The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?
A Novel By Teddie S.
Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.
Mr. O’Brian. A priest. Mrs. O’Brian.
Amy and I had gone with Kelly and Larry to Kelly’s hometown to meet her parents, the O’Brians. At first, it was okay, and then it got ugly. Kelly’s father had asked if I was a hippy. And I responded with, “Sir I am not a hippy! And neither is my wife. I’m a Navajo. A proud member of the Navajo Nation.”
Then, Mr. O’Brian had said, “Oh. So, you’re an Indian.”
“Yes sir, I am.”, I’d replied. “And proud of it!”
“You all should be kept on a reservation.”
“I said, all Indians need to be on a reservation.”
"Oh! I heard you all right!"
At that point, Kelly said, “Daddy! Stop it! Stop it now! Tom and Amy are my best friends. Leave them alone.”
“That explains somethings.”
“Well, you and Larry are living in sin. Aren’t you?”
I stood up, and said, “Sir. I can’t be here. You are not a very nice person. You are treating my wife and me like we’re second-class citizens. It was people like you that stole the land from my people. My people were on this land well before your people came.
“You don’t know us. You’ve made assumptions about my wife and me without getting to know us. That is wrong. But now I’ve assumed something about you. You are nothing but a bigot. You don’t see people for who they are. You don’t attempt to know people. You just assume.
“And your own daughter. You … You say things about her that shouldn’t be said, let alone said in front of strangers.”
I looked at Kelly, and she was crying. And I said, “Kelly, I’m sorry. But I can’t stay here.” Then I looked at Larry, and said, “Larry, we passed a motel on the way here. We’ll be there tonight.”
I offered Amy my hand, she took it, and stood. Then as I led Amy out the back door, I said, “Mrs. O'Brian, thank you so much for the nice meal.”
Mrs. O’Brian wasn’t looking happy and didn’t respond to me. And I’ll bet that she won’t say anything to Mr. O’Brian. Connor was looking like he was in shock.
As Amy and I walked out the back door, I heard Kelly yell, “Daddy, I hate you! I hate you! I hate you! They’re my best friends, and you treat them this way.”
Then I heard Mr. O’Brian yell, “If those are you’re best friends, you need to pick better ones.”
It was only seconds later that I saw Larry and Kelly come out the back door. They ran over to us, Amy and Kelly hugged, as Amy tried to calm Kelly down.
Larry said, “Guys, I’m so sorry about this. I had no idea that he was this way.”
“Larry.”, I said. “It’s not your fault that he’s such a nasty person.”
“I’ve never heard him like this.”
“Me either.”, Kelly sobbed. Then she said, “Honey, let's go with them. I don’t want to be here either.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I’ve got to get out of here.”
I then said, “We’re going to spend the night at that motel down the road if they have a vacancy. In the mood that I’m in, I don’t feel like driving back home.”
Then Larry said. “As mad as I am right now it wouldn’t be good for me to drive home either. But I don’t have enough money with me to pay for a room.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll get it.”
“I can and I will.”
“Okay. Lead on. And I’ll owe you.”
“I’ll add it to your bill.”
We got into the cars and headed back the way we came. As we drove, I said, “I hope they have two rooms.”
“If they don’t. We’ll share the room.”, Amy said.
“I don’t want either you or Larry driving back today.”
“I wish Kai or Tammy was here.”
“Need a little help relaxing. Huh?”
“If we get two rooms, I promise that I'll help you relax and take your mind off of all of this.”
“You are so bad.”
We drove until we reached the motel, and Larry and I went in. When we came back out, Amy and Kelly were out of the cars talking. We walked up to them, and I said, “Well we have a room.”
“A room?”, Kelly asked.
“Yes. A room. They only had one vacancy. At least it has two beds.”
“So we’re sharing a room. The four of us?”
“Yes. Is that a problem?”
“No. ... No. ... I guess not.”
The room was at the end of the building by the swimming pool, so we drove both cars down there and parked. We went into the room, and it was nice. It had two large beds, a TV, a clock radio, a desk and chair, and two overstuffed chairs.
Kelly looked around, and said, “It is kind of nice.”
“Yeah.”, I said. “This chain of motels have nice rooms. We stayed with this chain on the way back from New Mexico.”
I could tell Kelly was nervous about something. But I didn’t say anything.
It was still early afternoon, and I don’t think any of us wanted to sit around a motel room. So I suggest that we do something. Kelly said that she’d show us around, Muncie. So we put the top down on the Chevy, and the four of us drove around Muncie.
Right off, Kelly apologized for Muncie being so small. We told her that it was okay. That small towns have a lot of character. We drove around looking at the sites, the high school that Kelly went to, Ball State University, and a bunch of other stuff. As we drove past a church, Kelly said, “That’s the church where we were supposed to be married.”
