Sunday, July 24, 2011

Too much to ask...

Daddies home! Daddies home!
For Angela, those were the two sweetest words in the whole wide world! "Daddies home!" It meant she would have a brief reprieve from her brothers, the twins, Tommy and Tim... While they really were two separate boys, she knew it to be the case having seen them more than once on either side of her. It still seemed they were really one hateful and dirty creature rather than two, Two years younger than her they seemed to be a thing made up of four arms, four legs and two of the dirtiest heads god ever put on this earth! All rolling around in a cloud of dust like a cartoon animal... And their favorite pastime? Other than tormenting each other? Was in thinking up new ways to torment her! She'd found her favorite doll Sherry headless behind the Camillas a larger than doll sized wooden stake in her little doll chest.!She's found her pretty new pink top with the sparkles on it that she had gotten for her birthday lying in the driveway wet and ruined by that big ol mud puddle and the car tires.... Oh, sure, she loved her brothers, well she sorta loved them sometimes, like when they were sound asleep or when they were not at home and she was, but she loved them the most when the bestest part of the day rolled round and she heard them cry out Daddies home!

Angela would run shrieking from where ever she had been hiding from the twin menaces. and with a quick hop and a jump she would be nestled high off the ground in her daddies outstretched arms out of their reach! His face rough with his five O'clock shadow, his hands equally rough from his work. He would gently cradle his daughter into his arms and with her giving him her usual quick peck on his cheek he would reply with a peck on the top of her head and a big long squeeze, Then they would start the "Whadda ya get me" game. A game they never tired of!

"Wadda ya get me daddy?" She would ask with her face screwed up on a fake pout! "Whadda ya get me? Wadda ya get me?" Of course he would reply "noooothing!" She would squeal "Nuhh Uhh!" Her fake pout breaking into a broad grin and a few giggles... "Wadda ya get me daddy?"She would ask again! "Noooothing" came the reply! She would beat on his chest with her tiny hands! "Wadda ya get me daddy?" They would continue this back and forth for far longer than the twin menaces attention span would allow... bored, as they were with anything that was not in immediate risk of catching fire or exploding they would wander off in search of new mischief, or the cat. Which ever came first was just fine with them!. 

All the while Angela would be there sitting in his strong arms. Her asking "Wadda ya get me daddy?"and laughing. Him replying "nooooothing" and shis eeming to be more and more cross with her as she made each new request, Cross that is if you were to ignore the edges of a smile that flickered at the corners of his mouth. Which of course  she saw and it prompted even more squeals from Angela!

Finally he would make a big show of his "anger!" Set her gently down on the ground, and from one of his deep and mysterious pockets would emerge some little trinket that had been just that second been turned into the most valuable of jewels by  the magic of it  being drawn from those pockets by his broad strong hands!

He would leave her there standing in wonder. He would then wander into the kitchen where her mother was preparing dinner. They would have their little smooch and hug and he would lovingly pat his wife on the fanny before he went upstairs to the bath to wash up. Her mother would call out. "TIm! Tom! Dinners ready... Angela? Would you set the table?" Angela reluctantly would set down her new treasure, out of reach of the menace of course. Go in and do her one evening chore. Which was to set the table while her mother was  getting the dinner out and trying her best to get the twins separated and at least clean enough to say she had tried...

Daddy would come back down stairs, his face clean and wet, His hands clean too, even though there was always a faint line of dirt under the nails that seemed to resist even the most harshest of scrubbings... She would sit down to Daddy's left. Her Mother to the right where Mother could could serve the dinner and keep the twins within arms reach. After Daddy said the prayer. Mom would pass Daddy the huge bowls from which he would spoon some onto Angela's plate, his own, and then the twins in that order as Mom hopped up again and again for the things she had forgotten or for a towel to clean up the milk the twins would spill at every meal

To the outsider this might seem like a scene of total chaos, but to Angela it was heaven as she and her Daddy sat there in the eye of this hurricane and talked together about their days... She would relate to him all the events of school... Who was in trouble and who wasn't and who she liked and who she didn't... He would listen raptly to her as she rambled on and on... and all the while she prattled she was basking in the glow of her Daddies love!

