The Girl & The Patriarch

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  For all the questions she had, dinner had been wholly about eating. She hadn’t eaten like that for years. Her stomach wasn’t used to it. Didn’t remember how to stretch. It hurt a happy hurt. But now the demons reared their heads – the pain and the abandonment and the loss of things she didn’t know to miss. A well of of grief she didn’t know how to deal with.
  “How could you, Dad?” The Girl asked without prologue. She knew it was a moment for tears but none would come. The car had been quiet until now, her outburst breaking the awkwardness that hung thick on the air. 
  “Come on, it wasn’t like that-” her father replied without looking over at her – embarrassed, maybe. He spoke to her in a way that elicited no emotion, no fondness. He didn’t consider her his daughter – the lack of a kiddo or sport told her that much – despite his own dealings with time travel he just couldn’t look past the aged and weathered face she now sported. His daughter was waiting for him back home. She was just a guilty premonition that needed to be bought out.
  “It wasn’t like that-,” he reiterated, “I hope you know that.”
  She didn’t reply immediately, focusing instead on the surrounding forest – she remembered the familiar back roads they were taking towards home, every twist and turn and bush and sign true to the engravings in her mind.
  “How could I Dad?” she said all of a sudden, angry and upset, “You left with a stranger instead of explaining anything to me.”
  They continued onwards towards the bright lights in the valley ahead as her father processed this information. It was so strange, talking to him again. They passed the burnt house that she’d explored when she was younger, black and broken inside and out. The relationship between her and her estranged father felt much the same. There was a shell of remembered supports and the rest was crumbling from damage long done. There was no renovation that could save it, just one choice, to tear it all down and be done with it.
  “Wait,” her father said suddenly “I never explain it to you?”
  “No,” The Girl says, hurt he doesn’t remember something he couldn’t remember, but something she could never forget. “You leave with some stranger and I spend the next fifty minutes wondering what the watch is counting down to until boom. I’m gone.”
  “What?” Her father says, suddenly riding the engine hard despite their proximity to the house.
  “I’m gone Dad. You won’t see me again until – well – now.”
  She can tell he’s disappointed.

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~ by Joseph Blame on January 21, 2011.

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