The Will


  “What you writing there, kiddo?” I ask. She’s too invested to respond. “The next great American novel?” I continue, leaning over her shoulder. She hides her work with her thin little arms.
  “No, lame,” she replies, irritated now.
  “It’s hardly lame,” I say “I write every day.”
  “Can I see?” she asks instantly, suddenly interested instead of pseudo-teen bored. 
  Some of my titles run through my head. Date with the Night. Kiss of the Womb.
  “No.” I say simply.
  “No fair,” she whines, then – seeing I’m seriously steadfast about this – asks “when I’m older?”
  “Sure” I reply.
  Love the Dead.
  “No,” I correct.
  “No fair!!” she repeats, “writing is lame. Books are lame.”
  “we all have one in us.”
  “Where’s yours then?”
  Ouch. Kid’s gotten sharp in her old age. I feign shock for a second and then return “In you and Bax.”
  “We’re not books, Daddy.” she replies very matter-of-factly.
  “Well sure, but you’ll still tell me tale,” I say as I sit down opposite her. She studies me carefully, inquisitive, hesitant to resort to the trust that used to come so easily. “Every day of your life you’ll affirm my existence, long after I’m gone. You’re my masterpiece.”
  “Uh-huh,” – bored now.
  “So what are you writing, Rinny?” I ask again, hoping for a real answer this time. Reluctantly my daughter opens up her arms to a piece of paper titled My Will.
  “What’s this?” I ask, picking it up with a stab of sadness. Call me old fashioned, but I consider my nine year old considering her own death a step in the wrong direction.
  “It’s so you and Mommy know who to give my toys to if I die.”
  Does she even know what death is?
I see,” I say, nodding so she knows I mean it. “Why?”
  “I spent an entire year being good for some of this stuff so Santa would give it to me. I’m not letting all that hard work go to waste.”
  My daughter the pragmatist.
  “Kendra has one,” she continues, “She wrote it in class today.”
  “Right.” I never liked Kendra.
She said if I give her my Nintendo then I can have her DVDs.”
  I slide the paper back over to her. This may very well be the strangest conversation I’ve ever shared with my daughter, but at least we’re talking, right?


~ by Joseph Blame on May 5, 2011.

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