“Hey,” my father said just as we were hanging up. “Keep your nose to the grind. I need you to work hard. Go ahead and make those millions. I may need you someday.”
It was the first time in my entire life that my father considered he might need his only daughter and if he had the notion before, he would never admit to it. My father does not need anyone because he is a man. Men do not need.
My dad asks for nothing and he gives nothing in return. If nothing means stuff you can buy. My dad has always known that his true value is to teach and his wisdom is all knowledge. Of course he knows everything. There can be no denying what is right. “Open your eyes and LOOK at the world in front of you. Stop watching that television. I am telling you they are poisoning you. They are brainwashing you.”
Now television is what my dad does the most. He lives by Fox news and the TV makes up most of the world. He is home most of the time and his friends are dying around him. Last year it was his best friend and roomate. Life took him out slowly. I was there to see him to turn from man to rot. I drove the hours to clean up the puke and the mess of what happens when our bodies start to spill out and over onto the floor.
“I want to be a princess,” I whisper it to myself because if only Walt Disney could adopt me my wishes would come true and magic would soon be here to undo the life that has brought me to my knees.
It’s funny because when I have been dying myself I feel like apologizing. Late nights rushed to the hospital while my family is half-asleep and up when they should be sleeping. They could be living normal life instead of being held back by me. If I am a burden now…
I have three parents and a daughter. All will need care within these years and here it is that my whole life I imagined that I was supposed to have someone to take care of me?
I do though. I have love and as sad as I am to know that I am at the threshold of saying good-bye I can not undo this sentence. No one will ever find my glass slipper and if they do it will be to what end. Things end. I don’t want this to end.
Before I lay my father down to rest I will tell him that there came a time where I understood my purpose and the value of what it is that I do as a writer, as a photographer. I am the keeper of his life’s lessons and of memories. The ones he thought I never listened to. Like I could ignore him. My father is savage and serious. He is also gentle and wounded. Like a lion who didn’t get one thorn, but twenty.
I am much like my father. My father was certain I would find myself killed as a child. He came to this conclusion because I find the good in every soul and even if I think it is evil I want to get close enough to understand if love can change it. I ran away from him in the city once when I was very young. I wanted to ask homeless people how I could help them and if they were OK.
“You do not look at them,” my father was stern as he shook my tiny shoulders. I was five or so. His eyes were popping with anger as spit flew to spatter my face. “You walk with your head high, eyes straight ahead, alert always. Those people will gut you. You may think they are good people. There may even be good people among them. This is not about good people. This is about how bad people really are when they are bad. There are bad people in this world. People who find pleasure in hurting loving people.”
Today my dad was frantic as he told me about a homeless man he is friends with. The man is dying of liver cancer in the hospital. My dad was enraged because the staff was trying to send him away. “You do not understand. I just got of the phone with his sister. He is on the fourth floor. He doesn’t have a friend in the world that gives a sh*t about him and I want him to know that I care. I am here.” They called security because my dad had the man’s name slightly wrong. He refused to go. “I told them they would have to arrest me!” He was hurt that he had to fight so hard for what have should been simple. I could tell as he told the story that he is wishing for that. Some more of simple.
Before I lay my father down to rest I will find a way to make Disney dreams real. I will let him see the seed that he worked so hard to plant grew to make magic real again. I will let him know that I remember every word and they are a gift. I write so that we can be remembered. My dad is a GAVE.