The car drove along the back road, gently rumbling as the car wove through the turns with ease. The smell of pine and salt water brought back memories of my childhood.
“Are you okay?” Gwen asked, looking between me and the road, “You look sick or something.”
“I’m fine,” I said, “I just never thought I’d have to come back here. This wasn’t a happy place for me.”
“It’ll be fine, Henry,” she said. “A boy needs his father.”
“You don’t understand, my father is a monster,” I replied. “I’m not sure that I can do this.”
“He’s the monster? You do know we kill people for money, and sometimes you kill them for fun, right?”
“You’ll see,” I said looking back out the window.
I watched the trees give way to houses as we drove into my father’s neighborhood. I thought of the other people that grew up and went to school with me here. The people that I hadn’t thought about in more than twenty years. I spotted my father’s house as the GPS announced we would arrive in 1000 feet.
I could feel the pressure in my temples as my heart beat furiously against my chest. The old house stood serenely twenty feet back from the road with its recently painted clapboard siding. The garden was beautiful, as usual.
As soon as Gwen pulled up in front of the house, a man came out. His gray hair and glasses matched perfectly to the sweater vest he wore over the pressed oxford shirt and slacks. He held his arms wide as though expecting a hug with a smile that, to anyone else, seemed genuine.
“That’s your father?” Gwen asked, looking from him to me.
“Let’s get this over with,” I nodded as I opened the door.