I was kicked out of my home by my stepmother during Christmas vacation 1984. I was told I was going to move in with my mother my New Year’s day. This vignette is my experience and my imagining of what was going on in my Dad’s mind at the time.
His head was low, his shoulders slouched. He didn’t seem to have a very good opinion of himself. “Wimp!” cries out in my mind. “Are you really going to let this happen?”
His sweat suit is stretched and baggy, the pant legs hanging about his ankles and sleeves about his wrists. He shuffles out the garage door so as to deny, not hear, what is happening.
She calmly tells me the how, why, where, what, etc. about the fact that I am to leave. But I don’t hear her. All I can think is, “I’ can’t believe this is happening. Father, don’t you have anything to say? I’m your daughter! Your flesh and blood. We’ve been together for 18 yeas now. For God’s sake, it’s Christmas vacation. Why are you wimping out on me?”
* * *
The garage door closes behind him. He wanders over to collect some wood for the wood stove. “I’m torn. I love my daughter, but I love my wife, also. I wish I didn’t have to make a choice. I can always visit my daughter. She’ll understand. I have to live with my wife. My daughter should move on in life anyway. She is 18. besides she has been ignoring the family, spending so much time in her room. And she seems to enjoy her mother’s company. She’ll understand.”
He carries the wood into the house and over to the wood stove. His wife and I have stopped talking.
* * *
I walk over to him as he washes his hands in the kitchen sink. My stepmother is in their bedroom.
“Dad?” I find it hard to hold back the bitter tears.
“Yes.” His voice is low. His head is hung low as he stares at the water running from the faucet, down into the drain.
“What do you think? Do you want me to go?” I look pleadingly as he turns to look at me.
“Well, I think it would be better. As she said, it isn’t working out here.”
“Dad. I love you!” I reach out my arms and we hug.
“I love you, too, sweetheart.”
A tear trickles down my eye as I think, “Why?”