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Pasta, Perfume & A Sticker MAG
I have always been Daddy's girl; ever since I was little, I have enjoyed spending time with my dad while my younger sister was always attached to my mom. My dad and I used to make up stories every night with my stuffed animals, pretending that they would go on adventures around my room.
We moved to New York the summer before I started kindergarten, and that's when my parents started having problems. When I was in the middle of first grade, they decided to get a divorce. I will remember the day my dad moved out forever.
It was mid-afternoon on an almost perfect spring day, and my babysitter was watching my sister and me. I remember my father's friend coming over with his truck to help my dad load up all the boxes.
For Christmas I had gotten a pasta maker and I was obsessed with making pasta. That day I decided to make some for my dad so he would have something to eat at his new house. I was never really good at it, though. It would never taste right or would break when I rolled it, and this time I wanted it to be perfect. I measured out the flour, cracked the eggs and added water, spilling most of it out of nerves. I kneaded the dough over and over, probably with more force than necessary, but it was a good release for what I was going through. Next came flattening the sheets of dough until they were no thicker than a toothpick. Then I angrily shoved the tiny strips of pasta through the pasta maker.
Looking back now, I guess I was in such shock and disbelief I don't think I fully understood what was happening. I felt torn and abandoned - my dad was my best friend. I love my mom more than anything, but my dad and I had a special relationship and the idea of losing that was destroying me. It was all I could think about.
Finally it was time for my dad to go. I raced down the driveway and handed him the pasta along with a tiny bottle of perfume I always wore. I also gave him my favorite sticker of a green frog I had been saving. I guess I wanted to make sure he would remember me and always keep part of me with him.
I gave him the biggest hug, not wanting to let go. Then my sister hugged him too, and I've always remembered what she said: "Don't forget me, Daddy."
He picked me up as I started crying again and told me not to worry, he would see me that Saturday. I could see he was doing his best to hold back tears, too. He put me down, and got into the truck and drove away. I wanted to run after him but my babysitter held me back, taking me inside, trying to calm me down.
Since then my sister and I have seen my dad every weekend, but a lot of things have changed. He has remarried, and I love my stepmom very much, as well as my baby half-brother Zach. But these days a typical conversation between us consists of me yelling, "Dad, shut up!" and him saying, "Don't talk to me like that or I'll ground you!" My sister says my dad and I cannot go one weekend without fighting, which is probably true. It's partly because he is so narrow-minded, and sometimes he just doesn't listen. It's so irritating. I can tell him that something he does really upsets me, but he just keeps doing it.
"Don't sit like that, take your elbows off the table. Don't you have any manners?" he'll reprimand me in front of family and friends.
I can instantly feel my face redden, and though I tell him not to yell his criticisms, he doesn't stop.
As much as I hate saying this because I know it's not true, I always feel pushed aside when we are at his house. It's like whatever my stepmom or Zach wants is more important, even though I know I can't be angry with Zach because he is only two. I can't even blame my stepmom because she is so sweet and caring, not at all manipulative. It is my dad. Whatever Chloe and I want is seen as less important. I really resent this, because we were his daughters first.
I used to want to go back to our old relationship, when we told stories and played outside, but I have given up on that dream and accepted the screaming and fighting. It's still comforting to know that in the top drawer of my father's desk is a bottle of perfume and a frog sticker. And although I don't make him pasta anymore, almost every weekend there is angel hair pasta in a pot of boiling water, broccoli rabe simmering in a pan of olive oil, and a table set for five.