Daddy's Girl

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“Higher Daddy, higher!” I shriek joyfully. My youthful head falls back and I feel the breeze dance through my auburn waves. Every push of the rusty scarlet swing takes me closer to soaring up, up, and away. “Weeee!” I giggle as I look back at my daddy’s warm smile and loving hazel eyes. Suddenly, I feel the metal slip from under me and I am literally falling through the sky and into the sand covered ground. Screaming frantically, I close my eyes and wait to plummet to my sandy doom. However, I feel myself landing into someone’s muscular arms. I open my eyes and find myself staring at my daddy’s loving face, he is always there to catch me when I fall.

“Thud!” I land on the icy wood floor four feet away from my bed. “Not again!” I groan grumpily. This is the sixth night in a row I wake up sprawled on the floor after an unpleasant dream with my head throbbing. I stay down and attempt to make the dream stop playing back in my head. My efforts are useless; however, after a while I grudgingly get up and head to my bathroom. When I survey myself in the mirror, I do not recognize the girl looking back at me. Her hazel eyes are ambushed by bags and dark circles, her skin is brittle, and her wavy locks are a frizzy mess. Her face shows no emotion. Noticing the stench of burnt eggs engulfing the air, I dash to the kitchen. I
arrive just in time to remove the batteries out of the smoke alarm. Through the smog I spot my mother about to crack yet another egg into the skillet. “Oh no you don’t!” I cry out reaching for the egg. Mom just stares at me with frightened green eyes looking like a dog caught drinking from a toilet bowl. “What?” she questions innocently. I roll my eyes and sigh. “Mother,” I demand with force “you know you don’t cook; stop it!” She plasters on her transparent smile, the smile that says everything’s alright when it is not. The smile that she has been wearing for three weeks since the accident. “Oh Honey, I can cook, see?” she says gesturing to her demented eggs. Sighing, I say softer, “Mom you know that the only person in this house that cooked was Da-” Before I can finish my sentence, Mom bolts from the kitchen and up to her room where her vicious cycle of denial continues.


As I start cleaning her mess, I think back to three weeks ago. It was a very stormy and cloudy Sunday morning and Daddy was making his scrumptious blueberry muffins. “Darn!” he had exclaimed snapping his fingers. “No milk!” Snatching his keys, he promised to come right back, but he never did. I shake the awful thoughts from my head and focus all of my energy on scrubbing the skillet. The water is scorching hot, but I leave it that way. Soon, the entire kitchen is spotless and my hands appear to have third degree burns. “Bang!” I hear a door slam followed by stomping down the stairs. I inhale deeply getting ready for my next confrontation of the morning. The kitchen door swings open and in stomps my thirteen year old younger brother, TJ. Instead of grief, all my brother has felt since my fathers’ passing has been absolute rage, which he loves to take out on me. I eye him cautiously. He wears his Superman pajamas and half of his short curls are matted on his head, while the other half sticks up in all directions. He gives me a quick once-over then heads for the pantry and reaches for his favorite cereal, the rainbow colored one with the awful artificial flavors. He goes to open the refrigerator, without remembering that we have not had milk for three weeks. He hurls the cereal box on the floor like a wild animal. At first I expect him to go on with his rampage, but then I notice his hazel eyes swimming in a sea of tears; one rolls down his left cheek. “Oh TJ…” I whisper. Scoffing, he swipes the offending cheek and stalks out of the kitchen as if it never happened.

When he leaves, I bury my face into my hands. How nice it must feel for him to finally just let it out, unlike me. Ever since Dad died, I had to be there for everyone else, ignoring my own feelings. Suddenly without thinking, I grasp a blue ceramic plate from the counter and slam it onto the floor; a million tiny pieces scatter everywhere. “It’s not fair!” I think miserably. “Why do I have to be my family’s crutch?” Another ceramic plate goes soaring through the air and splinters on the ground. I absolutely despise the mask I am forced to wear to hide my emotions. I catch everyone, but who is going to catch me? Mom is in denial, TJ is a wreck, and Daddy is gone. Gone. By now I am sobbing uncontrollably on the kitchen floor surrounded by shattered fragments. Suddenly, I feel arms wrapping around me and I catch a glimpse of TJ joining me in my pity party. Soon after, Mom comes too. All of the emotions I had been holding back dash through me at once. Pain, rage,confusion. and fright, all the emotions of a girl missing her daddy.

After some time , Mom, TJ, and I look at each other I can tell we all feel the same, free. No longer having to hide the sorrow we feel. Daddy is gone, I know that. Together we pick up the shattered dish, symbolic of our hearts and in that moment I feel him with us and I know he will catch me again when I fall. He always has.





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