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Dottie woke up the next morning to the sound of her phone blasting and ringing near her bedside table. She shifted around in her duvet and peered at her bedroom window. She was displeased to see that it was still dark outside — for the sun hadn’t even reached the tip of the horizon. It couldn’t be later than 6 a.m. and Dottie didn’t start her mornings until 10 a.m., so why was her phone ringing this early in the morning? Dottie still considered it to be night. 

Dottie reached for her phone and saw, to none of her surprise, that it was her brother who was calling her. “Dammit”, Dottie exclaimed. She reached for her phone, dialed and waited for the sound of her brother’s voice. Although California was three hours behind New York , that didn’t stop her brother from making, what Dottie considered, at 3 a.m. wake up call. But his work as a DJ for local clubs in Los Angeles, meant that a majority of her brother’s time working and awake was between the hours of 9 p.m. and 500 a.m. 

Their mother considered her son’s job a flat-out joke and it displeased her greatly. When her brother stated that he would be moving to California, particularly LA, their moth gruffed in her seat and pressed her lips together hard in a displeasing manner. She hated that her son was moving across the country, especially for “his job.” While her brother was packing the car he would be taking to get to the city, their mother started ranting about how it would be better suited for him to become an actor. However, both children knew that, in the eyes of their mother, becoming an actor was just as bad. “At least as an actor you could possibly work for Denzel Washington or Idris Elba,” she yelled at her son while loading the last of his luggage into the car. Her brother fed up with his mother, huffed his chest and slammed the truck of the car shut — making a loud bragging sound that the neighbors at the end of the block could hear. He circled around to the driver's seat and before he speeded off, responded: “Yeah, but I will meet Micheal B. Jordan or Jamie Foxx at the club!” He then pushed down on the accelerator and zoomed out of the driveway. 

“Sorry sis, did I wake you?” her brother laughed into the receiver. “No, Trent. I gladly woke up at this hour to the pleasant sound of my brother’s voice.. who probably only wished to debate with me about my steady job or talk to me about sucking up to mom by moving back to the city after college.” 

“No, but we definitely have to talk later about you and M-O-M.” Her brother always spelled out the word mom, when it referred to “that topic.” To her brother, saying the word mom was just as bad, if not equal to that of the word Voldemort — a word if pronounced out loud, would spread fear and chaos. But unlike Voldemort, their mom wasn’t some evil wizard who tried to kill a baby or tried to start a war with the wizardry world. Her brother nevertheless countered that “it is the content of what she does and the vile she spreads that makes her just as evil as Voldemort. Her evil actions are in her ability to spread lies and hurt through her tongue.” 

Despite her brother’s disdainful sentiment for their mother, Dottie knew that her brother’s displeasure for their mother stemmed from him having to fill his father’s shoes after their father left their family for a younger woman. When Trenton took on the role of being the man-of-the-house, it displeased their mother, who kept seeing her unfaithful husband in her son. 

“You know she loves you, right? She just shows it in a different way.” “I know sis, but the bridge has been burned over too many incidents.” Dottie knew this and that is why she moved back home to try to push her mother to forgive and reconcile with her brother. Dottie wanted to help her mother see that her son is nothing like her ex-husband. 

“Did you get the letter as well?” her brother asked in a soft tone. Dottie awoke from her thoughts and shifted back to the conversation. “Letter?”

 “You know the one about dad.. His funeral: the will.”  “Yeah I got the letter”, Dottie yawned into the phone as she stretched out her arms. “Are you going to go?” Trenton said with a twinge of hurt in his voice. This was even though it had been fifteen years since their father had vanished with his mystery woman — or slut, as their mother had referred towards her. Trenton was still pained by the disappearance of their father. It haunted him because of how it led to the current estranged dynamic between mother and son.    

 “Well it's not like I have to take a flight to get there.”  “Are you going?.” This time Trenton sounded annoyed as if the late hours of night had dawned on him and he wanted to sleep.  “Yes.” 

It took a few seconds for Trenton to answer, as if he was debating the phrasing of his words: debating between sentences, trying to figure out the strongest course of action to get his point across. 

“Don’t go,” he breathily whispered into the phone. “Don’t go.” Dottie was shocked, she thought that because of the close relationship Trenton shared with his father before the affair, he would want to go to the funeral. Additionally, they were both promised an endorsement of his will if they attend the funeral. 

“Why not?” Dottie didn’t mean to sound cold, but this was their father after all, and as his children they should at least show up to the funeral — be good Baptists. 

“Do I really have to explain sister? He hurt us, he really hurt us. He left our family just because another woman spread her legs and he became lured to her like a bee is to a flower.” Her brother was pissed and he had every right to be. However, he had no right to drag another woman's name through the mud. Besides, who is to know whether she was truly responsible for their father’s disappearance.

  “Don’t blame her, brother. She is not your enemy and neither is our father. If anything they share equal responsibility in their decision and we must turn to forgiveness. As stated by Luke 17:4, “If he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying ‘repent; you must forgive him.” Dottie knew that Trenton hated when she quoted the bible. He hated it just as much as he hated, what he considered, her religious awakening. This was her new love for God when she was in a need of a father figure in her life. 

“Don’t quote the bible for me sister, and don’t go to the funeral!” Before Dottie could respond, her brother hung up the phone, leaving Dottie to sit back and worry about how their disagreement could cause more strain on their already strenuous relationship. Dottie loved her brother dearly, and being the eldest child, she always put his needs over hers. She looked out for him when it came to dealing with their mother, she helped him with his schoolwork, and she acted as a support system when Trenton was under severe stress. 

But with their father’s funeral coming up, Dottie wanted to be able to forgive. Whereas her brother and mother surely wished for their father to rot in hell for the damage he caused their family. Of course Dottie agreed that infertility was a sin, but she seeked forgiveness. For the bible talked so much of the importance of repentance. God allowed for his only son to be sacrificed in order to save mankind from their sins. If God is capable of forgiving humankind, then Dottie should be able to forgive the misdeeds of her father. 

She looked at her phone and saw that the clock read 7:45 a.m. She was blessed with at least two more hours of sleep. Before she set her phone on the bedside table, she scrolled for her brother’s messages and texted him: I’m going to the funeral.

Nicolette is studying Physiology with a minor in Health Promotion at Michigan State University. Planning to go to dental school, with her dream job to provide dental care to professional athletics and travel the world to provide assistance to those who don't have proper dental care. In addition, Nicolette is also a member of MSU Pre-Dental Club, MSU Chaarg, and MSU Relay. Nicolette's favorite pastime(s) is going to sporting events with her friends, photography and working out at her part-time job: IM West.
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