“Supposed to be?”, Larry asked.
I pulled into the church parking lot, parked, turned to look at Kelly, and she was crying. Larry looked at her, and said, “Honey, what did you mean by, supposed to be?”
“After today, do you see it happening?”, Kelly asked.
“Honey, I want you to be my wife. I want to spend my life with you.”
“I know. And I want the same thing.”
“So don’t say supposed to be. Because it’s going to happen one way or another.”
“I promise with all my heart.”
“Can we go in?”
“Sure.”, I said.
We got out of the car and walked into the church. We looked around the inside of the church looking at various things. It was kind of interesting. We then saw a priest walk out from somewhere behind the altar. He walked over to us, looked at Kelly, and said, “Kelly, my child, you’ve been crying.”
“Yes, Father. My dad and I had a big fight.”
“Over my friends. Oh, I’m sorry, Father John you know my fiance Larry. And these are my friends Tom and Amy Young.”
We exchanged greetings. Then Kelly went on to tell the priest what had happened. He was shocked. Then he asked Kelly if she would like to confess. She said that she would.
Larry, Amy, and I sat in a pew and waited. She was in there a long time, when she came out she seemed a little better. She walked over to us, and said, “I know of a good place to eat.”
“Someone’s hungry.”, Larry said.
“It is getting close to that time.”, I said.
“Was the priest any help?”, Amy asked Kelly.
“Yes, he was. We had a good talk.”
Just then the priest came out of the confessional and walked over to us. And looking at Kelly, he said, “I think that we solved some things, didn’t we child.”
“Yes, father. We did.”, Kelly replied.
Then looking at me, he said, “Tom, Kelly told me that you’re a Navajo.”
“Yes, sir.”, I said. “I’m one-quarter Navajo.”
“The blue eyes and blond hair make it hard to see. But I see it in your complexion and face. I was the Chaplin to an outfit during World War II that had some Navajo soldiers in it. And they were very interesting.”
“That is interesting, father. But, more important, what can we do to help Kelly?”
“Support her like you’re doing now. And try to reconcile with her father.”
“Father. Let's walk.”
The priest and I started walking towards the back of the church. When we were out of earshot, I said, “Father, I find it hard or more so impossible to reconcile with Mr. O’Brian. I have taken a considerable amount of harassment, even having Amy attacked because I’m a Navajo. And she’s also been harassed because of it.
“I’ve come to the point that I no longer just accept it. If I can walk away, like I did today, I will. But I’ll make my feeling known first. If I can’t walk away, I stand up for myself. For my wife.
“So I see no possibility of reconciling with Mr. O’Brian. But I’ll do everything in my power to see that Kelly and Larry’s wedding is happy. I would be willing to be around Mr. O’Brian for the wedding, but that would be it. If it became necessary for me not to be there to keep the peace, then I’d reluctantly do that.”
“Young man.”, the priest said, “You are very sure of yourself, and aren’t afraid to speak your mind. And I admire you for that. If I could council Mr. O’Brian to see the errors of his way and apologize to you, would that help.”
“Father, I had a man that should have been very honorable, he is the chief of a Navajo clan, apologize to me for something. I accepted his apology. Then he attempted to go against my wishes, and I caught him. So an apology from someone I don't trust means nothing to me.
“I sensed things from Mr. O’Brian when I first met him, and I should have believed in those feelings. Then he verbally attacked my wife and me, and I chose to walk away. Would I trust an apology from him? No.”
The priest looked at me, and said, “I don’t blame you for feeling the way you do. And I think that you will do what it takes to make things work for Kelly and Larry.”
We walked back to the others, and the priest said, “Kelly and Larry, you two are fortunate to have a friend like Tom. And I feel the same is true of Amy as a friend. If these two have their way, and I feel that they will, your wedding will be a good one.”
We said our so longs to the priest and walked back to the car. As we got into the car, Kelly looked at me, and asked, “What did you say to Father John?”
“Just how I felt.”, I replied.
“You and Larry.”
“How do you feel?”
“You want me to tell all of my secrets?”
“I won’t. But I’ll tell you this. I will do whatever I have to do to make your wedding work.”
“Accept an apology from my dad?”
“Everything, except that. I’ll stand at the front of the church with Larry. I’ll stand in the reception line with your dad. But I can’t accept his apology. Let's find some dinner, and I’ll tell you a story.”
“I know of a good Mexican restaurant.”, Kelly said.
I looked at her, smiled, and said, “Kelly, remember where Amy and I were. It’s as close to true Mexican food as you can get without being in Mexico. So, how about a good American restaurant. I could use a good steak.”
