Fathers and Daughters
After such a bad conversation with my father who took the time to tell me once again that he was disappointed in me and that everything I did and how I have conducted myself in this situation was wrong. I swear I was so tired of it, hearing his criticism whenever I did something related to my personal life, he always had to give his two cents. Oh my Miss Goodie Goodie Kennedey could never do any wrong.
None of this changed the fact that I knew it was time for me to go talk to Kiyan and break things off with him. I needed another night to sleep on it, but tomorrow, yes tomorrow I would talk end things with him. I thought to myself once I left the restaurant.
My heart was beating fast when I entered Kiyan’s apartment. I wasn’t particularly happy with what I was about to do.
“Hey baby, glad you we could finally meet up,” he said to me. I could practically hear my heartbeat in my ears. I swallowed hard. “Hey yourself. Kiyan, I need to talk to you. I’m really sorry to have to do this. I just don’t think we should see each other anymore,” I said pausing.
Kiyan didn’t say anything. “Look, when I first saw you after I broke up with Ra$hin at the club I was in a very vulnerable place. Ra hurt me pretty bad, and I am ashamed to say that while I had always been attracted to you, I only primarily went out with you to get back at him. I’m sorry,” I continued, feeling very low.
It seemed like forever before Kiyan finally spoke. “Okay, so you’re saying you don’t want to see me any longer on account of him? I know you felt something for me too Reagan. Don’t sit up there and tell me you didn’t. I know all the weeks we were kicking it something was starting to grow between us. Now you just want to throw all that away for that boy, a fool that cheated on you and humiliated you?” Kiyan was getting angry I could tell. He wasn’t able to keep the emotion out of his voice.
I sighed deeply. “Yes, I did feel something for you. It was just never in the way you felt about me. I’m sorry, but I can’t change the way I feel. Believe me, if I could wish away my feelings for Ra I would,” I said. Kiyan was looking at me with a coldness and sadness in eyes, his jaw hardened.
“Forget this shit! All the things I did for you, taking you around the world on my jet, buying you things, giving it to you good every time I saw you, and now you playing me to the left, like I’m just some sucka you met on the street. You know what Reagan? You are a cold heartless ass bitch! Get the hell out my house, I never want to see you again!” he yelled. Kiyan looked utterly defeated and hurt and it bothered me that I was the cause of that. Yes, I did have a conscience.
“Kiyan, please it doesn’t have to be this way. I said I was sorry!” I pleaded with him. He wasn’t trying to hear it.
“Just leave! Get out! It was all “G” when I was keeping your ex shook and you were screaming my name and calling me papi and shit in that bedroom in there wasn’t it? You ain’t nothing but an industry hoe now. You banged Ra, you did me knowing I’m his enemy and shit those rumors about you and his boy Barrington are probably true too,” he said menacingly. It was a really low blow for him to say those things, but I just bit my tongue, he was angry, rightly so, but a man calling me out my name is something that doesn’t go over too well with me.
“You know what, I understand you’re mad and everything, but don’t ever call me that again. You can be brittle all you want, just be careful about slinging that word around!” I shouted back.
“Get out Reagan! Don’t call me when ya man does this same shit again and has you looking like the stupid silly bitch you have proven yourself to be!” Kiyan yelled back.
I was exhausted and tired of fighting. Not just with him, but everyone, I turned around and walked out of his apartment and out of his life.
I had been home for a couple of days when I got a text from my dad that said he was coming to town again, supposedly on “business“. What does an ex athletic trainer who sales sports equipment in Appaloosa have business in Starlight Shores for? I knew this trip was bullshit. He was coming out to rain down on me, yet again not realizing I was no longer a child, but a grown woman.
“What? What Kennedey?” I snapped at her. She shook her head and gave me a disapproving look, one I had seen on my father’s face many times.
“You are pathetic. Look at you, all mad and upset that Daddy is coming. Scared of what he will say to your face this time. Embarrassed of this ghetto hood rat mess you have gotten yourself into. Well to let you know, Daddy is not only coming here for business, but to clean up your mess once again, Reagan,” she said.
