By Asen Mason
“Why the hell are you here?”
“You think maybe I should attend my daughter’s fifth birthday party, no?” Sam stood by the doorway; with both his hands, he held onto a big box, neatly wrapped. Colourful.
“Well, you’re late. Party’s over.”
“Please, Helen, the driveway is still filled with cars.” Sam pushed the door pass Helen, and entered the house. He spun around and continued, “Don’t give me that look, I’m not the shitty parent here.”
Helen held onto the door handle and stared at him, “You can’t just decide to show up and disappear whenever you want to.”
“Well, I didn’t get an invite, Helen. You didn’t leave me with a lot of choice.”
“You could have let me know you were coming.”
“What? So you can have enough time to hide Linda in the closet today?”
“This is your daughter’s birthday party. You are not making a scene today.”
He carried the box to the dining room, and set it on the table, “You’re right. Of course. Linda doesn’t need to hide anymore.”
Sam looked out the window into the backyard. It was a parade of pink. Banners, ribbons, balloons, the birthday cake, fuck, even the white bench was painted pink. Right smack-bang inthe middle of the yard was a jumping castle, three kids were bouncing up and down, belting atthe top of their lungs, as if they were auditioning to join the opera. Next to the castle at the desserts’ table were half a dozen tiny Elsas, blue dress, cape, heels, the whole get-up, hell, onewas even wearing a wig. Like little drug addicts, they were fighting and rummaging their hands through the bowls of candies. And over their heads, was a massive hot-pink banner saying“Olivias 5th Birthday!” No apostrophe, one might note.
“No. My daughter’s birthday party is princess themed?”“She wanted it.”
“And you let her.” Sam paced to the window, looked at the party, and continued, “wooow, Helen,I know you’re a basic bitch, but please don’t let our daughter become one.”Olivia, one of the many Elsas at the table, looked up, and saw his dad through the window. Her face gleamed, and started to run towards the house.
“Fuck you,” Helen said to Sam.Olivia pushed the door open and screamed, “Daddy! Daddy!” Sam knelt down as she ran int oher father’s arms, “I missed you!”
“Aww. Princess. Daddy missed you too.” Sam gasped, he continued, “Are you… Elsa?”
“Yeah! The snow queen! Look!” Olivia twirled in her dress. “Auntie Linda tied my hair for me! It’s just like Elsa’s!”
“Did she now?” Sam exclaimed, “Auntie Linda must be really good with her hands!” he looked over to Helen and he smiled.
“Will you stay for when we cut the cake?”
“Of course.” Sam said. He stood back up and lifted the box of present from the table. “HappyBirthday, princess.”
Olivia grinned widely.
Helen said, “Did you want to bring daddy’s present to the gift table outside?”
Olivia nodded, and took the present out.
“I’ll see you later!” Sam said, waving at her little girl.
“There was a 50 dollar limit,” Helen said, after Olivia has left the room.
“What, for the present?” Sam continued, “Helen, you are so weird. Do you think you’re hostin gan office secret santa?”
“I don’t want to spoil her.”
“Right, so you hired her a FUCKING farm and threw her a princess-themed party.”
“At least I’m around! Where have you been the last month?” Sam stood silently, then he paced to the sofa, and sat down, he looked up, “Must be nice, isn’t it? Having the whole house to yourselves. Did you do it on this sofa?”
“Look, I’m sorry, but you stopped caring. Not me, not your daughter, not you family.”
Sam shifted his eyes to Helen, he said “You know? I did come back. A week ago. Thought we could talk it out. Work something out. I was on the driveway, and I saw you with Linda. You were talking, laughing, arms around each other, parading through the streets. You looked very happy, Helen. And then I thought to myself, ‘That bitch is crazy, I’m so glad she’s not my problem anymore.’ and then I drove away.”
Helen walked over to the sofa, she looked Sam in the eye, “You’re a coward.”“And you’re afraid of being alone.” Sam stood up and walked towards the door.“Right, that’s it. Walk out. Because that’s what you do.”“You know what? Fuck you. I promised I’d stay for the cake.” Sam said, as he walked towards the backyard and slammed the door behind him.