A Father’s Love
It was twelve on one Monday morning when I first noticed my Marrie crying. I looked from my seat where I always sat, my eyes purposed as it always is, towards the one glass wall in my Marrie’s little white cell. My Marrie, my daughter who I placed in a room without windows or doors while she was sleeping as infant so that I may have her happily ever after more.
She was sitting in her bed, screaming and flinging her arms and gnashing her teeth. What an impossible child, my little one was. But I could not hear her. No she was a doll in a box, a doll who was ungrateful enough not to know what she was. Her words were muffled by pillow after pillow of padding in her room. You see, a child’s comfort is a parent’s priority. “What does she want now?” I remember screaming to myself. She had everything, you see? From pillows, to dolls, to twinkling Sunday dresses. She had every twelve year old’s dream. Now you see why it was not wrong to ask why she was crying. I opened the monitor that connected sound between her room and mine.
“What do you want?” my voice was rigid and calm, as a father’s voice should be. “Speak!” I spoke, purposeful yet reassuring.
For a moment, I forgot that she had not yet learned to speak, that we communicated through gestures of hand and face. Television was never allowed in her room. Books were illegal. And I never sent her to school. I mean, a child’s first and best teacher is her parent. I am a good father. I kept her safe from the perils of real life. I watched her day and night. These were a priori. These were a parent’s responsibility. Parenthood is a full time job.
So what did she want? What the fuck did she want? I pushed a yellow button and a panel in the ceiling opened to shower her with dolls, with candy, with vanilla, chocolate, and peppermint ice cream. And do you believe it? She was still in tears. She was still in tears! Fucking ingrate.
“Little girl, Little girl, why won’t you smile? Little girl, little girl.” I sang to myself. One cigarette. Just one fresh cigarette, I placed into my mouth. I know cigarettes are bad for little girls. She might get the idea to smoke one herself but I pardoned myself just this once. Parenthood is a tiring job, but it’s worth it. It’s worth it, if you know what I mean. “Little girl, little girl, what the fuck do you want. Little girl, little girl.”
She stood, and banged herself against the glass wall. The silk of her skin broke to red sores. The thud was so human and full that it deafened my song. I flung my cigarette at her. I turned the monitor off. I thought. I thought of a way to make her happy, this, my daily chore. She slammed her fists against the wall. She shaped her mouth to giant O, and saliva sprang forth. I was thinking. I was thinking. Just a moment, little fucker. I was thinking for just a moment, a moment which evolved to the weight and guilt of a father who could not make her one and only Marrie happy.
“A clue,” I said to no one in particular, “ I need a clue.” Beside me were parent help books. I had the bibles of perfect parenthood just a few inches away. Parenting for Dummies. How to talk to Your Kids. The Encyclopaedia of Tantrums. Single Parenthood. I opened them all, and tossed them all in frustration. Nothing! Nothing was helpful! I don’t know anything.
Now, she was throwing everything at me. Chocolate Barbie Sundays! A Vanilla Frilly Sunday Dress! Peppermint Power Puff Girls! Her every wish granted was now but a curse she freely let fly towards the window. And as a coat of ice cream slowly splashed against my window wall, fire started to eat my lungs away. I did not know what to do. What kind of parent was I? I who have committed myself to the happiness and welfare of my daughter.
Trembling, my finger pushed another button. This time it was coloured red. Red. The red tinge of plague, of death, of human sacrifice. And the window wall opened.
It was twelve on a Monday morning when I first noticed the room empty and the window wall shattered. I sit on my seat where I always sit, my eyes purposed to a tear.
It is twelve on a Monday morning when I first noticed my Tommie Boy crying
July 8, 2008