That did it, I was tired of my little sister thinking she could say anything to me and thinking she could run me.
“You know what Kennedey? Get the hell out of my face! You’re always running your mouth about stuff you know nothing about little girl. Let me ask you, why are you so concerned with my life if you have such a fabulous one as a painter and activist and whatever other little title you have bestowed upon yourself? You know why? Because your life is boring and you are nothing if not a failure in this sad little “career” making paintings that no one wants,” I told her with venom attached to every word. I couldn’t really stop now because I was growing angrier and angrier.
“It’s really sad seeing you wake up every single day in your stupid animal pajamas, go downstairs, feed your cats. Go to the refrigerator, stare at those nasty holier than thou organic wheat bars and flax seed knowing all the while you don’t really like that shit, but it makes you think you are better than other people because you eat it. Then you realize the only way you may sell another painting is at the consignment shop because that horrid art gallery shut down and no one has purchased anything from there in months. No one wants to sleep with you and no one wants your crap. You know how pathetic your life has
become and you aren’t really the great avant garde you tell people you are, so you go to the cabinet, whip out the bag of Hostess donuts and stuff your face. You think I don’t know? Well I do, and you’re sorry,” I spat out.
I was out of breath I didn’t care about being mean to Kennedey in that moment. I was tired of her judgmental ways and being such a hypocrite. I was beyond furious, it didn’t even bother me when I saw Kennedey’s eyes well up and tears spill over.
She didn’t say anything to me and ran out the room. First time I had seen her shut up in I don’t know how long. I didn’t want to deal with her and I knew that would keep her off my back for a while.
There was a public relations nightmare that was going on that I was dealing with again stemming from this latest fight. I knew I was getting all sorts of hate Tweets and comments online about my involvement in all of this. Charlie and the PR team at my agency advised me to stay off all social media. For once I was going to abide by their orders, because the way I just blew up at my sister, I knew it would be ten times worse with a perfect stranger online.
My conversation with my daughter did not end on a high note. I was deeply disturbed about the things I had been reading online regarding the latest mess Reagan had gotten herself into. It was bad enough she became involved with that nut Ra$hin and she only made matters worse by dating someone she and the entire world knew Ra$hin hated. How may times did I have to tell Reagan that she needed to start thinking first and acting later? Unfortunately, she had a temper and was impulsive like her mother and rather blunt like me.
Sometimes I didn’t know what to do with that girl. She had so much fire in her, like Apollonia which is what I was afraid of. As angry as Reagan was with her mother, it was inevitable that some of my wife’s traits would eventually manifest in Reagan no matter how much I had tried to keep her on the right track. Reagan has always had her own mind and did what she wanted to do, some of which I knew was just to spite me because she needed a punching bag after her mother left. I didn’t want her going down the wrong path. I knew she was grown up now and needed to learn from her mistakes, but I’d be damned if I wasn’t going to try to prevent her from making a mess of her life at such a young age.
I tried to be the best father I could possibly be, something I wasn’t taught by my own father Roland who didn’t do anything for me or my siblings growing up. He came into a bit of money once I became an adult and all of a sudden wanted to do right by us. It was hard balancing the problems I had with my father along with the issues I had in my marriage. I remember one particular evening my father was over at the house when the girls were little. I had a million things on my mind, top being all the arguing Apollonia and I were doing at the time.
“Look Ray, I don’t know why you always have to do me so wrong every time I come over here to see my grandchildren,” my father said to me. Was he serious? The last time Reagan and Kennedey even saw him was three years ago and that was at a family reunion, he hardly came by to see them, then again I couldn’t say I wasn’t happy that he didn’t.
“Do you wrong? Are you kidding me Dad? You haven’t seen the girls in forever. Now after three years you just want to pop up. You can’t be in and out of their lives like that. Honestly man, I don’t think you would be a good influence on my children,” I replied.
“How would I not be a good influence Ray?” Dad demanded.
