September 26, 2021
Phillip Vincent was getting too old to live alone, so he moved in with his son, Anthony. However, Anthony’s wife had no patience with him and made him sit somewhere else during dinner until their 5-year-old daughter taught them a lesson.
“Ok, Dad. I’m going to need access to your bank account for all your needs because I can’t afford another person right now,” Anthony said to Phillip when he arrived. After months of discussion, he had finally agreed to let Phillip move in with them.
Phillip sold his house in Rocheport, Missouri, and moved hours away to Louisville, Kentucky, where Anthony lived with his wife, Karla, and their young daughter, Fiona. It was not an easy decision, but Phillip’s doctor explained that he was getting too old to be alone.
“Here’s your room. It’s the smallest one in the house because Karla refused to give up her painting room. I wish we had more space,” Anthony added.
“That’s all right, son. I don’t need much space. I’m just happy to be here with you. I haven’t been well lately, and everything’s getting a little hard,” Phillip assured his son.
“Yeah, well. You’re my dad. But I would suggest not getting on Karla’s nerves. She’s been in a mood lately, and I don’t want to upset her more,” Anthony explained.
“Is she angry that I moved here?” Phillip asked, worried.
“No…Not really. I mean…she’s an artist, Dad. They get into these weird phases, and it inspires them. Just give her space, and everything will be all right,” Anthony continued, but Phillip could tell that he was lying.
Phillip wasn’t happy imposing on his son like this, but it was his only option. His savings and the money from the sale of his house were not enough to afford a residential care facility or a private nurse to help him out. Everything was just too expensive these days. Moving with his son was the only option.
Karla was not the easiest person to get along with, and Anthony liked his privacy, but hopefully, they would all adapt to their new normal soon. Luckily, his granddaughter was ecstatic about having Grandpa home.
That evening, Karla made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. They all sat down to eat it, but Phillip’s hand started trembling. What is wrong with my hand? he wondered. He tried to compose himself without alerting the others but couldn’t.
He dropped a meatball and some spaghetti on the dining room floor. “Oh my god! Phillip, if you don’t like my cooking, you don’t have to eat it, but don’t throw it on the ground!” Karla suddenly exclaimed.
“No! No! Karla, I’m sorry. My hand started shaking, and I couldn’t help it. I’m so sorry!” Phillip apologized.
“Ugh, well, pick it up then,” she said dismissively. But Phillip couldn’t do that either.
“I’m sorry to bother you again, Karla. But I can’t bend down very well these days. Can you help me?” Phillip asked her as politely as possible. Anthony had been distracted by his phone this whole time, but he looked up.
“What? You can’t clean up after yourself either?” Karla snarled.
“Karla, don’t worry. I’ll pick it up. It’s not a big deal,” Anthony said. Karla huffed and frowned for the rest of dinner. They finished their food as best they could, and Phillip tried to help load the dishwater, but Karla was irritable.
“I’ll do it myself. Go back to your room,” she told him.
Later that evening, Phillip heard yelling from Karla and Anthony’s room. He couldn’t believe that Karla would get so worked up about one meatball and fork on the dining floor.
The following day, Anthony forbade him from sitting at the dining room table. “Dad, Karla hates messes more than anything else. Even her painting room is immaculate. So, I need you to eat in the kitchen from now on,” Anthony explained, frustrated.
Phillip agreed immediately, although it seemed a bit extreme. He hoped that this would be enough to calm Karla down and keep Anthony happy. Phillip could tell that his son was also a little tired of dealing with his problems.
But that night at dinner, he accidentally dropped his glass of water. It shattered on the kitchen floor. So Karla decided that he would have to eat out of shabby wooden plates and drink from Fiona’s old baby cups.
“If we don’t do that, your father is going to break every single glass in this house, Anthony,” Phillip heard Karla say to Anthony.
“What do you want me to do? He’s old, and his health is failing,” Anthony replied.
“I didn’t sign up for this! You deal with it, or I’m leaving,” Karla threatened.
So Phillip started using the worst kind of cutlery to avoid breaking anything. He spent most of the time in his room and avoided speaking to Karla at all. I can’t believe Anthony married such a heartless woman, Phillip thought to himself. Anthony also seemed to cave to her every demand, and it was so heartbreaking for him.
One day, he was sitting in their backyard watching Fiona playing with her things. The girl had found some old wooden boards from the shed and tried to make something out of them. Karla and Anthony came out as well to enjoy some time in the sun. They both ignored him for the most part.
“Honey, what are you doing with those boards?” Anthony asked his daughter.
“She must be building something artistic. She takes after me,” Karla added cheerfully. Fiona turned to them and shocked them.
“I’m making you some plates and spoons,” Fiona explained.
“Why? We have plenty in the kitchen,” Karla said humorously.
“Well, you’re getting old like Grandpa. So you two need to eat from these plates soon,” she responded. Phillip smiled to himself, but Karla and Anthony were wide-eyed. Karla stood up and went back inside.
Anthony looked mad. “Ok, baby girl. It’s time to go inside and take a bath,” he told Fiona, and the little girl rushed inside.
“Dad, I’m so sorry. I’ve been stressed lately, and I don’t know what I was thinking,” Anthony started. “Work is changing, and now, things at home have changed. Karla can’t give an inch…it’s all just killing me.”
Phillip could see how desperate his son was. “Anthony, I wouldn’t have moved here if you told me. I don’t want to mess things up for you. And I’m ok eating out of cheap stuff to avoid breaking anything. But I must admit, Fiona is a smart cookie,” he responded.
“You’re my dad. You won’t be eating out of horrible plates and cutlery anymore. That’s enough!” Anthony said vehemently.
That night he had a massive fight with Karla, and she left to stay at her mother’s place for a while, leaving Fiona with them.
“Anthony, when are you going to get Karla back?” Phillip asked him.
“I’m not, Dad. She refuses to apologize and has demonstrated that she is not the kind of person I want to be with. We’re over, and it’s for the best,” his son responded. He also assured Phillip that their troubles started way before he came along.
“I’m so ashamed of the way I treated you these past weeks, Dad. That will never happen again. You don’t have to worry about it anymore,” Anthony continued.
In the end, he and Karla got divorced, but Anthony had more custody of Fiona because she decided to travel the country doing her artwork. Meanwhile, Phillip, Anthony, and Fiona ate dinner together every night but never used wooden cutlery or plates again.
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