One ordinary, hot summer day, my sister and I were visiting our cousins who lived around the corner and down the street from us. We were sitting together in their family room watching the end of an episode of the Brady Bunch. We couldn’t have been there for more than fifteen minutes when the phone rang. It was my dad saying that it was time for us to come home. He wasn’t at home when we had left, and we couldn’t figure out why he would want us home now. Our mom had okayed our visit, but our cousins helped to convince us that we must be in trouble for something. But what?!
All the way up the street, we wondered… Whatever it was, it must be something that both my sister and I had done, otherwise we figured that he would have let the other one of us stay there. What did we do?! We left our brother at home to play by himself. Maybe that’s it. He’s upset because we didn’t take him with us. No, that’s silly, he was with his friends when we left. And besides, he didn’t even want to go with us.
All the way around the corner we wondered… Our room? Were we supposed to clean our room before we went out today? No. What then?…
When we got to our front yard, there was no longer any need to try and guess why we had been summoned, we knew that we were about to find out…
My dad was standing on the front steps with his arms crossed. He knew that we were scared. “Come on in the house,” he said. There were only three steps to climb to get to the other side of that door.
Greeting me and my sister was our little brother, standing in front of three brand new bicycles. Nobody’s birthday present, not even close to Christmas, no holiday – just because. Smiles lit up all of our faces, and my dad let out a deep, warm-hearted laugh. “Gotcha, didn’t I,” he smiled.
Story revised from “Dad” by Monica J. Brown, published in Otis Magazine, Fall 1990.