“For one, I want the girls to know that they need to take care of their responsibilities, not up and leave or give up when the going gets tough,” I answered him.
“We’ve been over this a million times. You know why I left ya’ll. I didn’t have a steady job. No high school diploma, your mom and I were fighting a lot. I just figured if I left it would be easier for everyone,” he said. It burned me up when he used that tired old excuse.
“Bull, a man doesn’t do things that are convenient for him or what makes him more comfortable, a man puts in work and takes care of his family first. So you didn’t have your diploma, so what? How does leaving a single mother to take care of four children make things easier?” I asked. I shook my head. “Don’t even bother answering because I don’t want to hear it,” I continued.
I could hear the faint laughs of Reagan and Kennedey out back playing hopscotch. I really wanted my father to leave before the girls discovered he was here. I glanced through the window to make sure they were keeping busy. I turned back to my father.
“So you call knocking Apollonia up in college and getting married responsible boy?” Dad asked mockingly.
“Yeah, Apollonia’s pregnancy wasn’t planned, and? I was going to marry her sooner or later because I was in love. It didn’t matter when. I have no regrets because my babies mean more to me than anything in the world. I bust my ass for my family each and every day, that’s a lot more than I can say for you,” I argued. He was really starting to irritate me and I didn’t want the girls to hear us.
My father sighed. “Ray, man you see I know you are struggling. Why don’t you ever ask me for any money now that I have some? Things don’t have to be so hard. I don’t know why you insist on doing things the hard way,” he said.
My father had come into some money when I was in college from a settlement he received due to a industrial accident he had been in at his job. His lawsuit rewarded him handsomely. How come is it that the wicked always seemed to do well in this world? “I don’t want or need your money Dad. Now you need to leave so I can call the girls in and make dinner,” I demanded.
I looked at my watch, it was getting late I wondered where Apollonia was. Just as I was thinking about this the girls burst through the front door, it was too late.
“Granddaddy!” both Reagan and Kennedey squealed in unison. I could tell they were happy to see him. I didn’t have the heart to kick him out in front of them. I better set five places at the dinner table instead of four I thought to myself.
Once I was done cooking, we all sat down at the table. I was only half listening to the conversation my children were having with my dad. I was too preoccupied with where Apollonia might be. I had tried calling her but her cell went straight to voicemail.
I heard Kennedey repeatedly calling for me. “Daddy? Did you hear me? I said where is Mama?” she asked. “What baby? Oh I’m sorry Kenney. Your mother should be home soon. She probably just got caught in traffic,” I answered her. “But Mama is on the bus Daddy since our car is broken, how can she be in traffic?” Kennedey asked.
I could feel my ears getting hot from embarrassment, I avoided my father’s gaze. I was able to fix our car myself but I didn’t have money for the new fuel injector I needed. “Well Kenney even buses sometimes get caught in traffic,” I reassured her.
Thankfully dinner didn’t last much longer. Sure my father was now gone and yes I guess I did miss him, sometimes even though we were never close. Do I regret not having a closer relationship with my father? I can’t really say, but I do wish he had been a better
father to my siblings and I.
My father headed back to Coconut Grove and once Reagan and Kennedey were bathed I put them to bed. They of course wanted to know why their mother was still not home, all I could tell him is that she got caught up and she would be back soon. I’m not really sure if they believed that.
I too headed to bed although I couldn’t sleep. I kept checking my cell phone, watching the hours go by and Apollonia had not made it home yet. Finally around two in the morning I heard the living room door open and loud a stumble. I saw Apollonia on her knees on the floor. She was reeking of alcohol. I helped her off the floor.
“What are you doing Apollonia? What kind of mother comes home at two in the morning sloppy drunk? Do you even care that your children were wondering where you were all night? Do you even care that I was wondering where you were? You didn’t even
answer your phone!” I shouted at her, momentarily forgetting that the girls were asleep.
