It started about a week ago. Rachel asked me to take her into the city. She was nervous. She doesn’t know her way around. She needed to get her paperwork completed and her picture taken for her summer job. She asked me again, 2 days later. And then again. (Why does she keep asking me, when I’ve told her that I would do it? She doesn’t think Dad will show. That’s it. All those other times. One excuse or another usually all tied to work. Couldn’t make it. Something has come up. I’m busy. Mom will take you.)
Thursday night. She asked again. I glare at her. She backs up.
Friday morning. You can see she didn’t get much sleep. She’s nervous. She’s dressed. OMG. My girl is wearing a suit. Nicely dressed. Professional. My eyes well up. I have to turn away.
We’re waiting for the train. It’s early.
I see a glimmer out of the corner of my eye. I glance over at her fingernail polish. LIGHTENING blue. The kind that would glow in a disco. (She has a keen sense of my disapproval. Years of my feedback. No, it’s criticism. Corrective measures by a caring parent. No, that’s revisionist history. You are/were a relentless beast. Showering her with so much of Daddy’s ‘love’…no double-pierced ears; reduce the amount of that eye shadow – you look like Scarecrow; I want you home by 11; is that a dress or a bikini?; those aren’t pants – that’s underwear you are wearing – do you see me wearing my underwear in public?)
I didn’t have to say it. “Dad, I’ll take the nail polish off before I start work on Monday.” I smile.
We’re on the train now. She’s fidgeting. She’s playing with her hair. I turn and stare. She’s asks what the problem is now. I tell her that I didn’t think her job was in modeling or lifeguarding. Her hands drop to her lap. (Poor thing. I’ll have her walking in straight jacket by the time I’m done.)
We arrive. I’m like a Mother Hen. Here’s how you find your way out of the station. Here’s how you find your train and your track. The streets and avenues are on a grid. Watch yourself when you cross the street – cabbies will mow you down. Hold on to your bag. Skip the heals – wear comfortable shoes walking to the office. Walk with purpose. Don’t look like this is your first time in Manhattan. Don’t take stuff from or give stuff to strangers. (If she wasn’t nervous before, I’m confident she’s a complete wreck now.)
We take care of her business. We check out the buildings she’ll be working in. You can see her confidence climb. I grab her hand and we walk back to the station and take the train home.
I get this email from her after we get home. She’ll always be Daddy’s little girl. Yes, she will.
Note to Readers – While photo above bears a striking resemblance (and that’s why I posted it), the picture is not of Rachel & me. Image Credit to: weheartit.com
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