All too soon for her, dinner would end, She would get up to help mom to clear the table, they would watch the twins all arms and legs and new energy from dinner pile out the door into the growing twilight with the unspoken hope that they would come back alive, and daddy? Well he would make a big show of pushing back from the table with a groan. He would slowly get up and with a burp or two, amble off to the living room where he would retire to his easy chair to read the evenings paper and watch his program... It was their families evening routine, it never change,m  and she loved every bit of it... Especially at the very end of the night. After Mom had won her nightly battle  with the twins and had gotten them clean and corralled into bed and the door to their room closed. She would come tuck Angelina in for the night. Then it was Daddies turn. He would come to her room, this giant of  man and with way more animation than he displayed anywhere else in his life. He would sit on the side of her protesting bed and read her a bed time story...
He had been doing this with her ever since she could remember. Sitting there on the right side of her bed, reading her all sorts of stories about magical kingdoms, lovely princesses and brave knights in shining armor!  She would lay there all snug  under the covers, listening to his deep voice rumble through the springs of the bed. As sleep was drawing close she would lean into his hard thigh while in her minds eye. Each and every one of these knights and kings he read about would become him! Each of which would be filled with the task of rescuing her from the highest tower or the meanest dragon. Which usually looked remarkably like the twins! Right down to the two heads! At last sleep would come, he would turn out the light and with a peck on her forehead and a final pull at the bed covers he would turn and leave...

This was their daily routine right up into high school when she discovered boys and they discovered her. With that, her and daddy's game became slightly different... Now it was him doing his level best to keep her chaste with her virtue intact, and her pretending she neither wanted, nor needed either of those pesky things! Of course they fought about it... "Daddy! I'm almost grown now!" She would whine... He would say that she was not to date any boys until she was older,  "like 90" would be his usual starting age and she would run to her room and slam the door! From the bottom of the stairs he would shout up at her. "Don't slam the door!" Usually after she had  gotten up from her bed and slammed it twice more just for the effect... They would repeat this new version of the game at least once a day if not twice for good measure... Oh sure she knew she was way older  and so much smarter than he ever gave her credit for... Why she was almost a grown woman wasn't she? So why did he still treat her like his little princess? "Humph!" Oh yes she was oh so worldly and wise, at least she thought so and as chafing as it was to have him holding her back. She still loved her Daddy dearly and she even loved that he was still her protector... her knight in shining armor! Though she would have died rather than to say something so mortifying to his face!

She survived adolescence as did he, and college time came for her as it did for all her her peers. So with great excitement and more than a little trepidation she left home for school. Ready to face the great wide world as a woman! These days, what with Daddy not really having much to say and him not liking to talk on the phone much. Most of her familial conversations were with her mother . Though she still thought of her Daddy when she fell asleep at night. So she would ask Mom how he was and what he was doing... Mom would tell her that all was well and that he was still just the same.. Well that is what she would tell Angela about him, after she had recanted the most recent tale of woe about the twins and their most recent brush with trouble...

Life was good for Angela. Her classes were going well, She was surrounded by new friends and she was semi serious about her newest love, Henry.  He was that brown eyed tall dark haired boy she had met in chemistry and she had been immediately drawn to him! So, during one of her bi weekly talks with Mom she broached the subject of her bringing Henry home to meet her and Daddy.... Mom stopped talking about the weather and the twins getting detention! In fact she stopped saying anything at all, then to Angela, behind the noise in the hall and the static on the line she thought she heard her mother crying! Mom! She exclaimed!" Are you all right? Is Daddy OK? Henry really is a nice boy and I know you and Daddy will like him as much as I do!" Mom got out a few staccato bits, it was clear she was crying and hard, then at last found her voice... She said, "Angela, Things are not going well here between your father and me and I think it best if you don't bring Henry home just yet. I'm sure he is a very nice boy but  right now is not a good time!" Angela was shocked! "Are you and Daddy getting a divorce? Is he sick?" Her mind was racing and none of the questions flooding her were thoughts were anything she wanted answered to the positive!

"No... Angela... I... Your father..." Mom dissolved into tears again... Angela waited and held onto the receiver with all her might! Trying to will something good to come down from the aether to change what ever it was that was so dire! At last Mom got her sobbing under control and resumed... "Angela, I really don't know how to say this, so I am going to say it straight out... Your father has lost his mind! He came to me about two weeks after you left and said "he was a woman!"

Of all the horrible things that had crossed her mind in the last five minutes. THAT one certainly wasn't among the lot!  "He what?" Angela exclaimed! "Daddy thinks he is a WHAT?" "Mom, you're kidding, right? It's something else, What are you not telling me, did he cheat on you? Is he sick?" Trying to fit the image of that lumbering bear who was her father into one of her mothers house dresses was just not working for her! Daddy, a woman? it was like trying to imagine the twins dressed in suit and tie and staying that way for more than five minutes... It just wasn't going to happen... "Mom, really! What is going on?" She asked again.

"I know how hard it is Angela!" Mother said. "He came to me and broke down in tears and said he had been fighting this all his life, that he was a woman inside and now that the twins were about to leave home and as you were gone he couldn't fight it any more!" Mom got all that out in one big rush and then resumed her crying... Angela was leaning against the wall, the pay phone now limp in her hand, her mouth agape... Daddy?

