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My parents divorced the summer of my third year in school. This did not come as a great disappointment. My father was a womanizer and a heavy drinker. The fights between my parents were frequent. We moved that summer into our “own” house. My mother was a hard worker and with my aunt to help her, our new life began.
In many ways, our life was much better. There were no more fights to fear and our little cottage, although not in a really desirable part of town, was better than the house we shared with our father. My brother and I were happy and accustomed to making the best of things. Our life sailed along with an occasional trauma as life goes with all of us.
The summer of my thirteenth year, out of the blue, my father called. Professing his undying love and remorse that he had not called since I was eight years old, he asked for the pleasure of my company for the approaching Saturday morning. Excitement pulsed through my young body. My father actually loved me. All of those years feeling that their problems were somehow caused by me were erased with that one call. He was probably drinking pretty heavily when he called but I didn’t know or care about that. MY FATHER LOVED ME. I decided right then that every Saturday would be spent with my Dad. We would make up for all of the lost days, weeks, months and years in the coming Saturdays. At school, all that I talked about was my upcoming special time. I cancelled my usual time with Kathy, my best friend. She would have to understand that although she had been my companion for years spending each Saturday morning with me, she had been dropped. Our typical Saturday at the local movie and then a banana split were over. Whatever my father had planned would be so much better.
The time passed slowly. My wardrobe was planned down to the ribbon in my hair. That day finally arrived. My mother tried to curb my over zealous attitude. “He probably won’t come.” She would stress that my father was undependable and basically a liar but I knew better. After all of the hurt that he had caused, he wouldn’t dare disappoint me.
An hour before his arrival, I was dressed in my prettiest dress and waited on the front steps with my mother who continued to warn me that I was about to be hurt. I listened to her patiently at first. Sure, she hated him because he had caused so much hurt but that was her problem. He loved me. I remember waiting in the hot sun as mother continued to try to prepare me for disaster. An hour late, he pulled up to the curb as my mom explained that we could go get ice cream later.
“I knew that he would come. You need to believe in him!” Yelling those comments, I ran to the opened door without a hug or kiss to my faithful mom. Dad closed the door and we were off for a few hours of much needed bonding. Little did it matter that he wanted to see a Western movie. Not my favorite for sure but next week, he would probably insist that I see what I liked. After the movie, he treated me to a banana split as he watched with great pride. We laughed and talked so much. The day was everything that I had ever dreamed.
The next week, I excitedly planned his arrival. Just like all of my friends, I had a father. The kids at school quickly tired of hearing about my special day. What was the big deal anyway? Didn’t everybody have a father?
The next Saturday found me dressed in another pretty dress with a new ribbon because dad liked the ribbon in my hair. Again I waited in the hot sun. Mother didn’t join me since she was amazed that he showed last week. I waited for three hours. He never came; not even a phone call with a lie. When my mother tried to get me to go with her for ice cream, I assured her that I was not disappointed. It had always been crystal clear that he was a liar. Now that I had given him a chance, I would never wait for him or make plans with him again.
Quickly, I changed from special clothes to those of play. Pulling the ribbon from my hair, I frowned at my reflection. How gullible could I possibly be? The rest of the afternoon was spent in my swing where I sorted out life’s problems. He never phoned again but I didn’t care. My Saturday’s were spent again with Kathy and life went on as before. Yet, in my heart, I always hoped that someday he may call again.