Leeuwenhoek had stolen and peeped into the fantastic sub-visible world of little things, creatures that had lived, had bred, had battled, had died, completely hidden from and unknown to all men from the beginning of time. Beasts these were of a kind that ravaged and annihilated whole races of men ten million times larger than they were themselves. Beings these were, more terrible than fire-spitting dragons or hydra-headed monsters. They were silent assassins that murdered babies in warm cradles and kings in sheltered places. It was this invisible, insignificant, but implacable-and sometimes friendly- world Leeuwenhoek had looked into for the first time of all men of all countries. ~Microbe Hunters

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Today I Just Needed To Hear It

Back in the beginning, when you would come after work and pick me up, I thought it was the most awkward car rides. The first few times, I had to keep reminding myself that you are my father, no matter what I say, and I would think of conversation starters about things I thought we might have in common. Slowly I got more comfortable with you. It is funny because I was 18 and finally getting comfortable around my father. I would start sharing stories of funny things that I did with my friends and what I was learning in school and what my plans were when I was home. Then I started calling you when you were at work because I was bored and had some time, and I just wanted to give you little updates and get updates from you. My 19th birthday, I had all my friends from school come up to celebrate with me. That was the first time I ever drank in front of you. That was the first time I ever got drunk in front of you. We had a super amazing night, and my friends all loved you. We learned where I got my generosity with alcohol from, when you started making shots and sharing them with all my friends, something all my friends said "is totally me". I turned 20 and I started to share the "love" of beer with you. I started drinking, on occasion, in the backyard with you and your father. Then the summer was over and I went back to school. I missed you and how you would drive me to work every morning at 5am and back home again at 230pm, so I called and told you to come watch my hockey, the game you encouraged me to keep playing. We totally sucked, but I was so proud having one of my fans in the stands to watch me, like all the other girls did on a regular basis.

A month ago today was your parents' 50th anniversary party, and all the family gathered to wish them many more years of health and happiness. We saw my aunt, your sister, for the first time in 6 years. I missed her, even if she does have a problem, she is still family, and a very loving person. You disappeared for a while. So much going on, I think I only noticed because you were the one with the drink tickets, and I couldn't find you. So I sit patiently ans watched your sister and all the people form the trailer park play together. Play the music I grew to love because you loved it. You came out of the bathroom, yellow. You looked so sick and with the bloodshot eyes, everyone was talking that you had too much to drink. That scared me. I cut myself off after just a few beers and went to play tag with the 3, 4 and 5 year olds. After your wife packed up all the food and told me to take it to OUR car, we piled in the car, you in the front seat with your daughter, my 16 year old sister, as the DD after just the day before getting approved for insurance. She was nervous, even thought I let her drive there in the daylight, it was dark out now, and she was tired and had to drive an hour home. Your wife wasn't feeling well I could tell because she spit out her gum and left the window down so the freezing cold February air could hit her face while sitting in the back seat. I asked her if she wanted the bag that I had just in case because I wanted to cover my butt. I didn't want her to 'accidentally' puke all over me. You told me it would be fine. She would be fine. With no warning, she started vomiting all in the back seat beside me. The bag I gave her, the only bag we had, had a hole in it. Puke was everywhere. I was so angry and upset because she didn't tell us before vomiting, so your daughter had to frantically pull over onto the side of the road to help her throw up. She didn't bother getting out of the car. I did. I went further into the ditch and cried. I didn't want my amazing night of drinking with you for the first time to end like this. Then I wanted you to come after me. Hug me. Tell me you're sorry it happened like this. Sorry you drank too much. And I love you. I know none of these words would ever cross your lips, even on a good day. What I didn't want was for you to yell at me to get back in the car, in the back seat with my mother who was vomiting. You gave me your seat in the front beside your other daughter to shut me up, not to be with your wife in the back seat. We got home and my mother couldn't even walk into the house. What a sight for her 16 year old daughter who was just DD for an hour while she was sick in the seat behind her. I couldn't watch. It hurt my heart that this happened the first time I was drinking with you in public. I cant get that picture out of my head: My little sister trying to catch my mother and you running up behind so she can make it to the next garbage can. I couldn't do it. You yelled at me that I was overreacting and you sent your 20 year old daughter to her room. What you didn't know is that I cried myself to sleep that night. I felt so bad for having a few drinks and not being able to drive home for my baby sister. I felt so bad that I left her alone. And then you and my mother. Would the mother and father of the bride be passed out in the hallway because they had too much to drink?  So many things crossed my mind that night.

The next day I woke up and packed my stuff up. I asked your son, my brother, to drive me to the bus terminal so I can take the 6.5 hour trip back to school. I didn't want to be inconvenient and make you drive 4 hours to get me back. I saw you that morning. I told you I was leaving. You didn't say goodbye. You just said, "why, we can drive you". I said, "no, that's fine, I already asked him". Then I left. From what I heard my mother stayed locked up in bed all day. Probably with a severe hangover. I know for a fact that you didn't apologize or thank your youngest daughter for being DD and having to put up with that and you. I talked to her. I apologized. I still felt so bad, I almost started crying again. When I heard you hadn't talked to her I felt even worse. If not me, it would be her you should have talked to.

Wednesday I texted home and said it would be my last hockey game that night that is early enough for you to get back in time. I'm really glad you guys came. It meant a lot for you to finally see a game that we did well and I scored. After all, it was your gift to me to play this season.

Today I was sitting in the study room by myself and I thought of you. I wanted to talk to you but I couldn't. I couldn't think of anything to say. I started making conversation starters and listing topics we could talk about quickly. I missed you so much today but it was like we were back at the beginning. The thought of calling and talking to you for no reason sounded awkward. I couldn't do it.

I miss you, but you don't ever tell me you miss me. You don't ever tell me that you love me. I know you do, though. The way you call me daughter-son, drive me to work everyday in the summer, and drop everything to come watch me play hockey. Today, though, I just needed to hear it.

I hope I don't have to wait another 20 years to build back up that relationship we had.

Darn good and sure of it,


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