By Estelle Anderson, age 10, New York City, NY
It was already 10:00pm, and Dad still wasn’t home.
“Where issssss he?” My 7-year-old sister, Kaitlyn, whined, since Mom was letting her stay up until Dad got home.
“Be quiet, Kaitlyn,” I snapped, then returned my gaze to the door. Dad worked at X Technology, following his love of computers, and usually, he was home by 8 every night. But not tonight. He was 2 whole hours late, and I felt more nervous and worried than I ever had. What if he had gotten in a car crash? Or what if he had gotten kidnapped, and the kidnappers had taken his phone away from him, so he couldn’t call us?
Yes, I was overreacting, but still. The thought of anything bad happening to Dad made my heart leap into my throat.
I turned towards Mom, who was looking as nervous as I felt.
“What time is it?” I asked.
I sighed and turned back towards the door. Just at that instant, the door opened, and Dad stumbled in, his hair messy and tousled, his face tired and sad. Kaitlyn and I ran into his arms, and he ruffled my hair.
“Hey, kiddo,” he said, but not with the usual ring to his voice.
“Daddy, what’s wrong?” I asked.
Dad didn’t reply, and he walked up to Mom.
“Penelope, can I talk to you for a bit?”
“Sure, honey. What’s up?”
Dad led her into their room, and I heard the door lock behind them. What on earth was happening? Dad never acted like this, never ever ever. Where was his cheerful self, his kind and happy self, his self that was always smiling and hugging me? I pondered this as I tucked Kaitlyn in.
“What’s wrong with Daddy?” My sister asked as I turned off the light.
“I don’t know.”
Then, I left, and went to my room, to wait for my parents to come in and say goodnight. But it was only Mom who came in. She now looked as forlorn as my dad, and her face was tear-stained.
“Mom, WHAT is happening?” I said, sitting up in bed.
She sat down, and placed her hand on my head, running her fingers through my mess of red hair. She sighed, and closed her eyes. “Something very sudden has come up, Marley,” she said, in that soft voice of hers.
Mom sighed again. “Your father…he’s… lost his job.”
“He’s lost his job.”
“At X Tech?”
“At X Tech.”
I was silent for a long time. This was all SO quick, and it came at me like cannonball. If Dad lost his job, we could go broke! Mom didn’t have a job, so there would be no money in the family. We could be homeless! What if Kaitlyn and I had to be sent off to a homeless shelter because Mom and Dad couldn’t afford our rent anymore? Or what if…
“Why?” I finally said, quietly.
Mom didn’t answer me directly. “I’m going to send in your father, alright? I think that he should tell you why.”
Mom left, and soon, my father came back in, the door creaking as he walked into my room. He was silent as he sat upon my bed, and he was still quiet 5 minutes later, just staring in front of him, his green eyes dazed.
Dad closed his eyes.
“Sometimes people gotta do what they wanna do,” he finally said.
His hand touched my shoulder, and he turned to look at me.
“Today at work, I was fired by my boss. My careless, rude boss who has no feelings for other people whatsoever,” he said. “A guy at work, my friend actually, was being yelled at by my boss, for saying that he wouldn’t be at work tomorrow, since he had to attend his youngest daughter’s school play. Well, I didn’t think how he was being screamed at was right, so I-I spoke my mind. And that’s what got me fired.”
Dad looked at me. Me, who was in complete shock.
“You got fired for standing up for your friend?” I said.
“Yes, I did. But I lost my temper, Marley. I took it a little too far.”
I was speechless. And with that, Dad said goodnight, and left, closing the door behind him.
Clack, clack, clack. My fingers worked furiously at my keyboard, typing and typing, and deleting, and typing again.
My name is Marley Simonds, and I’m 13 years old. I live with my Dad, Logan Simonds, and he just lost his job for doing the right thing. Let me just tell you, my dad is the best person in the whole entire world. He is so kind, and nice, and cheerful, and smart, and he was so good at his job at X Technology. All I want is for my father to get another job, hopefully one that has to do with technology. He would be such a good worker, I assure you. Please, if you work with computers, and you need a new worker, hire my Dad. My whole family would appreciate it so much.
Done. My ad to put in the local newspaper was done. I grinned, satisfied, and sent it to the newspaper, to the email address I had found the night before. Now, all I had to do was wait, for dad to get an email from a person interested in him! What a surprise it would be! I closed my eyes, smiling. Dad sure would be proud.
It was a week later. Luckily for me, the ad was going to be put up in the newspaper by the next day! I got a letter from the local newspaper, telling me that they would definitely put it in the paper, free of charge! How cool was that? The editor said that he was so touched by my care for my father, and that he was going to contact my dad later today to let him know. I couldn’t wait to see Dad’s face, full of joy and surprise. He would hug me, and laugh, and be his old self again. He would get the email from the editor, later today. Later today better come soon, I thought.
Dad came home before dinner. The second he walked in through the door, he and Mom shared a glance that said so many things. Dad hadn’t found a job.
But just you wait, Dad, just you wait.
Mom looked down, obviously trying to hide her sadness, and continued to grill hamburgers on the stove.
Dad went upstairs to his computer. He was up there for a long time. Had the email come yet? I wondered, biting my lip.
“Marley, can you come up here for a second?” Dad yelled down from his office.
This was the moment I had been waiting for! I raced upstairs, and stood behind Dad, who was reading an email, surely enough, from the Connecticut Local Newspaper.
Dad looked at me, but I didn’t see any of the excitement I had expected to see in his eyes.
“What’s this?” Dad gestured towards the email.
I was confused. Why wasn’t he happy? “I, well, I sent the newspaper a notice, about you losing your job and everything. I wanted people to see it, and maybe even, you know, hire you. I…wanted to help you,” I mumbled.
Dad was quiet for a long time, and I suddenly regretted everything I had done, the ad, sending it to the newspaper, having them email Dad.
“Oh, Marley,” he said quietly, rubbing the top of my head. “That was so kind of you. I can always count on you, you know that?”
I nodded. “Aren’t you happy?” I asked.
“I am happy, Marls. But sometimes, someone as old as me has to take care of things themselves. You know what I mean?”
I didn’t reply.
“I can’t have my daughter getting me a job. That’s my responsibility. It just proves that kids are always smarter than the adults, though,” he said, chuckling. “But Marley, that was very thoughtful of you. And you know what? That ad you wrote was so inspiring. I’ll never forget it. I can’t have that ad going up in the newspaper, though. Because guess what?”
“What?” I muttered.
“I GOT A JOB! I was going to tell you guys at dinner, so it would be a surprise. The job’s at Apple, and I’m gonna be in charge of a whole store! How cool is that?”
I looked up, shocked. “You got a job?!!”
Dad nodded that nod of his, and smiled that smile of his, and hugged me the way that he used to. And suddenly, I understood everything.
“Oh Dad!” I exclaimed, wrapping my arms around his neck.
There had been a surprise tonight, after all.