Kelly directed us to an old house that had been converted into a restaurant. After we ordered, I let the cat out of the bag. I told them the story of the scholarship starting with the photo shoot. When I finished, Kelly and Larry just looked at Amy and me.
Then Larry finally said, “You know. I’m not surprised that you two are doing something like this.”
“Yes.”, Kelly said. “You two are special. But the money to do something like this. It just didn’t fall out of the sky.”
“Yes, it did.”, Amy said. Then she looked at me and smiled.
“Go on tell ‘em. But, Larry and Kelly, we ask that you keep what I told you and what Amy is going to tell you completely secret.”
“We will.”, Kelly said.
Amy then went on to tell them a little bit about the trust fund and how my dad had invested it, and now that we were paying it back in the way of the scholarship.
Larry and Kelly just sat there shaking their heads. Then Larry said, “I thought I knew you. But I learn more about you every day. And I have a feeling that there is much more to you that I have yet to learn.”
I just smiled and shrugged my shoulders. Then I picked up the check for all of us, as I said to Larry, “I’ll add this to your bill too.”
Then I asked, “Kelly, is there a drive-in around here? I’m in a mood to sit with the top down and have a good milkshake.”
Kelly said, “Sure. It’s the high school hang out. And they have good milkshakes. And I’ll bet they have one that you’ve never had?”
“A ginger ale milkshake.”
“No. At least they used to make one.”
“Let's find out.”
Kelly directed us to the drive-in, and there were a lot of people there, mainly high school age kids, and some were cruising around the building, so we joined them. And of course, the ‘57 Chevy got a good looking over. After a few trips around the building, we pulled in, and one of the carhops ran up to take our order. Kelly asked him if they still make ginger ale milkshakes? He said they did and everyone elected to have one. So shortly the four of us were enjoying ginger ale milkshakes. And they were good.
Once we finished, we decided to go back to the motel and relax. When we got there, Kelly said, “That’s my mom’s car.”
“Where?”, Larry asked.
“Parked right in front of our door.”
We parked and walked up to the car. We saw not only Kelly’s mother sitting there but her brother, Connor. As she walked up to the car, Kelly asked, “Mom, what are you doing here?”
“Just waiting for you.”, Mrs. O’Brian said.
“How long have you been here?”
“Not long. Connor remembered that you said you were coming here, so we came here, and you weren’t here. I wanted to search for you, but Connor said that we should just wait.”
“What do you want?”
Kelly looked at the rest of us, and I said, “Why not.”
There were tables around the pool, which no one was using, so I suggested that we go there. The six of us sat and just looked at each other for a minute, then Kelly said, “What do you want to talk about, mom?”
“What happened with your father.”, Mrs. O’Brian said.
“I … I … I don’t want to talk about family things in front of strangers.”
As I started to get up, I said, “Amy and I will be in the room.”
“No. Stay.”, Kelly said. “Mother, Amy and Tom, to me, aren’t strangers. Amy is like a sister to me, and Tom is a fourth brother. Plus I think what you want to talk about concerns them.”
“Yes, it does.”, Mrs. O’Brian said. Then looking at Amy and me, she said, “Tom and Amy, please stay. And I’m very sorry for what happened. I’ve never heard Kelly's father talk that way before. He is set in his way. But I’ve never heard him talk down about hippies, the native peoples, or anyone.
“And I don’t think anyone has ever stood up to him the way you did. He was shocked. Kelly's father is used to being the one that has the last word. And he’s not used to apologizing for anything. And I could tell, that when Kelly and Larry went running after the two of you that he was even more shocked. I think he realized that he’d made a big mistake.”
“Mrs. O’Brian.”, I said. “I’m getting the feeling that you want me to accept an apology.”
“I was kind of hoping that you would.”
I took a deep breath, then said, “Mrs. O’Brian, I am willing to do just about anything that I can to help make Kelly’s wedding be what she and Larry wants.”
“I sense a but?”
“Yes, you do.
“We met Father John today, and I told him a couple of things that I usually don’t tell anyone, even Kelly and Larry don’t know some of this. But, …” and I went on to tell her, Connor, Kelly, and Larry what I’d told the priest about being harassed and attacked, and the broken apology from Chief Peshlakai. And that accepting apologizes was hard for me.
Mrs, O’Brian looked at me, and said, “Tom, it's a shame what has happened to you, and I understand why you reacted the way you did.”
Then Connor said, “Tom and Amy when I met you I took an instant liking to you. You were down to earth and real. There was just something about you that I liked, other than the ‘57 Chevy.”
That brought a little laugh from everyone.
Mrs. O’Brian then said, “I want Kelly’s wedding to be special. Just like you do, Tom. She’s my only daughter. And Tom I know that you are Larry’s best friend and that having you as his best man is important to him.
