Someone asked me why I always write good fathers – strong, supportive, there when needed even when it’s not always realized. That’s an easy one – it’s my Dad, over and over in different bodies and voices and professions. But then Daddy was like that too. He’d been forced into the role of business man by his responsibilities, but there was an artist hidden inside. He didn’t let that part show often until later when he had a little more time. He was a wonderful artist of pen and ink sketches and portraits.
My fathers have small parts but they are as important as anyone else in anything I’ve written. They add to the depth of the heroines and give them the stability to become the strong women they are.
Da tried hard to make things more pleasant once Mem was gone. He asked for Kat’s help with planning meals and they shared the little necessary housekeeping. He seemed constantly amazed at how fast Kat was maturing.
He began asking more in-depth questions about her studies and fellow students. In fact, more conversation swirled around the dinner table than in years. Kat began to realize that the relationship between her parents wasn’t what she, as a child, imagined it to be. They’d lived in a contract, whereas Gramma Lil and Grandda Chi loved each other.
They didn’t discuss Mem, but they talked about everything else. To her astonishment, Kat learned that Da had wanted to be an electrician even less than she wanted to be an enforcer. A good electrician, programming had always been his dream vocation, to work with Puter like his father and sister. That had been an eye-opening conversation, to be sure.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me?” she stared at him in shock.
He shrugged. “I hoped you’d never have to know what it was like. When you had to live it too, I didn’t see how it would help to know that I felt the same way.”
“Does it still hurt?”
His smiled seemed far away for a moment. “This is just between us, right?” Startled, she nodded. “It would, but I, well I found a way around it.”
“You did what?”
“I wanted to write programs and I do.”
She sat silent for a moment. “You do?”
He nodded and smiled. “You remember Roge?
“Yes, he lives a couple of floors up, doesn’t he? He’s the one with a different woman every . . .”
“Uh, yeah. Anyway, he doesn’t like writing code nearly as much as I do, and after he’s been with those different women, he’s not always at the top of his game. We have an arrangement.”
Kat sat with her mouth fallen open. “You’re doing his work?”
“Yes,” he said simply. “It’s not exactly what Puter wanted, but the work’s getting done and Roge and I both get what we want. Da taught me a lot, like Mem did with you. Of course, Roge enters everything through his gimp, so . . .”
“So you’re not interested in spending time with a lot of different . . .” Kat teased him.
Da laughed with her.
“Who knew my Da was such a rebel? I’m really impressed,” she said, looking at him with new eyes.
“I’m not sure ‘impressed’ is the right word, and here I am confessing to an enforcer.”
She laughed at that. “Don’t worry. You’re talking to a rebel enforcer, who equates medical information into her cases.”
Learning Trust –
Becca closed the door and turned back to her father. “I really messed up your evening, honey. I’m sorry.”
“You didn’t mess up anything. I’m so glad to see you.”
“This guy must be the real deal.” It wasn’t quite a question, but Becca ducked her head.
“Let me put away the food and we’ll talk.” Together they cleaned everything away and then took seats on the couch. Jason had a small glass of brandy while she helped herself to another glass of tea.
“Go ahead, bring me up to date,” he demanded, leaning back and watching her. “You’re healing?”
She gave him a rueful smile. “Yes, physically I’m doing very well. I’ll be on antibiotics for a couple more days, but no more pain medication. They did a very good job on the scar. It should be small, but I’m afraid my bikini days are over.”
“I doubt it. Give it a little more time, baby. You said ‘physically’?”
She took a deep breath. “Yeah, about that.” She wasn’t sure of her expression, but he straightened up, reaching for her.
“It’s gone.” She shivered as she said the words, the first time she’d spoken of it aloud. How scary allowing someone to see her fear for the first time. “I can’t feel things. I’m not psychic anymore.”
He sat there quietly, holding her hand for a long moment. She knew he had no clue what to say but the pressure of his hand steadied her.
“I’ve self-diagnosed PTSD,” she finally said with a shrug. “There aren’t a lot of professionals to go to about this kind of thing.”
“Of course you’d have post trauma,” he assured her. “But that doesn’t mean it has to be permanent.”
“Daddy, I woke up in the hospital with Suzanne holding my hand. Touching me, not just nearby and I felt nothing. I didn’t even know Suzanne stood there until she spoke. I think that scared me more than being shot.”
“Did you hear what I said, baby? You’ve got to give yourself more time.”
“I keep telling myself that. But maybe I should be happy about this. I mean, hey, I’m normal. Suddenly I’m not a freak.” She still couldn’t say the word her mother used—abomination.
“Stop. You’ve never been a freak and I won’t listen to it.” He squeezed her hand. “You know that.”
“Mother thought so.” Damn, had she ever spoken that thought out loud before?
“Your mother was a very complicated, intolerant woman. Not being in your life was her loss. You’ve helped people, remember that. You’ve been there for hundreds of people, starting way back in grade school with Jean. Do not dismiss what you’ve done.”
He remembered Jean’s name. It had been an important moment for both of them. Still she shrugged.
Yes, Fathers can make all the difference.
Great excerpts. Love the sketch your dad did. My dad used to make art from junk. He once made a knight on a horse from bolts, nuts, and rusty tools. He doesn’t make them anymore. I’ve never asked why. Think maybe I need too, huh?
Oh Lilly do – and make sure you have one. I have Daddy’s books of drawings, but I don’t have any that he did of his messy desk from before he really sat down and starting drawing. So wish I did.
Excellent! My own father was a very strong, yet quiet man who made all the difference in the lives of all his daughters as well as hundreds more kids. He shows up in my writing, too, not always as a father, but as a father figure.
Exactly – he made all the difference in my life. Glad you had your hero too.
My mom and his brothers all have pieces he made. I really should ask him to make one for me. When my girls were little, he made them “name” trains from blocks of wood. He enjoyed doing it, but swore he’d never work with wood again. Hope he doesn’t feel the same way about scrap metal. lol!
One of the uncles did amazing carvings, another decorated cakes – I’ve always been amazed at the different talents in the family.
Most of you have no idea how much this really looks like her! Some of us who knew her father were lucky enough to have pen and ink drawings of our houses. I know you miss your Dad!
Thanks, Joy. I do.