Not All Like You

May 28, 2011
As I sit on a park bench, I see a man, at the end of the slide, waiting for a little girl at the top to come down. She is afraid, and does not want to move.
“Daddy, it’s too high!” she cries, holding on for dear life to the pole on top. “I can’t do it!”
“It’s alright, sweetheart, daddy’s here, he won’t let anything happen to you. Come on, you can do it!”
“Do you promise daddy?”
“Yes, sweetheart, just slide into my arms.”
She lifts her fingers, one by one, and begins her descent down. As promised, her father catches her at the bottom, and holds her tight.
“Great job, sweetheart, you did it!” he praises her.
“Can we go again daddy?” He laughs.
“Sure, sweetheart, let’s go again.”
They do this for hours, the little girl’s father not once showing any signs of impatience or annoyance at his child. All I can see in his face is sheer happiness to be here with her. Each time she comes down the slide, he takes her up in the air and swings hr around, making her laugh. I note that he calls her sweetheart, and has no hint of sarcasm in his voice.
Why couldn’t you and I share these moments? Why do I not have these memories to look back upon and grin? Why, when I think of you, do I only feel pain? Why can I only remember you hitting me?
Oh, right. Now I remember. It’s because that was all that you did to me. Every day, day in and day out, you hit me. You hit me until I could not take it anymore, and I had to leave. I had to leave the house I grew up in, the house all my memories, good and bad, took place.
The little girl and her father take a seat on the opposite side of the bench. She is lying down in her lap, tired from her busy day. Her father has his hands around her, keeping her in place, so that she does not roll off.
He sees me looking at them, and smiles. I smile shyly back, and he looks back at his daughter. I turn away from them both, not able to watch them any longer. I allow a few tears to escape when I am sure that they cannot see me.
I wish I could have experienced what I watched this little girl do today. I wish I knew what it was like. But I can be happy that that little girl did not know what it was like to go through what I did, and that she never will. She has the pleasure of a father that loves her with every bone in his body, and would do anything for her. Because, whether you realize it or not, not all fathers are like you.

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