He never smiled, I couldn’t remember the last time I heard him laugh, maybe I was 4 or 5, things changed when he came back from the army this one time. Maybe that’s what made him this way, all that gun shooting and war zones, it can suck the life out of anybody. But I’d seen other marines on telly, wearing their uniforms all high and noble beaming on screen as they received their medals for hard work. They were heroes… daddy was on telly too one time, that’s the picture I kept in my mind as he smiled at the camera. That’s the last time I saw him ever really smile.
I always wondered what happened to him, it’s like he went to bed one day and woke up a different person. Most people avoided him, even mommy, so it was just him and I. They’d just ignore him like they didn’t know him. I was turning 7 this summer, daddy hadn’t bought me anything for my last birthday but I hoped that he’d remember this year and get me something. I understood though, he was a busy man and being a hero wasn’t easy. So I tried to make it as easy as it could be for him, I stayed out of trouble, I listened to him even when he just stared at me without saying a word….I could read his eyes. He’d be telling me to be a good girl, he did that sometimes, speak with his eyes.
Mommy would look at daddy’s picture and cry sometimes, I didn’t understand why she wouldn’t just talk to him. I always wondered if they’d had a huge fight but even when people fight they forgive each other right. I said that to mommy once and she pulled me close and cried even more, so I thought best to keep my thoughts to myself, I didn’t want to upset her.
She had to work long hours lately, daddy didn’t go to work as much no more, he was almost home every week, so she had to pay for most of the bills. I loved having daddy around but I wished he’d get another job and help mommy. I’d ask him when I got home.
School used to be fun, but I didn’t have many friends anymore. My old friends said I was weird and they stopped talking to me when daddy came to pick me up from school. I guess they didn’t like him, at least I’d made a new friend, Miss Pecker. She would sit with me all through recess if I wanted and listen to me as I told her all about daddy. She was always writing stuff in her little book, then she’d give me some candy and we would be done for the day until tomorrow.
Daddy came to pick me up again today. I was chasing him around the park and people were ogling at us. Some lady came over to me and asked me who I was with, I pointed at daddy and she looked at me funny. She said I shouldn’t be out in the park alone, but I wasn’t alone, I was with daddy, she was ignoring his presence too just like everybody else. She took my hand and said she’d take me home, I screamed, I wasn’t leaving without my daddy.
She tried to explain that I wasn’t safe but I was, she was the stranger not daddy. So I pulled away from her and ran towards daddy.
I woke up a few minutes later, there were a lot of police cars and people looking horrified and sad. I think there might have been an accident or something, I’m not quite sure…there are too many people and I can’t see anything. I move closer I see a body and there’s a lot of blood. It’s sad, but then I hear daddy calling me, he’s smiling. I run towards him and give him a bear hug. Now people are ignoring both of us, but its ok….daddy’s smiling again...I couldn’t be happier…wish mommy was here though…we’ll come back for her next time, for now it’s just daddy and I…..
BIO: I write to relieve myself from work and school pressure. I’m on internship at an auditing firm.
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