The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 15

He interprets my silence correctly. “I guess not. Get in and hold onto the wheel. Think you can do that?”

Dad’s back home when I trudge through the door, my car parked next to his. Donny and I had put the donut on and tossed my flat in the trunk.

“It’s toast,” I tell Dad as he peers out at my car. “Can’t patch the tire—need a new one.”

He sighs. When he was in his twenties, he fixed cars for a living. I’ve only had my junker for a year, but he’s already saved me hundreds on repairs.

“I don’t have any extras we could put on, either. We can take it up to the tire place in the morning.”

“When’s Mom due home?” I ask as I tug off my boots, even though I know she doesn’t get back from her Human Resources conference until tomorrow night. And that’s if she’s lucky and the predicted snowstorm doesn’t hit and ground her plane. I’ve been checking the weather like a crazy person because I need her here for my birthday.

Sometimes Mom feels like my only ally, a member of this family by marriage—not blood. She disapproves of some of their actions as much as I do. The idea of facing a full-family birthday party without her makes me want to crawl into the pothole and bury myself in snow. And now Des and Aunt Carol are stealing my spotlight.

“Don’t sweat it,” Dad assures me. “If she gets stuck in Philly an extra day, I can make your birthday cake.”

“Do you even know how to work the mixer?”

“I once rebuilt a motorcycle that looked like it’d been driven through a wood chipper. I can figure out a mixer.” Supposedly Dad was somewhat of a bad boy before meeting Mom. Middle child syndrome, he always says. He did have an old motorcycle stored in Jack’s tractor barn, but I’d never seen him touch it. He doesn’t even let me swear.

“If it’s all the same to you,” I say, sinking into the chair at the head