“Damn! Will just get off my back Raymond? Quit trying to act like you’re my father! I didn’t even hear that stupid phone. What’s wrong with me having a little fun once in a while, goodness knows I don’t do anything except care for your house and children all day!” Apollonia yelled back in her thick Trinidadian accent.
“Excuse me? Care for my house and children? The last time I checked this was your house and your children as well! It’s one thing to go have fun, it’s something different to stay out all night letting your family worry about you!” I was not backing down, I was growing weary of this kind of crap from my wife and the mother of my children.
I felt horrible getting into such a huge fight with their mother. I loved my wife, but sometimes she made it hard. I knew Apollonia wasn’t exactly ready for married life when she got pregnant with Reagan, but it was the best thing to do in our situation and Apollonia’s parents was adamant about her not being unmarried and pregnant. They were very traditional islanders who believed in a traditional family.
I was so angry with her, but I didn’t want to fight any longer. She ended up passing out on the couch and as I turned around I could see the light poking from underneath the girl’s bedroom door. Our fighting must have woken them up. I let out a deep sigh.
When I entered their room, Reagan and Kennedey were both looking very upset and teary eyed. “What’s the matter Daddy? Why are are you and mama yelling?” Reagan asked. Kennedey wiped away a few tears, seeing the worry in their little faces broke my heart.
“Come here girls, come sit down,” I directed them. It was very late and I didn’t want to have to have this conversation with them when they had school in the morning, but I knew they would not be able to rest easily if I did not reassure them that everything was fine.
“Look, girls I’m sorry you had to overhear all of that. Mama and Daddy just got into a little argument. Sometimes grownups fight, it’s pretty much the same thing when you two fight, don’t you always make up with each other?” I asked them.
“Yes, ” they both replied solemnly. I don’t think they were buying what I was saying entirely.
“But you guys fight a whole lot Daddy,” Reagan replied. Kennedey remained quite, her head down, I could tell this was really hard for her. “When married people fight all the time don’t they get a divorce?” Reagan asked. I was taken aback. I couldn’t believe my child had something like that on her mind.
“Oh baby, no that’s not the case here sweetheart. Where did you hear that?” I asked her.
“That’s what Dee Dee said at school,” Reagan answered referring to one of her friends.
“Well again Ginger Baby, that is not the case here okay? You two don’t need to worry about that,” I told them. Kennedey sniffled a little.
“Where was Mama at?” Reagan wanted to know. What could I possibly tell them? The truth was that I didn’t really know for sure. Nine times out of ten, Apollonia was probably at that club she liked to go to in Little Havana. I didn’t want to worry them anymore. “Um, she just got busy with some of her friends that’s all,” I replied. Reagan looked skeptical. I told them again things were okay, that their mother and I still loved each other and we were not getting a divorce. I put them back to bed and turned off the lights.
Looking back, although there were many bad times with Apollonia, there were also good times and she was still my wife and I loved her even until this day. I missed her something terrible. I was better now, but those first few years she was gone, I would wake up sometimes in the middle of the night reaching for her in our bed only to realize she was gone. It was as if I was missing a limb. I ached in places I did not know were there back then.
It still hurts now, but I felt most sad for my girls, how they have needed a mother all these years. I also think about this latest mess Reagan has gotten herself into. Sometimes I think she would have chosen a different path if her mother had been around for her. Even Kennedey suffered because of this loss, although her actions didn’t manifest the same way as Reagan’s.
It had been raining out here in Appalloosa, but a nice calm kind of rain. I made myself some coffee, it was times like this that I missed my wife most. She loved how I made coffee. She always liked extra cream and white sugar in hers, while I always drank mine black. Now, I took my coffee the same way she took hers.
I had to prepare for my quasi business trip to Starlight Shores. Sure I did have some contacts who were interested in some of the latest sports equipment I had for sale. Nothing major, but it was a good opportunity to drop in on my daughters.
I had been in Starlight Shores for a couple of days with Reagan making every excuse to not sit down or go out with me to just have some father-daughter time. I knew she was still upset about out phone conversation we had right before I came out here. I went out to the back patio to join Kennedey and watch the rain that had begun to fall that morning.
