I Love You, Pappa

August 3, 2013 § Leave a comment

Deborah & Josh070

Just this hour, a baby born.

Not a day late, nor a moment early. She is here.

He takes her – smaller, it seems, than the doll he bought her for Christmas three years on – and wraps his fingers around her, her head held to his heart.

He gazes from her to his wife. He can hardly comprehend the lifetime before him.

In the year that she turns five he takes her to Brighton and buys her an outfit – stripy pink and green. She chooses it herself, delighting in the clothes as he delights in her smile – the latter echoing far deeper into eternity.

The year after he wakes up early on Christmas morning and together they build a Barbie Café.

The year after that he buys her a yellow book for her poetry, believing even then that her dreams held potential.

And every year, every day, he works for her – for them – knowing that it his job to protect her in all things.

Every time he goes away her heart aches and though she knows he is destined to return there is a paralysing fear in her that he might not, that all that will be left is the smell of his hair on the pillow.

She is twelve now, and they are building a den together in the forest – just the two of them under a night sky bulging with rain. She falls ill and he stays up all night with her, holding the carton of Ribena where her cracked mouth can reach.

And suddenly she is seventeen, braking and jerking along a country lane as he teaches her clutch control. He loses his temper and she says she will never drive again.

He takes her fishing in waders too big for her, drinks red wine with her, speeds around corners for her, and buys her first car for her.

        Now there is another man.

When he asks for her hand, he remembers the day she was born.

It is her wedding morning. She is ready and he weeps at the sight of her; her beauty fitting the vision in his heart. He walks her down the aisle and passes her delicate fingers into another’s hand and turns away.

He has done well.

And though she is a young woman now, soon to have a daughter of her own, he knows that she will always be his girl.

And she will always love him.


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