Tag Archives: dad

The Dog Who Watched the House

Another story for you, written in 20 minutes:
7:15 p.m.

We lived in a manse. The house is square, red brick, and old. One side faces the road. It’s called County Road on our address. One side faces the graveyard then the Church. The fence pens in cows behind our property. And then it’s corn in all directions.
It was my Dad’s house to me. Mom’s was far away. Dad’s house was quiet. Dad took a walk down the road for miles every morning. Alone. He came back to the quiet house when we were at our Mom’s.
Dad didn’t like pets. He didn’t understand them. I think he sees why people like pets, as companions, things to be proud of. But, they’re a waste of money, time and energy. What good do they do? They take up space. They eat things. They have to be provided for, and looked after. Oh, the vet bills alone! Why would you pay for a leech?
Dad warned us one night coming home. “Girls, be careful, there’s a dog outside the house. I don’t want you to be scared.” He told us he’d call animal control, and the second they showed up, the dog would vanish. “He won’t bother you, just leave him be.”
I watched with big open eyes out the window of the car as I spotted this great big dog. He looked like a German Shepherd, but bigger. Great big pointy ears stood on top of his head with little hairs coming out the sides. He had black-brown fur, thin fur, with lots of speckles of gray. His belly was almost all silver.
He didn’t look mean to me. But this was Dad’s house; Dad didn’t want him here. He didn’t belong here. Dad couldn’t get rid of him. The dog seemed happy to be there. I liked that he didn’t listen when he got yelled at. And Dad would yell at him. The dog sat and watched and smiled.
He followed Dad on walks. He guarded the house. Dad tried his best to chase him off. “He has no collar. He won’t leave.” I wanted to invite him in the house. I knew what Dad would say, I didn’t ask.
Every weekend I saw him. I didn’t pet him. He didn’t hurt us. He’d follow the car to the end of the driveway. He seemed happy to be alive. He sat next to the tree that bloomed pink little petal leaves. He sat there for months. I thought Dad might secretly like him.
I asked what happened to the dog. Dad said he finally left. He said it with a smile. We took a walk along the road that weekend. There was a skeleton on the riverbed. Maybe it was a deer.
The dog loved my Dad. Whether he lost his mind or not. Even if he had another master and got confused. He protected. Dad left him to stay outside. We never touched him. That great big dog, who had no name, outsmarted my father, and got to stay for a little while.

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Thoughtless Gestures of Love

A story for you, written in 20 minutes
3:06 a.m.

We drove from my Mom’s house to my Dad’s house. This was my Friday night. Headlights going down the highway in the rust polka-dotted, old geo-prism. My sister wasn’t with us. It was just me and Dad and NPR. I passed the time by road ogling for an hour fifteen.
I think he was trying to bring up a woman’s issue. I was in 8th grade. About to be a real teenager. About to be in High School. He brought up the importance of self-confidence for young women. He didn’t mean me specifically. He meant, young women as he knew them, as the idea ideal. I said, “I have like zero self-confidence.” I’m not sure if I was joking or not. Self-confidence isn’t something someone tells you how to acquire, they just seem to measure. My Dad turned his head from the highway to look at me. He usually spoke to you like he was a recording, and when you were talking he was only on pause. But this time, he seemed to look at me. I knew I’d done something wrong.
From where he drove, I was his little girl. He didn’t get to spend enough time with me. I was just growing up so fast. I seemed happy enough. I talked about my friends. I was good. He had nothing to worry about. I made my grades. Not the grades he wanted, but the grades I worked for. He wasn’t sure about my school. The history teacher seemed to have his facts and opinions too close together. But I’d be fine. Grades don’t matter till high school. I seemed to care.
He must have read a book about this somewhere. Mom told me once he was so nervous about being a Dad he read those books. A good student till the end. A student of black and white in print. And this self-confidence thing, now that was something bad. He had to fix that. That couldn’t go on. Self-confidence was very important for young women. I was a young women. He had read this is important. He must have decided he knew he could improve my confidence.
On the way home, we stopped at the library. I picked out a couple movies. At the checkout counter he said, “these are for you.” He handed me a stack of books. I walked out to the car with them piled in my arms. I read the titles once we were half-way home. They were themed. Improve you self-confidence, how to be a better you, how to love yourself the teenager, find the good inside everyone.
Right then, I think, no I know, I saw my Dad for his faults. First time. How did he not know this wasn’t how to fix me? How did he not know his own daughter well enough to know when he did something to upset her. Worse, when he upset me, why didn’t he care? He never should have told me there was something wrong with me or my confidence. He never should have given me a book. He never should have tried to fix me. I learn through talking. Why didn’t he talk to me instead of past, over, and to my sister? I put those books down. In one of my first acts of teenage rebellion, I never touched those books again. He condemned me with a library card. If he would have said anything to me, I would have been better off.
He scared me. In retrospect, he might have asked those questions, and I probably wouldn’t have answered. I was just nerves. I worried whatever answer I gave might not be the right one, and I’d get a lecture, or he’d raise his voice. So I started not telling him. He couldn’t hurt me that way, if I didn’t tell him something might be wrong. I can’t be fixed if I won’t tell you anything important. So I stuck to safe topics. I learned to have non-issue opinions that would keep him talking. No one could tell me something was wrong with me. I’d be perfect in the middle of the road, normal. You can’t suggest to the perfect.

10 Poems in 20 Minutes (Day Sixty-Three)

It’s one of those awful days where everything I do seems wrong.

I Wrote 10 Poems in 20 Minutes
Day 63

Poem 1:
You ask me to tell you when I’m upset
Then get mad at me for being
I’ve upset the whole dynamic
With my reactions way

Poem 2:
He looked at me
I knew he liked me
Double like
But I didn’t want him to
There’s something wrong with you if you like me
But I didn’t want him dating someone else
Because I thought he was mine
His eyes were mine
Even if I didn’t want them
I grabbed strength from his mine eyes

Poem 3:
He offers me money
I won’t take anything else of his
Not his words
So he offers what he offered
Had to give
That brother of his before he died
Using old patterns of what worked
For dependence
The old who gives
Becomes so magnanimous
Helpful like he should,
Purposed

Poem 4:
The saddest thing I ever saw
Was the indifference of the listener

Poem 5:
I woke up and checked my wrist
The sore wrist
From my fall
To make sure it worked.
After the accident
I kept checking my shoulder
Adjusting to injury
That’s what it will be like when I’m old
Constant adjustments to slow

Poem 6:
I wanted to climbs trees when I was little
Get sap on my hands
Boundary break
But all our branches were too high
And I couldn’t go into those woods
The tree by the house grew dying
I flew airplanes with my outstretched arms

Poem 7:
She says if there’s one you like better
Even if it costs more
You should get it.
So she pushed her to buy a leather jacket
For some ungodly amount
Even though she wasn’t sure
She kept saying you’ll regret it
She lived to avoid further regret.
She made her cry
She didn’t have the money in her account
And the jacket left on the hook with resentment
Of the woman who pushes for her best in us all.

Poem 8:
We cleaned each other’s dishes
If they stood in the sink.
Point being, not to be nice to be owed,
But a nice to do.
With expected returned favor
Of your dishes washed.
We were all motherly.

Poem 9:
I told them I gave my roommate the apartment
For the night
They said, you got sexiled
What a term
For space given

Poem 10:
Make friends through
Chance repeat encounters of
Non-hatred
No instant friends, only
Sameness seen repeated again
But if you don’t meet anyone
No chances to see again
To make friends.