Her Secrets & Mine - Chapter Eleven

December 2001

“Addy!” Mama yelled, she was standing on the porch waiting on me. I had been out for a jog and reached the porch just as she turned to go inside. “Oh, there you are! Come inside there is a boy here to see you.”

“A boy?” I asked, my eyes wide. I didn’t mean to say it out loud, but the shock completely did away with the filter between my mind and mouth. What kind of boy would be at my house to see me? My mind ran through the boys in my study group at the University, and I really had no idea who it could be.

“Shower and come right back. Your father is entertaining him in his study.” she ordered. 

The dreaded study, I thought as I ran upstairs and did as I was told.

“Hi Adeline.” Asa Porter said. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs when I came down.

“Asa!” I squealed as I gave him a big friendly hug. I really was excited to see him. Of course Penn State’s most notorious homosexual would be the boy that got my Mama’s hopes up-- hoping that maybe I wouldn’t end up an old maid after all. “What brings you to good old Carolina?” I asked, putting on my most exaggerated and charming southern accent.

“Well,” he began, “I wanted to bring you a copy of last semester’s publication.”

I jerked the thin magazine from his hands and knew exactly at that moment why he had come so far. I held it in my hands, afraid to open it. By this time my father was standing by my side and I was shaking. I looked up at him, wide-eyed, and felt like I could faint.

“What it is?” Father asked, he was just as curious as I was scared.

“Adeline made the front page of our latest publication,” he announced. “This is unheard of for a freshman, Mr. Banks.” I sat down on the stairs, trying to comprehend the magnitude of the news. I opened it and saw my very first published byline. I couldn’t believe my eyes! I looked up at my father and if I didn't know any better I would have thought that he was beaming with pride.

By the end of the night, my face hurt from smiling so much. I hadn’t put the school magazine down, not even to eat dinner. Asa joined us and had his first taste of sweet tea. He commented at one point that Maria’s cooking had made the long trip worth every mile. I smiled, proud of everything about this unexpected night.

When I finally let the magazine leave my hands, it was to give Mama a chance to read my piece. I had taken an open and honest look at teen suicide, and although I had known it was thorough, I had no idea that it would earn me such acclaim. Mama commented on the facts throughout, she seemed shocked by the statistics, and a single tear rolled down her cheek. This was why I loved her so, she had the biggest heart I had ever seen. She cared about people’s feelings and about the world around her. I looked over at my father who was entertaining Asa with a monologue about some random topic, and I hoped that he was proud of me. I didn’t have the dreams and aspirations of being a doctor like Anna, didn’t follow in his footsteps and practice law, but instead I was making my own way. I hoped that he could forget our differences for just long enough to see that he had produced an amazing daughter. Maybe not the prettiest girl, maybe not the smartest girl, maybe not the most forgiving girl, but a special girl none-the-less. We met eyes from across the room, and although I didn't know why it mattered to me, I could see that he approved. For that moment I forgot about the fact that he had cheated on my mother and simply basked in the glow of his stunning smile.