Henry went home to his folks that holiday, and she went home to her's. Mom met her at the station and neither said a thing about why Daddy wasn't there to greet her... Neither of them wanting to broach that subject. To put that unspeakable weirdness into the car with them... So they drove off in silence to the house... and as they pulled into the driveway. Mother turned to Angela and said " Try to be nice Honey... I know it's going to be a shock but he is still your father! I know it will be strange but he still looks like the same as he did, but I want you to be prepared because when I left to pick you up he was wearing that wig of his and he and putting on woman's clothing as he has been doing at home now for the past two months..." Angela's heart was in her throat! She had been trying to put this day out of her mind ever since Mom had broken the news about Daddy, but the day she dreaded had still came anyway... She and mom went round to the rerf or the car and together they struggled with her luggage, which as was expected was filled to overflowing with her dirty laundry and hard as it was to move, neither said a word more.. They entered the house. The house that not too long ago had been her life long haven and her refuge and her home, but which now felt alien and cold...Thank god he wasn't there in the front room... She jsut wasn't ready for this yet... Daddy? Daddy in drag? Her Daddy?

He came out of the guest bedroom just as they were struggling to get the laundry into the basement...  There he was, just as Mother had said he would be! Her Daddy... He beloved Daddy! He was dressed in a way that to her made him like a fool. his long hard legs wrapped in stockings and heels, sticking out of from an obviously second hand skirt which did them nothing good for them at all. He was wearing some sort of frilly blouse on top of that which made his shoulders seem all the larger and more ridiculous... and that wig... Oh My God.. That wig! It looked like he had parked a dead cat he had found on the road on the top of his balding head!  When he made a move to reach out and to hug her, she tried to move away but there was no room in the cramped hallway to escape his huge arms. So she closed her eyes and mumbled "Hi" as he pulled her tight against the fake breasts moving around in "His Blouse..." she shuddered, a clod chill going down her spine and she said nothing more...

That dear ones was the high point of their holiday which went down hill from there and quickly! Daddy kept on trying to be the man of the house as if nothing had happend but he did it while looking like a rummage sale Milton Berle in drag and she wanted no part  in this horrible charade of his. And she said as much in the most cutting way she could. Mom said little to either of them. Other than to make a bit of small talk now and again. Thought it seemed she had a coffee cup always in her hands that week and on occasion there was even a bit of coffee mixed in with the alcohol. The twins had only shown their still dirty and just starting to get hairy faces for the holiday meal. Then they departed as fast as they could. Laughing as they ran out the door to go stay the week with friends about what a freak their dad had become. For the first time ever Angela truly wanted to join them. To flee from this unnameable weirdness that filled their home and to never look back... So she and Mom spent most of the time hiding in the basement or out shopping... Doing anything to keep from hearing the tick tick tick of Daddy's high heels on the floor above them when he got up to adjust the TV...

Thankfully, after what seemed an eternity and longer, this Holiday ended.  It was Mom who drove Angela back to the station and as they had for a week, They talked of little things...The weather, her school work, Mom's garden, they talked not knowing or caring what was said really just to keep at bay the horrible silence that neither wanted to hear...At the station, Angela got her ticket, gave her mother a peck on the cheek and as the tears began to fall down her cheeks she rushed into her mothers open arms and gave her a deep long hug... Both of them were in tears by now. Both knowing but not saying that this is would be the last time either would be who they were where they were... Neither wanting to break their hold on the other until her train was announced and she had pull away or be left behind...

Angela went back to school that day in silence and shock..  The weather had finally turned cold and there was a light snow on the ground when her mother wrote to her two weeks later to say that Daddy was leaving and  they were getting a divorce. She couldn't take it anymore... What with the constant pull on her as she tried to hold onto the husband she had married. The constant fights they had when it became clear she couldn't. She wrote about how much she was missing the strong man she married. What an embarrassment he had become, and she even admitted that she was drinking now just to make the pain go away... None of it was a surprise to Angela. She felt pretty much the same as her mother... She too was in morning for the father who was no more. Her grades slid for the rest of the semester. To the point where she was called into admissions and told she was at risk of loosing her scholarship... She and Henry of course had broken up right after she had gotten back to campus. Allegedly for him being a jerk with a wandering eye for that co-ed down the hall, as she could not find it in her to say what really was the problem...and with this weighing on her shoulders, for the next six months she coldly spurned the advances of any other male that came within twenty feet of her! She wanted nothing to do with their species right now! If her beloved Daddy could do that to her, then what could or would any other male do... How could she ever trust one again?

