Tuesday, April 10, 2012

My Father (Ch. 2)

I remember little of my life before age six, and this was the time my mother and father were together.  So I have very little memory of him.  I have made up a past for myself in this stretch of time I can't recall.  In this period of my life I imagine that my mother cooked dinner every night, my father gave me piggy back rides and we had a happy home.  I would rather feel anger at having lost this happy childhood, than the sadness at never having had it at all.  It is easier to direct that anger towards my mother, than to have any blame fall on my father.  My father is my fallen hero, watching over me from above.  Part of me knows there is blame on his part and that not everything is my mother's fault, but it's painful to start questioning the "whys" in my head when it comes to him.

When I was about six years old my father took me on a bug hunt.  We had one of those insect kits for kids with a bucket that had a magnifying glass on it.  We set out on our hunt in an open field with weeds that had grown as tall as me.  I felt as if I were on a safari and in a real life jungle.  He was bent over in a low crouch and held my hand as he led the way.  He turned around smiling and put one finger over his lips telling me to "shhh".  My breaths were shallow and quick and I had a huge open mouth smile plastered on my face.  I wanted to run.  I was too excited to walk quietly!  I followed with my own finger over my lips and my eyes opened as wide as I could make them...  waiting in anticipation for what would happen next.  Then he shouted in a playful voice, "Let's go! Hurry before it gets away!"...  I took off like my life depended on it!  All my pent up excitement and energy exploded and exited through my legs.  I felt like a cartoon character whose legs were moving so fast they were just a blur of circular movement.  I wished there were sound effects, so I made my own, "zzzzzzzzoooommmmmm".  Then he caught me by my waist and spun me around like I was a plane.  He set me down and pointed at the ground and showed me a potato bug.  I thought it looked just like an elf.  It was disturbingly humanoid like.  I couldn't believe bugs like that existed in the world!  We must have been the first to discover this creature!   

After our bug hunt we went swimming, he told me I must have been half fish because of how long I could stay in the water.  I took this as a huge compliment, and stayed in even longer than I wanted to prove just how right he was.  I got out with toes and fingers wrinkled up like a raisin.  The pool had concrete all around it and chairs spread out with umbrellas here and there.  He was sitting down drinking a beer and watching me while he talked to my mom.  I started playing with a giant bouncy ball and I bounced it so high it went over the fence.  I went up to my dad with watery eyes and told him the ball he bought me was lost.  I had a hard time keeping my bottom lip from trembling, but I didn't want to be a baby so I kept my tears from falling.  I was devastated I lost that ball.  Just devastated. He looked down at me and said, "Don't cry silly girl, I'll go get it."  Then he got up and jumped over the fence with one hand (super hero style) and came back with my ball! My father was my hero.  I took the ball and didn't bounce it again.

Later that night before we went to bed he got out his Indian pouch and helped me to throw corn meal out for the Myanie spirits for blessings.  Then he gave me a bag full of rocks, he told me each rock called on a certain element of nature.  "The white rock for wind, the blue one for water, and the red for the sun."  He told me if I was cold, I could rub the red stone and I would feel warm, if I was thirsty I could rub the blue stone and I would find water.  It was magic!  I was thrilled.  My father had lots of magic.  We were Indians.  He had access to this special spirit world and could call on them when ever he wanted.  Now I had special rocks connected to this world....later I would use these rocks to connect me to him too. 

 My father below in traditional Native American dress.

Early the next morning my mother would wake me up and hush me to be quiet.  She would help me out the bedroom window and we would drive away from my father forever.  I never saw him again.  It's strange how my mind grasped hold of that last day with him and I remembered almost every detail so clearly.  I'm thankful for that.  I never knew why we left.  I asked my mother years later why we snuck out the window like that and she told me, "because he never would have let you go..........." I felt elation at hearing this, I always wanted to hear about how much my father loved me, but I looked back at her with hatred.  "Why?..... Why?.." There were no answers.  I shed lots of tears over that, and I still shed them now looking back.  I use to wonder if he was looking for me.  I would rub my magic rocks and send him sunshine.  I'd send the wind to whisper my pleads for rescue.  He never came. 


  1. Okay, I am still trying to find the part where you aren't a very good writer. This is amazing.