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My Father's Daughter
I dance around the kitchen, singing to Paramore, like any other teenager.
Except, I’m not.
I sweep the floor, wipe the table off, put the dishes away.
“If I’m a bad person…”
The floor is mopped next, I tune out some of the song. I’m lost in my own thoughts.
“It’s a circle, I mean cycle.”
I pull out a mixing bowl and throw flour into it by the handful.
“Where’s your gavel? Your jury?”
In goes the salt, sugar and baking powder.
“What’s my offense this time?”
I splash a little bit of milk into to the bowl and beat the eggs.
“You’re not a judge…”
“Wrong. You are a judge.”
“But if you’re here to judge me.”
“Wrong again. I’m not the persecuted…yet.”
“Then sentence me to another life.”
“But I liked my old life better.”
“Knock, knock?” Cory peeks into the room.
“Hey, you okay?” I shake my head mutely.
“Still torn up about your…”
“Don’t say it!” I exploded in a fit of anger. “Sorry, Cory, I didn’t mean to blow up like that.” I mumbled.
“I get it. It’s a touchy subject for you.”
“He’s innocent, okay!”
“Okay.” But his eyes showed all that was left unsaid.
“You don’t believe me.” I said sadly. “You don’t have to. I know he’s guilty. I just... don’t want to think of him like that. I want to think of him as the dad that came to all my soccer games, that displayed my art in his office, that loved me.” I turned back to the forgotten dough. “I want to keep those memories, not the idea of his hands red, his face displaying his guilt.” Cory sighed. I felt lighter as I poured the chocolate chips in. Except for that one little detail. I pushed that thought down.
“Hey, have you seen today’s news? Looks like there was a copycat murder. A Mr. Walton Sanders. Hey, wasn’t he the one who…? Never mind.” He avoided my gaze and looked down.
“Um, I have to go now. Lisle will wonder where I am. Bye.” He hurried out the door. I glanced after him, to make sure he didn’t see me. I hope that he hadn’t guessed. I unthinkingly added walnuts to the last two spoonfuls of cookie dough. Mom was deathly allergic to nuts, but dad and I loved them. So whenever we made cookies, we always put the nuts in the very end and ate them right out of the oven. Mom never guessed.
“I miss you, dad.” Sitting in self- absorbed thoughts, I almost didn’t hear the timer go off. I pulled the nutty cookies out and popped one into my mouth. There was something different about them this time. They had the taste of sadness.
I woke up the next morning, feeling as exhausted as I had the night before. I stretched and dumped my dirty clothes in the laundry.
“Might as well clean my room.” I picked up little knick-knacks here and there, but my room was pretty much spotless. I had cleaned the night before.
Downstairs I prepared my morning staple of chocolate cereal and slowly sipping the milk when the chocolate was finished. Cory stamped into the room, eyes flashing with more that just anger.
“How could you!?”
“How could I, what?”
“You knew what this would do to your family, you saw it happen already.” He waved that day’s paper in my face. “You still did it. Why?”
“It needed to be done.”
“No, it didn’t.”
“I need revenge. I need my father.”
“Oh, you’ll get your father. The both of you will be in a padded cell together.”
“It was necessary, I told you.”
“Not in this way.”
“Then what way could I have achieved the satisfaction?”
“But to follow in your father’s footsteps?”
“Be careful.” I warned him.
“Do you want to become a murderer?”
“I have one statement. Watch your family.” He paled.
“What do you mean by that?” Cory asked cautiously.
“Well, say a little someone got angry. Say that someone didn’t know how to control their anger. Say another person made the someone angry. Get the picture?”
“You wouldn’t. You’ll go to jail for this.”
“Jail is okay for me. He’s the only one I have left.”
“You had me.” He said softly.
“You hate me. You’ve always hated me.”
“Not true.” I turned, eyes burning. I threw whatever was in my hands.
“Ow.” He said surprised, then staggered.
“You’re the only one who knew.” I whispered as he fell. His eyes were struggling to find awareness. His heart beat traitorously.
“You didn’t have to do it this way. It wasn’t right…” He trailed off.
“What can I say?” I smiled to myself. “I’m my father’s daughter.”