in the air. But, that would take too much energy, and he was already exhausted. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Dad.”
His father took another step into the room. “Quit this, Jeff. Just tell us what you did with your mom’s figurine set. You know her grandmother gave that to her. Tel me what you did with it, so I can get it back for her.”
Now, Jeff did throw his arms up in the air. “Something goes missing, and your first assumption is ‘Jeff must have taken it and sold it for drugs’. You want to test me, Dad? I’m clean. And I didn’t take any of Mom’s stupid figurines. When would I have pawned them? If I’m not at physical therapy or work, I’m here. None of you trust me enough to even leave me alone.” He ran a hand through his hair, gripping the ends and tugging. “It doesn’t matter what I do, you’re never going to trust me again.”
“What do you expect us to think? It wouldn’t be the first time, Jeff. And who else would have a reason to take something with more sentimental than monetary value?”
“I did,” a voice said from behind his father. Then, his twin brother, Jarrett stepped around him and into Jeff’s room. “I took it, Dad.”
“Really, Jare,” their father said, rolling his eyes toward the ceiling. “You don’t have to lie for your brother.”
“I’m not,” he said, his voice firm. “I noticed a couple of the figurines were chipped and looking dirty. I was going to clean them and try to fix them up. It was supposed to be a surprise for Mom. I didn’t think she’d notice they were gone for the few days I thought it would take me. But, I got busy and just finished them this morning. I was going to put them back.”
Jeff stared his father in the eye, waiting. Not that he actually expected to get an apology from the man. He was right. It wouldn’t have been the first time Jeff had taken something from them. There was a reason they didn’t trust him now, despite the fact he kept trying to be a better person.
But, to his surprise, his father said, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions. I’ll go tell your mom they’ll be back in place soon.”
Jeff waited until his father left the room then looked at his brother. “Thanks.”
“I didn’t do anything for you. I really was trying to fix them up. But, you could try a little harder. Then, maybe they wouldn’t automatically think you’re behind things.”
“I have been trying. What else am I supposed to do?”
Jarrett shook his head. “Shutting yourself in your room when you’re actually home isn’t really trying. And if you’re not willing to figure it out, none of us can help you.”
He turned and headed out of the bedroom. Jeff dropped his head back against the wall. What else was he supposed to do? He didn’t think anything would ever be enough.
He would never be enough.