“Ring! Ring! Ring! Leave a messa...”
Running through the mudroom door, I lunged for the kitchen phone and breathlessly answered, “Hello.”
A sobby voice managed three words, “Is daddy there?”
Mom? No hello, no how's school, no I miss you. Just, “Is daddy there?” I didn't dare ask. Too frightened to want to know, I replied, “He's out in the barn. I get him.” Lying the phone down on the kitchen counter, I bolted out the door.
“Dad,” I screamed halfway to the barn, “Dad, Mom's on the the phone.” My dad was knee deep in what most would believe was a pile of scrape metal. He was a sculptor. Anything and everything was his medium. His next piece, to be installed in the Forest Park Zoo in Springfield, MA, was looking something like a recycled metal collage of reptiles and amphibians.
Sigh. “Your mother..., tell her I'll be right in.” He seemed just as preoccupied as Mom.
“Okay, but she's crying,” and I took off to relay his message. But not before his shoulders and head curl forward.
From my perch on a kitchen stool, I watched dad lumber in. His face deeply farrowed. Was he mentally still back in the barn, searching for that just right piece of his sculpture? Or had he jumped ahead to the phone call that was waiting for him on the counter? With him, it could go either way.
“Marg, wha...” He didn't get any further. I could hear my mother bursting into tears on the other end of the phone. My dad shot me a furtive glance before taking the phone into the pantry and closing the door. This could not be good. I retreated to the library. Dinner was on hold.