I Just Want You

By: Kaylee Ryan



One Year Ago

I’M JOLTED AWAKE by my ringing cell phone. Reaching over, I tap around on the nightstand until I feel it. Forcing my eyes to open, I see ‘Mom’ on the caller ID and I groan. It’s too early, but I know if I don’t answer she’ll just keep calling.

“Hello,” I mumble into the phone.

“Crew, were you still sleeping?” she asks the obvious.


“Good grief, son. It’s eleven o’clock. The day is half over.”

“The guys and I went out last night. Didn’t get in until late.” I yawn.

“I see. Well, you have some mail here.”

“I’ll get it at some point.”

“A certified letter came today. It looks important. You shouldn’t let it wait.”

“Just open it,” I say, pulling myself up to sit against the headboard.

“That’s illegal.” I can hear the smile in her voice.

“Really, that’s the angle you’re going with?”

“Don’t fault me. I’m your mother and I will use any means necessary to get you to come and visit.”

“Mom, it’s been, what? Two weeks?”

“Tomorrow, yes. I made homemade apple pie this morning. It will be waiting on you when you get here.”

She knows she has me. Not only can I not say no to my mother, but her apple pie is so fucking good. I miss her cooking and she knows it. “Fine, give me an hour.”

“I’ll make lunch too. See you soon.”

The line goes dead. I drop my phone to the mattress and wipe the sleep from my eyes. If I sit here I know I’ll just fall back asleep, so I drag my tired ass out of bed and into the shower. Forty-five minutes later I’m pulling into their driveway.

Mom feeds me while Dad and I talk about the ’69 Mustang he’s rebuilding. It’s a sweet ride, and we make plans to make a trip to the junkyard a few towns over next weekend to look for parts. After calling around dad found out they have a radiator that he needs.

“Okay, woman, I’m stuffed. Where’s this letter you were talking about?” I ask.

Mom just grins. She knows I’m on to her, and it doesn’t faze her a bit. She hops up from her chair and returns with a yellow envelope addressed to me. It’s from an attorney’s office in New York.

Holding it in my hands, I look up at them. “Any idea what it could be?”

They both shake their heads. I can see worry etched on their faces.

Curiosity is killing me, so I tear open the envelope and scan the letter. When I’m finished, I have to read it again just to make sure my mind’s not playing tricks on me.

“Well?” Mom asks.

I can’t speak. Instead, I hand the letter over and they read it together.

“Son of a bitch,” Dad says under his breath.

“Dad?” I ask, needing to understand what this means.

His face is pale. I watch as he swallows hard. “She’s your grandmother. My mother, Linda Ledger.”

“I don’t understand.” Growing up, they told me she was gone. I assumed that meant she had passed away.

“You got plans for the rest of the day?” Mom asks.

“No,” I say, never taking my eyes off my father.

“Good. This story is long overdue.”

HAVE YOU EVER had one of those days where you question everything? You know, the ones where you dig deep and ask yourself the questions that you so often try to avoid. That’s me. That’s my day. I arrived to work at six this morning for the early shift, prepared for a morning rush just like every other day, but today it never came. It’s raining so hard it seems as through Mother Nature is standing over the city and pouring piss out of a boot. Okay, maybe not the best metaphor, but I’m bored out of my mind. Boredom leads to thinking, and that’s where those heavy questions come into play. This is not where I saw myself at the ripe old age of twenty-two. I wanted to be a college graduate, starting my career. Moving forward with life, you know? Maybe not married with kids on the way, but a steady male companion, my other half making me whole. Yeah, corny as hell, I know, but that was the naive sixteen-year-old girl, dreaming about the unknown.

I never wanted for anything growing up. We weren’t rich by any means, but we made ends meet with extra left over. My parents spoiled me rotten. I’m an only child—by choice, mind you. My parents said that kids were expensive and they wanted to be able to provide me with the best of everything. Truth is, I was an oops. My parents started dating in college and just a short six months later, the stick turned pink. Luckily for me they were committed to each other even though it was such a short amount of time. Apparently my grandparents on both sides were not thrilled, but my parents were both just weeks from graduating college, so there wasn’t much they could say to their adult children for doing the deed. Dad proposed, Mom said yes, and we lived happily ever after.

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