Every evening when he’d come home from work, he was always very hungry. Not eating in time always meant he would be irritable, but he was always irritable. My mother used to warn me that I shouldn’t bother him until after dinner, but sometimes I couldn’t wait.
This particular time I went to his room to ask permission to go to my friend Kirtlye’s house. She had called to invite me to dinner and was waiting for me to call her back. When I asked my father if I could go, he said, “Why should I allow you to go? When was the last time you did anything to make me happy? You know, Danna, I was telling your mother the other day that I’ve gotten more pleasure out of the dog than I ever have from my children.” I said, “That’s really sad, Daddy.” He said “Yes, it most certainly is. And whose fault do you suppose that might be? And now you want my permission to go to your so-called friend Kirtlye’s house, do you? Well? I’m waiting for you to tell me why I should allow you to go.”
I didn’t know how to respond. I remember saying, “I just want to.” And then he said, “You just want to? Well, I want you to think about all the things you’ve done to make me unhappy. What about fighting with your brother last night? What about letting your poor mother finish the dishes while you watched television? And what about last weekend when we went out to dinner and everyone else ordered the $3.95 Early Bird Special, and you had to have the $5.95 dinner and wanted escargot as well?”
Anyway, he told me that it was too late to go to my friend’s house because I had reminded him of all the things that made him so miserable and that I had caused him to become angered all over again. He said it was getting late and maybe next time I’d learn my lesson and behave better so he could feel happier about me and show me that he loved me. But nothing ever changed and — — well, he always found pleasure in the dog.
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Dear Dad, a Letter I Never Wrote to You…
Now that you’re gone, I feel I can finally talk to you without being interrupted or sent away.
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