“So Kenney. I can see that things are tense with you and your sister. What’s been going on?” I inquired. Kennedey sort of shrugged her shoulders. In the forty eight hours that I had been there I had not seen Kennedey and Reagan speak to each other once. They had given each other the silent treatment plenty of times over the years, but somehow I could sense this one was more serious. Kennedey’s face looked tight with tension as she clenched her jaw.
“Reagan is a big “B”, that’s all I gotta say,” Kennedey replied sternly looking ahead and avoiding eye contact.
“Kenney, don’t call your sister that, you know I raised you better than that,” I told her.
“Well the stuff she says to me is ten times worse Daddy!” Kennedey whined.
“What has she said to you? You guys are obviously upset with one another, what happened?” I asked. Kennedey then proceeded to tell me about the fight they had gotten into before I got here. I knew Reagan could have a temper, but some of the stuff Kennedey told me she said was even out of character for her. No more BS, I was going to talk to Reagan, even if I had to drag her out the house kicking and screaming.
Reagan had tried sneaking out the house to avoid me, but I was able to catch up with her. “Reagan, you and I really need to talk,” I said to her. Reagan’s shoulders slumped, she was obviously disappointed I had caught up with her. Although it was still raining, I took Reagan down to the beach in my rental car. We walked to the shore in silence when Reagan finally spoke up.
“Why are we at the beach? It is raining,” Reagan complained.
“I’m aware of that. But it’s just a spring shower,” I said.
“Daddy, it is wet and I paid five thousand dollars for this hair, I don’t want it to get messed up,” Reagan said.
I shook my head. “You and your sister always loved the beach growing up. You two were the ultimate water babies” I told her reflecting back on some of their childhood memories. Reagan rolled her eyes. “Yeah well, we aren’t babies anymore and this ain’t Miami. We’re also the only idiots at the beach on a rainy day” she said. I chose to ignore her last comment.
“Okay we’ll go inside, don’t want you to mess up your hair,” I replied.
Reagan and I headed into the little bistro to grab something to eat. There was a nice gentle breeze coming off the ocean, thankfully the rain had let up a bit. We ate for a few moments in silence. Finally I spoke up. “Look baby girl, I really didn’t care for our last conversation. You know I never like to fight with you. I wouldn’t be doing my job as your parent if I did not say something to you about everything that has been going on with you,” I said. Reagan remained quite.
“You don’t call me anymore. You’re off jumping into one twisted relationship to the next. What’s worse is that you are a celebrity now baby and people are going to watch your every move. Now two of the biggest rappers in the game are in a heated brawl,
messing up clubs, acting a fool out in public and you sweetheart are right in the middle of it all, this kind of behavior is not cute and it’s not how I raised you,” I told her attempting to keep my voice even.
“Look, Daddy. Don’t you think I know this is a mess? But guess what? It’s my mess and my mistake, I am grown! I can make all the mistakes I want to without you always feeling the need to hop on an airplane and get on my case!” Reagan hissed at me.
She could be so much like her mother. “First of all, watch your tone little girl. You may be grown, just remember I’m too old a cat to be scratched by a kitten and I am not going to allow you to speak to me any kind of way. Speaking of which, where do you get off saying those things to your sister? You may be mad at the world right now, but that doesn’t give you the right to be so damn mean Reagan. I told you the last time I saw you that you and your sister needed to stop being at each other’s throats because family is all you got,”I replied. I could tell Reagan was getting upset as she was starting to get red in the face.
“Sure, take her side, just like you always do! I’m sorry I’m not perfect like my little sister and that I am such a big disappointment to you Daddy! Sorry I want to live my own life and not be a brown nose like Kennedey. I can only do what I want, I can’t please you obviously. I never got the grades Kennedey got, I didn’t skip second grade like her, I didn’t get a buttload
of scholarships like her, I didn’t choose a career you approve of, damn, I am nothing like her! Sorry that pisses you off!” Reagan shouted trying to catch her breath.