Nor did she want to return to the scene of the crime either. So come the next holiday, she wrangled an invite to a friends house for skiing she said, though it was really just so she would not have to go back home... She just couldn't face her Mother alone in that house full of ghosts. The twins having dropped out of school and having taken jobs... And as for Daddy, he'd moved to an efficiency apartment on the south side of town, or so Mom said.. Not like Angela would ever find out in person! She was just too hurt and too shocked. So Daddy's letters to her went unopened straight to the trash and she hung up the phone every time she heard his voice on the other side trying to not sound like the man he was...

It took her a few semesters to work out her anger toward him, and toward men in general, Which was followed by a few fiery and disastrous flings with baddest of the bad boys, as she tried with sex to excise the image of her father and that horrible holiday week from her head. Finally, during her last semester at college she met and fell in deeply in love with John. He was tall and good looking, with broad shoulders and a wry smile. He was a gentle soul who gave her space and  who loved her so much he tolerated her random testing out bursts... but when he held her close and when kissed her hard upon her lips she knew him to be a man she could trust and so she would melt into him like she had melted with no other man before him... 

They were married a year later as she started work teaching and John began his graduate school... They had their first child followed two years later. A lovely little girl with golden curls, who would be followed by a boy and then another girl in quick succession... Her mother was there for each of the births and the two of them became close as the years went by and she found her mother to be a source of great strength and knowledge as Angela was sorely tested by three children so close in age... Of what became of her father she had no idea and frankly? She didn't want to know! He was not invited to the wedding nor were any announcements of the children's births sent his way. He was dead to her. In fact if anyone inquired of him she that is what she would say "he was dead." The story as she told was a truncated version of the truth. That after 20 years of marriage, her mother and father had a falling out, they had separated and he died quietly shortly there after. Then she would let the subject drop... Even John had no idea that he might have a father-in-law out there still be alive somewhere... Which was exactly as she wanted it to be!

Still, Angela feels a little pang of longing for her father now and again... She longs for who he was and for what might have been had he not lost his mind so.. Particularly when her daughter, who now at six, runs to her beloved father when he walks in the door, shrieking "Daddies home! Daddies home!"

5 comments:

  1. Why do I feel like I'm waiting for my turn?

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  2. Have you horribly violated the trust and expectation of someone close to you?

    Sometimes people seem to have a shocking disregard of personal responsibility for the actions they take. Rather than get called out on it, they seek special status and encouragement by like-minded individuals, who seem to have a callous indifference to the lives they've broken around them. These stories seem to only apply to people that have done so.

    None of them apply to my background in any way. My conscience is clean. How's yours?

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  3. "Have you horribly violated the trust and expectation of someone close to you?"~ ATG

    Hard question to answer. Not intentionally, no, however, in each of these stories, people are hurt (and I realize that is the way of things). My family is tremndously hurt and like it or not, that is because of my actions and what I'm doing (that I had/have no real choice, doesn't change anything)

    What I'm doing and what you are doing DOES have an effect on their lives, no situation is exempt from that. Concience clean or not.

    And I was Anon, i rarely am, but was in a way directing the comment at Miz who I assumed would identify my IP from previous comments.

    I hope all's well with you ATG

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  4. 'What I'm doing and what you are doing DOES have an effect on their lives, no situation is exempt from that.'

    The effect on my parents (i don't have a wife or children) has been 100% positive. In fact, both my mother and grandmother lament my not transitioning as a teenager. Do not presume to think that any negative reality you may have experienced has anything to do will my reality at all.

    The 'all is well' comment hints at a familiarity we do not have. i cannot recall ever seeing your blog before, and never bothered reading anything at T-Central.

    At any rate, i have trouble extending any trust to people who switch back and forth between a handle and anonymity. It feels too much like a manipulative tactic. And posting anonymously does not imply a two-way conversation.

    And i am quite well. Whoever you might be, i hope you are well also. If my tone seems harsh, it's because i'm all out of patience for trans crap this week.

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  5. My appologies ATG, it was most certainly NOT my intention to insult or offend (if that is what I've done).

    I'm pleased to hear your transition has had a positive effect on your family and I'm sorry if I "shoe horned" you and your experience into sonewhere you didnt belong.

    The blog linked to this name is not at t-central per my request and I DONT use Anon, I did as I said, simply because the person I was talking to would identify me. The only other "handle" I use is Is0this0me, and that is when I want to talk about "trans" crap. (it's also obvious, who I am to anyone who takes the time to look.)

    As for "I hope all is well" I end all my comments with that, not in an effort to portray familiarity but because I DO hope all is well with anyone facing this.

    Not that I think any of the above matters to you or anyone else, and not that I feel I need to explain myself either.

    Good day.

    ReplyDelete