“I also know that it’s also important to Kelly’s father that she’s happy. And he is upset that he upset Kelly. I’m hoping that this is all settled before the wedding.”
“Mom.”, Kelly said. “We hope that it’s settled too.”
We continued to talk for a little while. Finally, Mrs. O’Brian looked at me, and said, “Tom. Amy. Would you please come to church with us tomorrow and then lunch?”
“I don’t know.”, I said. “Even though we go to church with our parents, I’m not into organized religion. I feel that being out with nature is better.”
“So you don’t believe in God.”
“I didn’t say that. I grew up going to church every Sunday with my parents. Over the past couple of years, I've learned what my ancestors, the Navajo people, believe. And I now believe they way they do. I believe in the Great Spirit in which all native Americans believe. We also believe that all living things have spirits. And that we can live in harmony with all those living things.”
“That’s interesting.", Mrs. O'Brian said. "Amy, do you believe this way too?”
“Yes.", Amy replied. "Like Tom said, over the past couple of years, we’ve spent some time in New Mexico, and I’ve learned a lot of things. So, I believe that all things have spirits and that we can live in harmony with them.”
“That’s an interesting concept. There’s no priests or ministers or … ?”
“No. Probably the closest would be a medicine man.”
“Please think about coming tomorrow morning.”
“Kelly. Honey. Will you and Larry come back to the house with us?”
I saw Kelly look at Larry, then she said, “No mom. I need time. We may see you at church tomorrow.”
“I understand, honey. Hopefully, we’ll see you tomorrow. Come on Connor drive me home.”
Kelly did get a hug from her mother. Connor shook Larry's hand, and mine. Hugged his sister, and hesitated on hugging Amy, so she hugged him.
As Connor walked towards where they were parked, he said, “Sis, you have some cool friends.”
Kelly smiled, and said, “I know.”
We sat out at the pool for a while, and it was starting to get dark, So Amy was trying to look at the stars. But with all the artificial light, you couldn’t see much. And Amy grumbled, “You can’t see anything because of all of these darn city lights.”
“What’s wrong?”, Kelly asked.
“Out west we could see all kinds of stars. Here it’s hard to see them because of the lights.”
“There’s a nice park a few miles from here. It’s out in the country, and it gets really dark there.”
About fifteen minutes later were pulling into a beautiful little park out in the middle of some cornfields and along a river. And it was dark here.
We started looking at the stars. And I pointed out some constellations.
Amy then saw a shooting star and pointed it out. She touched the meteorite necklace, and said, “Nizhonigó íiná aadóó hozhónahasdlíí.”
“What did you just say?”, Kelly asked.
“Oh sorry.”, Amy said. “It’s a Navajo saying, and it means, it is good, and all is harmony around us.”
“I kind of like that, but why did you say it?”
“I felt something when I saw the shooting star, and it made me feel good.”
“I felt it too.”, I said.
“I don’t know about you two.”, Larry said.
“Larry, you may not understand it, but it’s part of the Navajo culture.”
Amy cuddled closer to me, and then said, “Tommy. Honey. Let's go to church tomorrow and see what happens?”
“I don’t know.”, I replied.
“I think, for Kelly and Larry’s sake, that we should.”
“Maybe you’re right. We need to think of them first.”
“Hey, guys. We’re still here.”, Kelly said.
Amy and I turned and looked at Kelly and Larry cuddled together in the backseat. And Amy said, “We know. And you two are what’s important right now. And I have a feeling that this could work out.”
“Are your Navajo spirits telling you this?”, Kelly asked.
We sat there quietly for another fifteen minutes, then another car pulled in and parked as far away from us as they could. Amy giggled, and said, “Young love.”
We then headed back to the motel. It was late when we got there, so we decided to call it a night. We all took turns in the bathroom, and Kelly was last. She seemed to be a little shy.
Finally, Amy asked, “Kelly, is something wrong?”
“No. Why?”, Kelly replied.
“You seem a little … well a little reluctant to change and go to bed.”
“Ah. … Yeah. … Kind of.”
“Why? You and Larry have been living together for a little while.”
“I know. It’s … It’s you guys.”
“Yeah. I’ve never slept with anyone else in my room except for Larry.”
“What about the dorm?”
“Somehow I didn’t have a roommate in my freshman year. I guess there was an odd number of girls or something. And since my sophomore year, I’ve had a small apartment. And I’ve just never had anyone in my room except Larry.”
“Kelly love. We won’t bite. And we’ll probably be asleep before you come out of the bathroom.”
“I’m sorry. I guess I’m just a little shy.”
“Don’t be. Just remember that we love you.”
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