One way or the other
„It is going to be… somehow’, says the man. „In fact I do not remember it ever not being somehow. It always ends one way or the other”.
He takes a slice of bread, dips it in the jar of thick peasant sour cream and bites harshly. He takes a young green onion and cracks its leaves between his teeth.
„Here, have some”, he invites me to join him. „Tomatoes are just perfect. Better, there’s some garlic cooked bacon in the fridge. He offers me a chunk of bread. „Come on, you need to eat. You look like your shadow”, he laughs loudly at the sound of his own comparison.
„You’ll have to stick a sign to your back: ‘my butt, no chicken’ , this way people might leave you alone. They will understand that you are hard to mull over.” He continues to chew slowly from his improvised picnic on the kitchen table.
Mom is not around, otherwise he would not dare eat on the plastic protection. He doesn’t look at me. He just eats his bit and relishes every crumb of it. He licks the cream off his fingers. From time to time he lifts his eyes to me. He is checking me out. „You’re not having anything”, he nods. „Food is your fuel. That nice brain of yours needs curls. I made you smart and you’re ruining everything”, he munches on the last leaves of the onion.
Then he becomes silent. I am almost crying.
„Girl, life is not beautiful and it is definitely no fairy tale, unless you are addicted to Xanax and that’s a different story. You can always try a good whiskey shot on an empty stomach though.” He smiles enigmatically. „You have everything you need inside yourself to make an exciting adventure out of it. You’ll fall and scratch you knees, certainly. You’ll bleed and it’s going to feel like the end of the world is coming. Well, good news, it is not. Your eyes will get poked once or twice along the way. Whether your knee is broken or your eyes are grieving from tears, the sun rises in the morning and it heals your wounds. Yours and those of the others. I know, sometimes you don’t want them to heal. You want to suffer, you want to torture yourself, to swirl with pain. It’s your right, but it’s stupid. The show it’s not worth it unless you get paid good money for being made a fool out of yourself. A bit of drama can be good for your own self-esteem, if you want. The legendary damsel in distress. But not too much. Men don’t have the patience for it. I don’t have it. The sooner you understand this, the wiser you grow up. Don’t stare at me! I know what I am talking about. I love your mom’s drama. She always menaces me to make me a nice collar out of the frying pan when she’s getting angry. I never told her, but I find it a cool idea. Can you imagine that? Me running around with the steak frying pan around the block? What’s with this face? Do you want me to lie to you? It’s not my job. You’ll meet many on your path who will enjoy lying to you. They will see you like a name on a check-list, a nice catch, a thorn in the eye, or poison in their mouth. They will envy you. They will try to capture you. To possess you. Argh! I could kill them all… You will meet them. Everybody meets them one day. They are not your enemies. They are your teachers. All those who oppose you will teach you a lesson. The heavier the outcome, the more important the teachings. The best ones will rip off a piece of your heart and leave a scar instead. This very scar is a precious war prey, you will have to display it, proudly. And when you have no heart left to be chopped out, you will grow a new one. And you will share it. Then my girl, you will understand what a wonderful present I gave you: a name to go by the amazing creature you are! It is clear to me that you do not get it. Well, let me put it this way: you are the most wonderful piece of art that I have ever shaped. Allow those people to be modest who have a reason for being so. You certainly don’t have any. I know it because you are my girl. As long as I leave nobody is allowed to think less than this about you. You, especially! You got this from your mom, this sort of continuous questioning of your abilities. Your mom can run the world by herself if she wants to. She doesn’t have to. But she constantly tries to. And I allow her to be the queen of my world. I am the king and the servant. When I am the one in charge, she fights me. When I keep low, she pulls me up. And I love her so much for being so undecided. Kind of redundant of me to repeat the same thing day in day out after 35 years together. So I hold this for myself. I whisper it to her on special occasions and I make sure she gives me a kiss for it. She always runs away from my hugs. Not because she doesn’t like them but because it feels awkward to her to still be in love after all these years.”
The dog approaches and sits next to him. He caresses her. Dolly yawns.
„It’s time to go. Keep your head up, and remember there was never not to be in any way, in the worst case scenario, it’s always the other who loses on you. But the other one’s losses are not of your concern.” He stands up, the dog follows him. „Tell mom I know she loves me, kiss the boys good-night for me, all 4 of them! You are My girl. You are genuinely extraordinary! And for God’s sake, cut yourself some slack!”
My father’s image fades away.
I wipe my tears. I am daddy’s girl!