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The Difficulty of Daughters


It was difficult growing up with you,  suddenly realizing that you were not a super-hero.  What I remember of the fall of 1975 is my mother crying in the parking lot of The Wooden Nickel.  What I wanted was for you to come home or at least to buy me a bag of chips and tell me about the Yankees.  I remember thinking you were greater than Santa Claus.   I couldn’t understand why my sisters were hiding from you.   I remember having contests with my brothers to see who could stay up until you got home.  I always won.  Some days I was up until noon the next day.  I remember being told by my kindergarten teacher that I was so smart because I could count higher than anyone,  knew all the states and all the presidents, and could tie my shoes. I proudly told my teacher, “my daddy taught me.”  She told me she didn’t know I had a daddy.  I remember that real well.

It was difficult loving you, realizing that you couldn’t always love me back.  I remember you showing me the names of all my Virginia relatives in your C and P telephone book and letting me dial the phone.  I remember you throwing a matress out of the second story window of our house because you thought mom had taken us to visit our relatives.  I remember how you affectionately called me Billy, after your favorite sister.  I remember you telling my mother that Billy belonged in the nut house because she cut a man.  I remember being told by my mother that I was your favorite.  I told her, “I love my daddy. I’m gonna marry a man just like him.”  I remember hearing my mom telling her friend that I was a problem, just like my father.

It was difficult letting go of you.  I remember you giving me a Tara doll and telling me that you were always going to take care of me. I remember standing outside of your new house watching my mother as she screamed obscenities while your neighbors stood on their porches.  I remember you taking all of us to Buckaroe Beach and buying us pickles from a barrel.  I remember we had to run away from you and my older sisters had to call the police.  I remember mom receiving a child support check for twelve dollars and telling me that’s what we meant to you.  I remember the exact moment I realized that I would never see you again.  I wish I had hugged you.

And then you weakened

And then you forgave.

And then you died.

Its difficult.

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