I loved my father, my daddy. My sister and I jockeyed for the favorite child position well into our adult lives. She ultimately won, by following the rules and marrying well. My half-brother, never into sports and butch things, but a Madonna follower who painted his high school bedroom fuschia with feminine tendencies and a creative mind; he was never in the running. But we, my father’s girls, all we had to do was to be beautiful and poised, well spoken and look flawless. So we became beautiful adult women through expensive lotions, manicured nails, perfumes, surgeries, injections, cosmetic peels, diets of deprivation and days at the gym so that we could be as beautiful as the bikini clad girls he pointed out to me and admired on the beach when I was younger. He was proud we were his beautiful daughters and I often felt he pitted us against each other by offering more attention to one so the other would “up their game”.
My parents had two closets in their bedroom suite. One was a massive walk-in with two doors where my father kept his suits, Sansabelt slacks and countless pairs of shiny dress shoes. The other closet, my mother’s, was just a small closet with the one bar across in which my mother kept her outdated clothes she knew she would be able to fit into again one day, but until then she wore her long nightgowns and elastic waist jeans. This to me showed who was the most important in our family, my father. I would often go into his closet and bury myself within the suits and dress shirts hanging up, breathing in his scent. I would put his cologne on my stuffed animals that I kept in my bed and in high school would give my boyfriend a bottle of Monogram cologne, so he would smell like my father minus the gin.
My father wasn’t an affectionate man. Maybe this is why any sort of attention from this Zeus like figure, the perfect man would make me feel complete. I adored him even though his punishments were often harsh.
The first man to hit me so hard that I saw stars was my father. I had always thought that was just a saying, but I guess when there is such a forceful blow to the head it knocks your eyes loopy, kind of like when you get your photo taken with a flash, there are little stars in all sorts of colors for a few moments.
I was 16 and grounded, again, for what, I cannot recall. It could have been as serious as coming home drunk or as innocent as rolling my eyes. My parents had already had it out about my father’s six year affair. My mother was taking everything he had. He was being forced to sell his businesses to pay the child support and alimony so that my mother’s lifestyle of not working and endless shopping would not be affected. Plus he’d agreed to put us all through college. She got the furniture, cars, boat, boat house, lake lot and the home we lived in. He got his car, most of his clothes and rented a musty, dark basement apartment. He left all of his whites she had turned pink in the washing machine.
My mother methodically went through another crisis when she made my father leave, but mostly when we had company visiting or when she went to a friend’s house. The tears would flow and the fists would bang on the kitchen table while she received the much desired attention she craved.
Maybe I should have comforted her too, not turned away when she was crouched on the floor blubbering about how she would never find another man to take care of her, but I didn’t. I hated her and I didn’t buy her sad victim act. This had been the best thing to ever happen to her. I had never seen my parents hug, kiss or even have a conversation that didn’t involve choosing the appropriate disciplinary action they would bestow on me for my most recent disappointing report card.
My mother was taking him for everything he had, soiling his reputation to anyone who would listen and especially in a small town, an eager ear wasn’t hard to find. Even though my father in an effort to save his assets agreed to break things off with his mistress in hopes my mother would take him back and forgive his infidelity, she wouldn’t hear of it and began dating in search of a new wealthier husband.
After my father had moved out of the house, he stopped by one day as I was about to leave with my friend. I was on the dance team and we had a performance at a local festival. I was grounded from any social activity and my driving privileges had been taken away, so I had to get a ride or risk demerits from the dance coach. My mother had gone to see her therapist and wasn’t home. She had given me permission to go.
I guess it is hard to walk into a home you had built and paid for but had to give your vindictive ex-wife. So my father already had that emotion going on and to see me there with a friend about to leave while I was grounded made him angrier. I tried to explain the situation, but he ordered my friend to leave the house without me and he didn’t want any excuses.
I then whispered under my breath one of the worst things apparently I could have said, something my mother had said on a near daily basis when talking about my father, a word that at 16 yrs old, I really didn’t know the meaning, I just knew that it was bad.
I called him a Bastard.
I didn’t think it was loud enough for him to hear, but he did hear it and came charging after me. I ran through the breakfast room, through the hallway and up the long staircase. I could hear the stomp of his tasseled loafers on the hardwood floor close behind me. I reached the top of the stairs and ran down the upstairs hallway. I slammed the bathroom door behind me and locked it. I then made my way to the 2nd door where the shower and toilet were. I shut and locked that door too. My heart was pounding and I felt a new fear that I had never experienced before. My father came through those two locked doors in no time, slammed me up against the window with the wooden blinds making slits against my back and began in full force rage to open handedly hit me in my face repeatedly, over and over again. I don’t know why, but I screamed; “HIT ME AGAIN! HIT ME AGAIN!” These words made him stop. He looked ashamed and I ran past him to my room, grabbed my dance uniform and keys and ran to my car.
By the time I arrived at the festival to get in line up with the other girls, the left side of my face had begun to swell and his large handprint was there as evidence of what had happened. When people noticed, I just shrugged it off somehow convincing myself it didn’t happen, it had been my imagination, it wasn’t that bad, I deserved it. After all, maybe my mother was telling the truth all along; I really was the reason they were getting a divorce. I was the reason she was in therapy. I was a bad child and I had to be punished.
I still loved my father. I kept a photo of him in his suit on my nightstand in a pretty pink and white striped frame for most of my adult life. I still wanted to be his little girl. I went on to seek out men just like him, men who were unfaithful, god like, handsome, confident and made me work for their affection. I saw stars many times after that day, from men who said they loved me and felt just like my parents, I needed to be punished.
I just found out I tested positive for the Alzheimer’s gene. My doctor said I’m 500 times more likely to get it than the normal person. So I’m sure my father carries this as well. I’ll give it a few more years and I’ll go visit him. I will tell him how proud he was of me growing up, how much he loved me and that I was his favorite. He will believe me, even if just for a moment.Disclaimer: You the reader are reading this blog at your own risk. At no time has the writer contacted the reader without their permission in reference to this blog site. If you find the content of this blog offensive you have the right to never visit this site again. The people, location and events have been changed to protect the innocent; any similarities to any persons either living or dead are purely coincidental.