Sunday, October 31, 2010

Daddy and I

My childhood memories of my mother range from 'very faint' to 'non-existent'. She left when I was eight. My sister was six then. She left us with Daddy, without looking back. And, as Gretl said of Fraulein Maria in 'Sounds of Music', she didn't even say good-bye! I came home from school one day to find her gone. 

I had caught her crying the week before she left. And so, after there were no more tears to shed, I got  mad at Daddy. Mommy loved me! I know she did! and she wouldn't have left if Daddy hadn't done something horrid to her! I refused to talk to Daddy for week. Refused to see his own pain. If he was suffering, served him right! After all, he drove her away, didn't he? At times, I think I even hated him! and acted it! But Daddy never wavered in his love for my sister and I. 

An unspoken truce was declared though, when I had refused to eat dinner one day and convinced my little sister to do the same. We were on hunger strike, we said. And we climbed up to bed on empty stomachs as Daddy stood begging us, on the verge of tears. 'We are not eating till you bring Mommy back!' We screamed and shut our bedroom door, oblivious to how each word we spoke drove a knife into his heart. 
As was wont to happen, we woke up in the middle of the night with insistent cravings only food could satisfy. As I sneaked downstairs to steal some food, I saw daddy crying at the Dining table. He was holding a framed photograph in his hands. It was of the family, all four of us. 

Now, I had never seen Daddy cry. Men don't cry where I'm from. Daddy was our jolly cuddly bear. He tickled us with his mouthstache until we giggled when we were crying. He sang silly songs and told lame Daddy jokes that had me rolling my eyes. Sure, he got mad when we broke a plate or did something bad. But even then, he would relent and feel bad when we began to cry and tickle us back to laughter. (of course you can imagine how we exploited this mercilessly... and he let us) Daddy never cried! This must be serious.

I run down the stairs, stealth forgotten and gave him a big hug. Hugs always made me feel better whe I was blue. He held on to me as if for dear life. 'You miss her' I stated. He nodded. 'I miss her too' I said. 'Why are you sitting here? Aren't you going to sleep? I asked. 'I couldn't go to be knowing my little girls hadn't had anything to eat' "I am not little!' I exclaimed in my most grown-up voice. 'You'll always be my little girl' He said. And that was when I fell in love with my father. Sure, I still resented him for sending mom away, but he was a great dad, and I loved him! 

'Barbara, come downstairs, cover blown' I shouted to my little sister. She ran down, joined the hug, and Daddy made us the most delicious pancakes I've had to date, which we devoured with much gusto. 

When I was ten years old, I came home early one day to pick up my costume for the school play that afternoon. I had forgotten to take it with me when I left for school in the morning. I let myself in, not expecting anyone to be home and heard Daddy's voice. 'Please, for the children's sake, wont you come back?' I sneaked into our room and picked up the extension. He must have been too distraught to notice. He hadn't even heard me come in. 

It was Mom! I listened in for about five minutes. Five minutes in which he begged her to come back. Five minutes of her saying no, she was now happy with her new lover Rafael. Why did he want her back when she had broken her blatantly broken her marriage vows? She will only do so again. She loved Rafael. My heart broke for Daddy. When I could take it no longer, I asked 'Don't you miss us even a little, Mom?' My Dad dropped the phone and ran upstairs. 'You are far too young to understand', she said, and hang up on me. C*O*W*A*R*D. 

My Dad entered our room, just as she hang up and said, 'I'm so sorry. You should never have heard that...' His voice trailed off with emotion. 'I'm sorry, Dad', I said and hugged him. 'Don't worry, If she doesn't want us, we don't need her!' and I hugged him for what seemed like hours while we both cried.(To be continued. hehehe!)


  1. Wow. Very deep & moving story. Your father sounds like an amazing man!

    You should write a book :)

  2. Very well written. Thanks for sharing.