I am in the grey dingy room fiddling with the hospital bands on my left wrist. The newest one with today’s date. The four previous ones, old and worn out, but I refused to take them off. They represented my current paternal obsession. Earphones in my ears, my iPod was syncing with my thoughts as the songs changed. My iPod on shuffle, the randomness of the function too coincidental, makes me uneasy. Shifting in my hard seat, I lightly tap the two sideways triangles facing the right. “Daddy Little Girl” by J Cole came on.
“Just because them n****s f*** you, don’t mean they love you . . . she said don’t preach to me . . . ”
I pressed the triangles again.
“Tears for ODB, drug induced poetry.”
I pressed. Again.
“I wasn’t picky I would take any male father figure.”
Were the words that decided to invade my mind. I wondered with answers why the words chose to mean something to me. I ignored them and they would came back; in different forms, in different words, in different orders. They were shape shifters.
Like the men I chose.
Every day I would find a new one. Every day, one would stick out to me. It could be something as small as the deep bass of his voice, or something bigger like the choice of his music or the perfect words that came out of his mouth at the right time without any indication from me. Whatever it was, it would act like the bait on the end of the sharp hook on a fishing rod. It would pierce into my heart. The curved part deep into my vast void.
Sometimes I wondered if they could see it, if they could see what was lacking in me. I wonder if they were drawn to me like I was magnetically pulled to them. My negative void to their positive love.
Is what they gave me. It is what I wanted the most. I was greedy for it, fiending for it. It was beautiful. Men, who didn’t know me, knew nothing about me, gave me love. So willingly and genuinely. Maybe they saw my soul, as if my soul was the flame of a candle in a clear jar, exposed yet protected.
I came for him.
While I waited in the ER, I observed the people in this wide claustrophobic space. I was watching a very familiarly odd couple. She was a young, pretty girl and he was an older man. Her wooden cross lying on her neck. His neck, wrists and fingers draped in multiple gold plated accessories. Immediately I knew the essence of their relationship. I have been in them many of times.
I am in one now.
I knew her story. She didn’t have a steady father. He walked out on her and her mother’s lives when she was seven-years-old. He randomly popped in and out of her life for five years, jack-in-the-box. Around the age of puberty her body developed and the little boys in school were attracted to her. But she wasn’t attracted to them. Around high school, which I assume she is in now, she developed a deep longing and fascination for the older men that were now looking her way. This man she is with now, told her how beautiful she is and how he could take care of her. The idea of someone taking care of her was both laughable and tempting. She danced with the idea, they waltzed, she was in control in this three point repetitive dance until the music switched and she was caught in a fast tango, confused in the footwork, dizzy in the twirls, seduced by his touch and slow gazes, she tried to regain control but he was just too strong and knew all her weaknesses. He utilized the environment, taking her to edge of the dance floor, dragging her on the floor, lifting her in the air. He dipped her one final time, her back arched, her head almost touching the ground. She came up slowly. I know the outcome of the dance by the way his hand was on her thigh and the subtle disgust behind her serene face.
I was in the same relationship as her.
I checked the time.
I saw him, he was on his break heading toward the Tim Horton’s. I rose out of my seat and followed. Internally I was giddy; externally I was cool, calm and collected. I was behind him in the line. I pushed in to him, my breasts lightly against his back. He turned around and smiled at me. It was so bright I was blinded momentarily.
He turned back around. My warmth taken away.
I recited his order with him silently as he spoke to the cashier. He grabbed his coffee with two sugars and one milk, his fruit bran muffin, sliced in half, warmed in the microwave for thirty seconds with low salt butter. He turned around winked at me and left.
My heart melted.
That was our relationship. A wink and a smile from an older man made me come here, five days a week, Monday to Friday at 11:22 am.
All my imaginary father-daughter relationships were like that.
That girl was my reflection of what I could have been, what I can become and what I was, except I was blessed with an innate ability to deeply understand my self-worth. I understood that this body was as sacred as the Quran, holy as the Bible more complex than the Bhagavad Gita. I was wise enough not to dance with the devil.
I was overwhelmed with withdrawal and swallowed by sadness. He was gone. My moment with him was gone.
Moments are not forever. Tomorrow I will be back and the next day and the next until I find another host. I was his parasite, feeding off his vintage soul.
I went back to my seat and waited for my name to be called. Went back to my music.
After my check-up, I found myself at his door with fifteen white roses in my right hand. I was now twenty-one. Each rose represented a year of abandonment. In my left hand, a brown paper bag with a bottle of Jameson. The roses for me, the bottle for us.
He opens the door.
He sees me standing here. No words needed because it would distract the silent communication and other emotions rebounding back and forth.
This is a start.
I didn’t fall into his arms. I didn’t move. I just stood there.
The men all disappeared for that moment.
I forgave myself for the hatred and anger he created within me for that moment.
I didn’t know what would happen after this moment and I didn’t care.
My pains, my sorrow, my hurt, flowed down the drain, like water from a never-ending faucet. My eyes the faucets.
My father welcomed me in.
I looked up and the sky looked like the ocean, the clouds the waves, the sun looked peculiar to me. It was hiding behind two clouds, half of it peeking out. God was spying on me.
I waited for an invitation. None came. I felt the sun on my face. I took the first step into his house.
We are going to drown our demons with this alcohol.