My Daddy’s Waltz
…“The dictionary couldn’t be any more wrong,” I’m thinking to myself. There is a difference between daddy and father. They are not synonyms to me but two men. Father could never be confused with Daddy in my head they were just too different. They were not the same in appearance, in talk and in how I perceived them.
Daddy I knew the longest and took to be the real thing. Since I was either age three or four I knew Daddy to always be my dad who had always been married to mommy. He started out as a clown, the only one I could ever come to love. Our relationship was like a block of polished pine. In early years he was a hungry monster that occasionally showed up just before bed chasing my brother and me around the apartment, growling on all fours. I would do a victory lap on the monster’s back for not being eaten.
The replicated photo album that is lodged in my mind has countless photos of Daddy and me. I’m on his lap, I’m hugging him, I’m giving him a kiss, we’re laughing, we’re dancing and music is going.
…So go to hell if what you’re thinking is not right!
The song is too good to resist and I partner up with Daddy, right on his shoes.
…Love would never leave us alone,
A-yin the darkness there must come out to light.
The Chorus chimes in, “Could you be loved and be loved? Could you be loved and be loved?”
The picture couldn’t be any more heartwarming. Daddy and I just rocking steady to Bob Marley something like “My Papa’s Waltz” but with the ominous can of beer Daddy has teetering above my head. The music is long gone and the clown makeup now a horrifying mess melted off his face and the polished pine has become dinged and chipped, rotting from the constant drench of Red Stripe, Heineken, Guinness, Budweiser. His eyes are now permanently tinted yellow specks with tired red vessels.
How do you trust a drunk? The dumfounded look I gave him when he told me, “I don’t want you to be like mommy and me. I don’t want you to do all this whippin’ and runnin’. No. I’m serious it’s not good. I want you have a good life one that is better than ours.” In the dimly lit dining room his yellow eyes didn’t seem so discolored with Celine Deon’s “Power of Love” hugging the atmosphere. When I went up stairs the cracking release sound of an opened beer can mockingly followed me from the kitchen.
Daddy officially died during a lunch period in a West Indian restaurant where I was waiting for my order. A rather short man walked in. His hat was hiding coolie black hair that reminded me of my sister. I turned to look at him (waiting for him say hello) and he immediately looked in another direction, suddenly finding the time on the oversized clock fascinating. The divorce had been finalized years ago. And I’m his ex-stepdaughter now. I guess there is no need to pretend like we know each other.
I shove the dictionary back into the cubby and close the door. The definition of father and its synonym is still rattling in my head….
Subjec to edit.