It was 07:00 am in the morning and I was outside walking in the freezing cold. Reason why? My dad woke me up and told me we needed to have a talk. That was expected, but I didn’t expect to have to leave my toasty warm bed to face the glacial coldness of the weather outside so early in the morning. However, one look at my dad’s stern face and I knew it would be a wise choice for me to keep shut and just silently obey him.
Keep shut and obey. Even if he was leading me to my death, which I think he was because he hadn’t told me where we were going since we stepped out the house trudging through the light snow on the lonesome dark streets. Not being funny or anything, but I think I now had an idea how Isaac must have felt not having a clue where his father, Abraham was taking him to, not knowing that his intention was to kill him. I prayed that God would send me an angel to save me too.
An angel saved you last night.
Urgh, shut up brain, I wasn’t talking about that angel; that infuriatingly handsome, annoyingly sweet, ridiculously funny, abrasively caring angel that had covered up for me. My mind was just fuzzed, too fuzzed to understand why he decided to tell my dad that the condom belonged to him. I wanted to slap him for ignoring/avoiding me for the past week and then I wanted to kiss him out of gratitude and then slap him again, just for extra measure.
Exhaling loudly from frustration, my cold breath made a small, puffy cloud before dissolving into thin air, my inner-immaturity thought it’d be fun to start releasing breath continuously on purpose so I could create more clouds, because they looked so cool, although they would have been cooler if they were big enough to drift me away to a far, far away land where ‘Once upon a time’ and ‘and they lived happy after’ existed.
I stopped, when I heard low chuckling, coming from my dad, “Aren’t you a little too old for that?”
“Noooo.” I answered defensively not realising how caught up I was in my little ‘breath-game’.
Daring a look at my dad, he seemed relaxed, well more relaxed than yesterday, which was progress as I had never seen my dad look so upset and angry with me and with me being daddy’s girl, that had broke my heart.
I wasn’t daddy’s little girl any longer.
“We’re here”, announced my dad as we finally stood in front of a yellow-gate entrance that led to the park.
I lived around this area for seven years and I had never set eyes on this park, so I was slightly surprised that my dad who had only been here for two weeks had already familiarised himself with the neighbourhood. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised since my daily routine before was to drop off Bobby at school and go to mine, then pick up Bobby from school and from there go home. That was about it.
I tried to quench the excitement building within me as I took sight of the red swings, coated with fresh, white, glistening snow, but it was too much for me to handle and without hesitation I made a bolt for it.
“Esther, be careful or you’re gonna...fall.”
“Ow, my butt hurts daddy.”
Silly me, in my haste to get to the swings I had managed to forget the danger hazard concerning snow and how it easy it was to slip without good grips, which I didn’t have. And that was the reason why I sat painfully on the slushy ground rubbing my sore bum, waiting for my dad to help me up.
“I told you to be careful, look at you now”, chided my dad as he jogged over to me seeing me in my unfortunate position, “hold my hand.”
Grabbing one of my dad’s outstretched hands I was able to hoist myself up, with my other hand still minding the pain in my backside. I wrapped my hand around my dad’s neck as he led us both safely to the swings. I sat down on one of the two swing seats, not caring that it was lathered in white cold crusts and that when I got up it would most certainly leave a wet patch on my grey track bottoms.
As I clasped my hands around the silver chains and swayed my legs back and forth slowly, I remembered times like this when I was little and my dad would take me to the park, I’d scrape my knee after falling off the monkey bars or hurt myself casually because of my clumsy nature and my dad would always be right there to pick me up and make it all better. Those days were simpler.
“I know the condom belongs to you.”
These days were complicated.
I tightened my grip on the steel chains, feeling my heart do the same as I heard what my dad had said. He wasn’t questioning, he was stating.
Strangely for some reason, I had thought that my dad would actually believe Angelo, but I should have known better than that, to know that he digs deep for the truth. Now that he was stating this fact, I knew he was giving me another chance to redeem myself.
“Daddy, I can exp-”
“No need to, Esther.”
My head shot up to the side, staring at my dad, surprise written all over my face at his response.
“I trust you.”
“Y-you trust me?” I repeated still shocked that my dad hadn’t whipped out an axe ready to attack me.
“Yes, I trust you. I trust that your mother and I, with more credit going to your mother, we have brought you up good and instilled values to help you make the right choices in life...whatever they are. And I’ll continue to pray that God will continue to guide you to make the right and best decisions for yourself. All I want from you, Esther is that you trust me back.”
