Tamara looked under her bed. She noticed her old book on Ancient Egypt and a coloring book with sea creatures. Gee—so many years. Tamara was fifteen years old. And yet, she had not noticed some of those items. That coloring book must’ve rested under her bed for five years, since she’d lost interest in it at age ten.
But she also found a note. She picked it up. It’d come from her dad. He’d died when Tamara was six years old.
Tamara’s eyes watered as she read the note.
Dear Madelyn and Tamara,
I might not make it within a week. The doctors are unsure if I’ll survive. But I love you both with all my heart. I hope you’ll always love me back.
Tamara pushed tears back, forcing herself not to cry. Madelyn, Tamara’s older sister, had gone off to college this year. She studied on the other side of the country in California. And anything could happen, especially in Los Angeles.
There was a knock on the door. It was Tamara’s mom. “Hey, Honey.”
“Hey, Mom,” said Tamara.
“Are you all right?” the mom walked into Tamara’s room.
“I’m fine,” she said. “I found a note from dad before he died.” She handed it to her mom.
“I gave this to you right after. Where was it?”
“Under my bed.”
The mother frowned.
“I was only six years old then.”
“Your father suffered from Pancreatic Cancer so much. I’m surprised you didn’t do something with it earlier.”
“Well, I’m going out with a new guy tonight.”
“Wait, when were you going to tell me this?”
“Tamara, this man and I were trying to work out our date for the past couple days.”
“What’s he like?”
“I don’t know. Now may I have the note, please”
Tamara lowered her jaw.
“I don’t want it under your bed anymore.”
“Mom, I can keep it somewhere safe. I’m fifteen years old. I’m not a little kid anymore.”
“Tamara, do as I say.”
Sighing, Tamara gave her mom the note from her dead father. The mother left.
Whoever mom’s dating better be nice, Tamara thought.
She looked out her window. Her mom went into the car and drove away.
A few hours had passed. Tamara heard a strange male voice talking to her mother. It had to be the man the mom dated.
There was a knock on Tamara’s door again. The mother and the guy showed themselves.
“Tamara, I would like you to meet my boyfriend, Kevin.”
“Hello, Tamara.” Kevin yawned.
Tamara gazed at him. He had sleeked back gray hair and was a bit overweight.
“Your mom and I going to talk for a bit,” Kevin said.
“Okay.” Tamara closed the door.
Her mom spoke to Kevin. Tamara heard the words date and note. But the mother couldn’t mention the note from Tamara’s dad.
“Oh, sorry to hear about your husband,” said Kevin. “I divorced my old wife years ago.”
Tamara cracked her door open.
“She used to drive me crazy, with all her cats. I’m really allergic to cats.”
“So am I,” the mom said.
“You know what?” Kevin asked. “How about we get a lizard? I like reptiles.”
“No thanks,” the mother said. “I’m happy having no pets.”
“Aw, come on,” Kevin said. “Pets rock.”
“It’s too much work,” the mother said.
“Fine, then I’ll just get a lizard for myself.” Kevin left the mom’s bedroom and went downstairs.
The next day, Tamara went downstairs for breakfast. But she discovered a tank with a lizard in it.
The mom joined.
“Mom, did Kevin actually get us a lizard?” Tamara asked.
“He’s taking it home with him.”
“Then why did he leave it here?”
The doorbell rang. The mom answered the Kevin.
“I wanted you to meet my lizard before I go,” said Kevin.
“Why?” the mom asked.
“Well, I was thinking… maybe we could share the lizard.”
Tamara opened her mouth.
“Kevin,” the mother said. “I… I can’t… I mean…”
“I thought we were preparing to get married,” Kevin said.
There was a pause.
“Kevin, are you kidding me?” asked the mom. “We’ve have one freaking date.”
Kevin remained mute.
“You know what? Take the lizard and get out of my house,” the mother said.
“You’re joking, aren’t you?” Kevin crossed his arms.
“No, I’m serious,” the mother said.
“Fine, have it your way.” Kevin took the lizard tank and supplies. He ran out of the house in tears.
Tamara and her mom stared at Kevin.
“Tamara, I think you should have the note back,” her mom said.
The two went upstairs. Tamara’s mom returned the note. “You should keep it somewhere safe.”
“Yes, mom.” Tamara kissed her mother. She returned the note to her room and hung it up. She stared at it. I’ll never forget you, Dad.