Daddy’s Girl

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic


I wrote this in an effort to self disclose as a letter to my father


The day I was born you were there

Eyes smiling,teeth glowing, 

your lips stretched ear to ear with pride. 

Your dark brown curls at your shoulders and the neatly trimmed mustache that every man had in the 80’s

You and mom divorced a year later. 

When I was a child I stood on the toes of your boots

As you danced around the room

My arms wrapped around your muscular thin waste. 

I felt as though we were floating, 

I’d cling tighter begging for you not to stop, 

wishing to be dizzy 

And when you did 

I would slide in my socks across the hard floor of the living room and run toward you to be caught safely in your arms. 

Drowning in The scent of Ralph Lauren polo and cigarettes and beer

I loved you so fucking much. 

I thought you were stronger than any man

I didn’t see the jack as you held your car with one arm

When you were disappointed in me I felt a bit of my heart break off and sink deep beneath the layers of my soul like the titanic, 

only nobody survived

You were my hero. 

You told me I was a princess and I believed you. 

You bragged to anyone who would listen that I was your daughter

You took me to work with you 

You drove through two states to pick me up so I could visit you. 

You told me you’d take me to Disneyland some day 

and I believed you with every bit of hope a child could have. 

Until I was 5. 

I was five Daddy. 

You told me to try it. You told me to inhale. You told me they were your friends. You told me I’d feel better and you had to make a deal. 

I believed you. 

You had to make a deal

I was Daddy’s girl. 

You told me to follow them. 

You waited outside the door

Injecting and smoking and drinking

Ignoring my pleas for you arms.  

 

They tore me apart Daddy. 

 

They took that little girl and they made her into something I haven’t recognized since

 

I slept in the bathtub that night, 

afraid I would stain the carpet of my bed, afraid you would have me sleep instead with someone

 I didn’t know 

And I swear daddy that even though I tried to be quiet I was screaming for you 

The 

Whole

Time. 

You told me not to tell. 

I was daddy’s girl. 

When I would visit, before you let me share your bed, I was confined to a closet in my cousins room. 

They weren’t my cousins but I didn’t know this 

because I believed

 you

I used to smell the paint on the baseboard, a familiar dusty and forgotten scent that seems to hit me at the worst times, 

dragging me back to you

My fingers would twist the carpet fibers until each individual strand was freed from the communal entanglement they were meant to stay in

When I grew older I found myself in many closets, being comforted by the twisting and untwisting and familiar forgotten scent of loneliness 

I believed you when you said I’d feel better 

I inhaled again and again and again 

And to this day I inhale believing you

Smoke filling my lungs with a burning reminder

Of you

When I was allowed in your bed I began preparing for communion 

You knew God and I believed you

That first night

My uncle, who wasn’t my uncle, was in the next room 

That was why I had to share your bed you told me. 

Oh,

 I fucking believed you. 

Our father, who art in heaven

Your hands slithering toward me like the serpent from your stories

Hallowed be thy name

My innocence crushed as you positioned me to pray

Thy kingdom

Pray

Come

Pray

Thy will be 

Stuttering I’d repeat after you. 

An entire fucking rosary. 

I look back on those nights, particularly this one, I know they lasted a thousand hours. 

I know

Because I counted every single one of them. 

Again I inhaled. 

I inhaled as you made me French toast the next morning with a smile on your face. 

Don’t tell. I’m daddy’s girl. 

I loved you. 

When I was 9

I slid across the floor in my socks to find you sleeping with beer cans formed like an aluminum tomb

An Egyptian pyramid of drunken slumber before me

I wanted to lay with you 

but I was afraid

You woke up when I shook you. 

I wanted to tell you I couldn’t sleep

I wanted to tell you I was scared. 

You called me a whore and I believed you. 

Running you got me in the hallway and I gave in 

Because I was a whore and because I loved you and because 

you told me to 

My eyes fixated on my cousins giraffe peeking from the open door to my grandmothers room the thumping of my head on the baseboard, the familiar smell of polo and dust, the familiar pain invading my body until I 

Began to disappear 

I called my mother after and told her 

 

i was homesick. 

 

Two days of driving in the back of a strangers car 

But you didn’t even notice for 2 weeks

 

When I was 15. 

You told me you loved me and I believed you. 

You told me to stay with you, so much time had passed, and I did. You told me to inhale, and so I did. 

I stayed with you, you stayed

In me. 

I wrote to you going home but I never told you. It was at that point it hit me we weren’t normal. 

I came to you after that, of my own will, over and over again

I hated myself

You said I was beautiful and I couldn’t believe you. 

But to me 

you were beautiful. 

That’s what I thought mattered. 

You took me fishing when I moved next door at 27 years of age. 

It was hot 

and humid 

and there was a hole in the row boat, but we didn’t care. 

You drank as I fretted over the encroaching alligators and the rapidly sinking boat we were helpless in. 

You didn’t seem to mind the motor wasn’t working

 or the water was filling 

or the gators were coming.

 I caught a turtle on my line and you laughed 

We both did until our sides hurt and our calves were wet and we had no choice but to turn around and head home. 

You worked on my car with me, you went to parades and ate meals and smoked with me

I inhaled. 

You died and left me without a goodbye. They asked if you wanted to see me and you told them

No. 

I wasn’t in the obituary 

I didn’t exist

But I’m still daddy’s girl. 

I find myself torn apart again

by men, by memories of you

throughout my life 

Searching for you in the shadows of 

the secrets I hold

Behind this wall I keep

But if we could speak

Just one more time

I wouldn’t believe  

Maybe

Instead 

I’d tell you,

I told.


Submitted: March 20, 2018

© Copyright 2023 Rita Everett. All rights reserved.

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