Anna hopped out of the car at the drive-in movies and ran off to find her friends. “Come back when the movie starts!” Mama called. It was a humid summer night and my clothes were sandwiched between my damp body and the leather seats of the car.
“This was a good idea, Addy.” Father was looking at me through the rear view mirror. “I haven’t been to a drive-in movie in years!”
“We come all the time.” I said smugly. He could have easily come with us before.
“Want some popcorn?” Mama unbuckled her seat belt and pulled cash from her purse in the floorboard.
“Sure.” Father nodded, ignoring my rude comment.
The sun was just a memory of golden light at the bottom of the horizon and the mosquitoes were preparing themselves for their evening feast. I waited silently in the backseat for Mama to return with our popcorn and drinks. I was tired of Father trying to talk to me, and slid to the other side of the car so that he couldn’t see me in his mirror.
Just as Mama’s head bobbed back between the sea of cars, Father said, “Addy, why can’t you try to like me?”
“Why should I?” I suddenly wished that I had a group of friends to run off with.
“I’m the only Daddy you’ll ever have.” Father’s voice sounded sad.
“Thank goodness for that.” I showed no mercy. “I couldn’t handle more than one.”
“Here take this!” Mama shoved popcorn in through the open window. “My hands are full.” Father took each item from her, handing me popcorn and a drink politely.
“Thanks.” I mumbled.
It was finally dark enough for the movie to start and Anna was nowhere to be found. Mama asked me to go find her and I begrudgingly did as I was told. It wasn’t easy being fifteen. I had more bad moods than good ones. I headed out, dodging people in lawn chairs, not meeting anyone’s eyes, and half-heartedly looking for my little sister.
“Addy!” Anna spotted me first. “Come over here!” She was sitting on picnic tables wrapped up in some teenage boy’s arms.
“Mama wants you to come back to the car.” I froze, not stepping any closer to the group.
“What if I say no?” she asked, the group collectively laughed.
“I don’t know.” I felt self-conscious.
“Tell them I said no.” Anna smiled brightly, she obviously felt cool. “I’ll watch the movie from here.”
“Okay.” I headed back, climbed in the car, and cried. Not only did I have a Father who I hated, but I had a sister who embarrassed me just for the hell of it.
“Where is Anna?” Father turned around in his seat.
I swiped a tear away and shrugged.
“I’ll go get her.” He returned not two minutes later with her, and even though I didn’t like him, I was glad to see that he had handled the situation.
Anna shot me a dirty look, leaned her head on the door, and went to sleep. She was a waste of a perfectly good movie ticket. I sat in silence as Mama leaned her head on Father’s shoulder and swooned over Harry Connick, Jr. in Hope Floats.
“Did you like the drive-in?” I asked Father as Mama headed through the crowd to use the bathroom before we headed home.
“I did. I haven’t been in years.” Father seemed surprised that I was talking to him.
“I like it too.” Something about watching a movie under the stars appealed to me.
“Next time we should bring lawn chairs.” Next time? I doubted he would go again, especially after realizing that we always picked chick flicks.
“Mosquitoes.” I reminded him. Mama didn’t just get mosquito bites like normal people, but she got bumps the size of quarters that didn't go away for weeks. For some reason they loved her, she blamed it on having sweet blood.
“Oh.” And with that we had said all we could say. It was the longest conversation we managed to have without fighting in three years. We waited in silence on Mama to return from the restroom.
I didn’t want him to think I liked him just because I had a conversation with him, so just before Mama climbed in, I said “Too bad Maria couldn’t come. I’m sure she’d love for you to take her sometime.” Father looked down, and I knew that I had gotten him good. He would spend the next thirteen years paying for his mistakes, I would make sure of it.
“Ahh much better!” Mama got back in the car and smiled back at me. I smiled at her too, I would take a million more low blows at Father if it meant making him pay for cheating on Mama. She was worth it.