I was shocked. I really had no idea Reagan had thought that. Of course I always knew there was some sibling rivalry between the two, but according to Reagan she really believes that I favored her sister over her which couldn’t be further from the truth. I just stared at her trying to get my thoughts together.
“Reagan, you have to be out of your mind to think that Kennedey is my favorite. I have no favorite! You are both my daughters and I love you both equally. I am proud of you! I’m glad you are making something of your life, that’s why I don’t want to see you mess everything up. I don’t want to see you throw everything all away like your…” my voice trailed off.
“Like my mother? That’s what you meant to say right? Well again so sorry to disappoint you. Maybe I am like my mother, screwed up. You know what they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If I am anything like her that’s just genetics, you were actually dumb enough to choose her and marry her when you should of been running the other way!” Reagan yelled. Her words stung. “Don’t do that Reagan! Stop beating yourself down. Of course you have ways like her mother, so does your sister…” I said before Reagan interrupted me. “Stop comparing me to Kennedey! I am sick of hearing about Kennedey!” Reagan screeched.
“Keep your voice down! Like I was saying of course you have ways like her, but it’s not all these bad ones that you imagine in that brain of yours. Where do you get this stuff from Reagan? You really need to look inside yourself to see what your problem is and stop blaming it on everyone else. Yes, your mother left, does that make it okay for you to act a fool in public? Cussing out people on the internet, stirring the pot even more between Ra$hin and Kiyan, constantly fighting with your sister? Getting into fights in the club? Grow up Reagan. I’m done sugar coating it for you. You need to take some of the responsibility for yourself little girl and quit looking to other people to blame your problems on!” I yelled with probably a bit too much anger in my voice, but I was getting tired of Reagan’s irresponsible and bratty behavior.
I knew things were hard for both my girls, but Reagan didn’t need to make her circumstances the excuse as to why she was always in the tabloids and online and for not so good reasons. She was getting a reputation among some people who looked at these relationships she had been in and assumed she was loose, which was not the case. It hurt me to see her going through so much pain. If I could I would take it all away from her. Damn Apollonia, you see what you have caused? Before I knew it, Reagan had thrown down her napkin telling and she was catching a cab. This is not how I intended this talk to turn out. Things were bad before, now they had only gotten worse.
Once I left the beach I didn’t go straight home, instead I stopped in Nieman Marcus, but shopping didn’t make me feel any better, it was kind of a reminder of how superficial my life had seemed to become over the last several months. I absolutely hated fighting with my father. I loved him so much and it tore me apart knowing he didn’t approve of something I had done.
But I was so sick of hearing how everything I did wasn’t right, being treated like I was nine years old again. How did everything get so screwed up so fast? I was in love with someone just months ago thinking I was on top of the world. My modeling was taking off, I was becoming a household name, I was doing my thing. Now look at me, just a complete mess.
My boyfriend cheated on me, I was lied on, my character had been questioned, my reputation has been taking hits, I played Kiyan only thinking of myself and not considering his feelings and now he hates me. I’m going through a PR nightmare. Maybe I did have a hand in the situation that went down with Ra and Kiyan, but the public was blaming me for it more than the two men that were acting like boys fighting in the club. It’s always like that though, blame the woman, goodness knows we’re all harlots out to ruin these innocent men out here. Bull.
I got up from my bed and looked out the window wondering if the rain was ever going to stop. It was so gloomy, but it fit my mood. I didn’t want to see my father and I hated being in the same house right now as Kennedey. I had even thought about checking into a hotel, but why should I leave, this is my house too, she should leave if she doesn’t like it!
I looked at myself in the mirror. My face looked tired and old. My reflection was one I did not gloat on much these days. How the heck did I get here I asked myself again.
The next thing I knew I could hear my phone ringing. I looked at it and my heart jumped into my throat. It was Ra$hin, how did he get my number? I answered not knowing if I was making the best decision. “Hello?” I said.