I don’t know when I noticed life was life at my expense
The words of my heart lined up like prisoners on a fence
The dreams came in like needy children tugging at my sleeve
I said I have no way of feeding you, so leave
But there was a time I asked my father for a dollar
And he gave it a ten dollar raise
And when I needed my mother and I called her
She stayed with me for days
— Indigo Girls, “Prince of Darkness”
All hail the drunken post!
I once described my father as the kind of dad “who would walk through fire for me. But anything less than that… I dunno.”
Does that make sense? He thought the best way to be a good dad was to work as hard as he could. So he was gone before the sun came up and came back home after the sun went down.
I guess I was always afraid to ask him for anything less than walking through fire because I was afraid that the answer would be “no”. And if the answer is “no” to a lesser request, how could I ask him a greater one?
I am 31 years old, and I finally had the opportunity and the desperation to ask him to walk through fire. And he did. I called him from 3,000 miles away and said, “I’m having a hard time and I need help.”
He said he was sorry and then he said in his nervous voice, “Ok, I am hanging up the phone now.”
And I said, “OK.”
And we hung up.
And then I hit re-dial. He picked up and I sobbed, “That’s not OK. I just need you to listen to me cry.”
And then I cried for? 5 minutes my time. It must have been… Oh, a thousand years in Dad-time. But he listened. He did not hang up.
And 5 days later, he was at our doorstep. Even though I knew it hurt him to be here.
Sometimes when someone nutures something deep in the hurt part of your heart, your head is not even sure what it means. I’m not sure what it means, but my heart feels mended.
There. Let me be embarrassed by that tomorrow morning.