“I do trust you.”
“I mean like the trust you had in me when you were little and you came to me when you hurt yourself on the monkey bars and you’d come crying to me or when you told me you had a boyfriend in kindergarten, what was his name again Brandon?
“Yeah, Brandon”, I giggled remembering, “and if I remember correctly you got really angry and you made me point him out so you could report him to my teacher that he was sexually harassing me.”
“But he was”, stubbornly bit out my dad.
I had been about five and after coming home from school, I had giddily gone up to my dad, just bursting to give him the good news of my new found romance and of how Brandon had kissed me on the cheek. In my innocent five year old mind, I didn’t understand why my dad was getting so furious over this spectacular news of mine and he had told my mum that he was going over to my kindergarten school, but somehow my mum finally calmed him down however my dad ordered me to break up with him the very next day. And that was the first and last relationship I had.
“We were five, daddy!”
“Whatever, point is I want you to trust me like you did back then. I want you to always feel comfortable to speak to your dad, whatever the situation.”
“Okay daddy.” I lied. I learnt from my mistake last time I tried to tell him something. Not going to let history repeat itself.
“You’re lying”, stated my dad easily.
Annoyed at his lie-detector impulses, I asked, “How come you always know when I’m lying?”
Scrunching my nose, confused, I said, “It’s mother’s instinct, there’s no such thing as father’s instinct.”
“Well now there is, because your dad is that awesome”, I heard him sigh and I knew he was going to say something more serious, “when I saw it, that’s when it really hit me that you’re 18 and not 10 anymore. I am sorry for yelling at you, it’s just that I got angry at myself, as I realised how much time I’ve missed with you, that I’m not going to get back. I see now that it’s time for me to accept the past and move on with the time I got with you now, but I already feel like you’re moving too fast and you’re ready to let go of your pops. I’m not ready to let you go, Esther.”
“Daddy, I’m right here.”
A comfortable silence spread between my dad and I as we silently watched the morning sky begin to gracefully lighten up, with its different tones of orange, purple and blue.
“Happy New Year, Esther.”
“Happy New Year, daddy.”
It only occurred to me then, that it was the first day of the New Year, but it didn’t really feel like it. Back at the Henriquez’s New Year Party, shortly after midnight we had thankfully left, as I was in no way in a party mood after the night I had. Also, although Angelo jumped in at the chance to cover up for me after the ‘conversation’ with my dad he continue to avoid me, but for the two milliseconds that he did glance at me he looked extremely irritated and that was not the attention I had hoped to garner from him. What a waste of a three hundred dollar dress.
I was curious to find out what my dad and Angelo had discussed in private and how Angelo had managed to survive it, so I asked my dad casually trying not to seem to eager or nosey, “So daddy, what did you and Mr.Henriquez talk about?”
Laughing to himself quietly, I watched as the first few snowdrops landed on his nose.
“You can call him by his first name, you know.”
“I know, but I prefer not to”, I answered knowing that if I did my dad’s suspicions of my ‘relationship’ with Angelo would be questioned, and with the predicament that he had found both of us in yesterday, it would definitely not help matters.
“So what did you two talk about?” I pressed again.
Men stuff, seriously? Now I was more curious.
“Like what ‘men stuff’? I urged, not satisfied with the vague answers my dad was dishing out.
“Grown up, men stuff.”
Oh gosh, please don’t tell me my dad and Angelo had a conversation about sex for ten minutes while I panicked in fear that one of them was going to get killed, namely Angelo.
“He’s a funny guy”, I heard my dad add as he continued to laugh.
My dad says he’s funny, which can only mean Buttbag must have said one of his perverted sexual jokes. That is no way right, but stupidly I was pleased that my dad seemed to have warmed to Angelo. Next time, I see that Buttbag I’m going to have a little word with him.
I didn’t question my dad any further as I didn’t want to be corrupted with the crude details of their conversation. A few moments passed and they snowfall was getting heavier and heavier, and I was shivering and in risk of getting pneumonia as was my dad but he seemed to be enjoying the cold, I wasn’t. Therefore it was time to go on home.
“Daddy, I’m cold can we go home now?” I whined like a two year old child as I slipped off the swing seat, feeling the numbing cold on my butt, I started walking off.
“Alright, careful now you don’t...slip.”
“Ow, daddy my butt hurts!”