Not a Daddy's Girl
Princes, castles, unicorns, fancy dresses and tea parties - mix those shit up and you got yourself a typical little girl’s fantasy.
Just a fantasy.
When I was six, I was very much in love with the idea of being a princess. I mean, why not? I lived in a big house (big because I was a midget back then), we had maids clean our rooms and prepare our food everyday, I had a room full of toys and a closet full of dresses, and I was pampered by everyone in the house.
My mom was beautiful and had an aura of sheer authority, but she was kind - she still is - so she could be a queen. And my dad, well, he earned the respect and trust of his clients (which I used to call ‘his people’) because of his positive attitude and skillful works. I was proud of him. My dad was my king.
A few years later, I turned twelve. My life was still full of all the comfort and luxuries my parents could afford. They didn’t allow me to experience any hardships because I was their precious little girl, their princess. And I believed all that.
My dad and I were very close. He used to take me downtown all the time while mom was at work. He would lift me up and carry me on his shoulders with my legs locked around his neck. It was amazing. I could see everything and everyone.
When we got home, mom would always scold us for being late for dinner and she’d get mad at dad for feeding me spicy snacks again. It was my favorite flavor because he introduced it to me.
I loved my family. My life was perfect.
But one day, things got different.
The usual jokes my parents exchanged in the living room turned into heated arguments, the warm smiles turned into frowns, the soft and loving way they’d stare into each other’s eyes turned to hard glares.
They were falling apart.
I knew my parents were fighting, but they tried to keep it hidden from me. But I knew. I was twelve. I wasn’t stupid.
Soon, dad would rarely come home. Whenever he did, he’d look dead tired and wouldn’t even spare me a glance. He used to kiss my cheek and pat my head whenever he got home from work, now all I got from him was a cold shoulder.
Mom would go out to work, and dad and my usual trips downtown were no more. He completely ignored me.
Leo was my best friend since that time. He’d come over our house and play whenever I was alone. He never left me. He knew what was going on since his mom and my mom worked together in the same bank.
I didn’t hate my dad. I was willing to understand his reasons for ignoring me. Maybe he was just tired. Maybe he was just lonely. Maybe he was just confused.
Leo and I were playing video games in my room one day when I heard someone enter our kitchen. I quickly got up and raced downstairs. I knew dad was home. I haven’t seen him in weeks. I missed him so much.
As I slowly crept in the kitchen, I saw him open up a bottle of beer before he chugged it down. His tie was loosened around his neck and his hair was dishevelled. He looked older than usual because of the beard on his face.
He opened and drank one bottle after another. Soon, the table was full of empty beer bottles. And he was still drinking.
I wanted to cheer him up just like he cheered me up whenever I was sad. I walked up to him and tried my best to smile. I wanted him to smile too. He looked at me with dead eyes and then looked away like he didn’t care. But I didn’t believe that. I knew he wasn’t always like this.
“Daddy?” I said. No answer.
I tugged his sleeve to get his attention but there was still no response. I felt so distant with him even though we were in the same room. I noticed Leo spying on me behind the counter. He was motioning me to leave dad alone and go back upstairs but I didn’t listen.
I just stood there in silence, waiting for my dad to move or talk or whatever. But he didn’t do anything. Just stared into space for a long time. And then I noticed that his shoulders stiffened. I looked at his face and saw his dull eyes water.
My heart broke.
My dad was about to cry. I hesitated to step forward but I did, eventually. I wrapped my arms around his neck. He probably didn’t notice at first but when he did, he pushed me away. I never let go.
My hands were firmly locked around his neck, hoping to calm him down and make him feel better. I started to cry because he used a bit too much force whenever he pushed me away, but I didn’t care. He needed someone right now.
“Let go of me you little brat!” He spat as he finally shook me off. I slid on the floor and almost hit my head but Leo came just in time to shield me from the crash. The empty beer bottles fell from the table and broke into pieces all over the floor.
Leo held me protectively but I took his hands off me and ran back to my dad. I couldn’t leave him alone. I felt so sad for him.
“Don’t come near me!” He struggled from my embrace. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just wanted to hug him. He used to hug me to cheer me up back then, and I’m gonna do it to him now.
When he pushed me off once more, I fell on the ground and attempted to run back to him, but it wasn’t until I heard the crunching of glass.
I didn’t realize I had fallen on the broken glass. My hands and legs were bleeding, and my eyes were tearing up. But it didn’t hurt as much as the intense stare my dad was giving me. I was terrified. He never looked at me like that before.
“See what you just did?” He slurred, but his tone dripping with anger. “I told you. I told you to stay away. You did that to yourself. That’s the problem with you Mira. You’re too spoiled! You’re just a brat!”
It hurt. What he said hurt. But it was alright. I can still forgive him. He must be having such a hard time for him to act like that.
I swallowed hard to make the huge lump on my throat disappear, but it didn’t. I tried to hold the tears in but I failed. I winced when he stepped forward, eyeing me with disgust.
“I should have left before you got too attached to me. You’re annoying. Stop crying.”
I couldn’t. I couldn’t stop crying because that wasn’t my dad talking. That wasn’t him.
Not long after, my mom came in and saw the huge mess and the blood on my hands and legs. Her eyes immediately filled with rage. She began screaming at my dad, throwing his stuff at him. Leo helped me up as my mom punched dad in the eye.
This family isn’t gonna work out, is it?
I was quiet the whole time mom packed our things. We slept over at Leo’s for over a month until mom found a new house for us. She and dad got a divorce and I didn’t care anymore.
‘Dad’ was just an empty, foreign title to me now.
His cousin though, Uncle Ray, who was now our principal, visited us after he left the Navy. He apologized in dad’s behalf but we didn’t accept apologies indirectly. That was one thing I learned from that time. The person at fault should apologize himself, otherwise, he isn’t sincere, thus does not deserve to be forgiven.
Uncle understood and left. But he came back a week later, telling my mom that he’d help take care of me, support us financially and do whatever he can just to keep in touch with me. Mom was hesitant but she knew uncle loved me like his own daughter. He took care of me when I was still a baby after all. Compared to my dad, uncle really loved me.
It was the right decision to trust my uncle. Mom and I managed to live better because of him. I told him I never wanted to feel helpless again, so he taught me self-defense so I could fend for myself. He even got a job in my school just so he could watch over me until now.
Uncle Ray was the father figure in my life. I loved him and I loved mom.
One thing I completely understood after all that’s happened was this:
I’m no princess.
Brandon was quiet the whole time I told the story, at the same time reliving that day. I wasn’t looking at him, I was looking at my intertwined fingers. Would he think I’m weird after hearing the story?
I hauled my knees to my chest as I reached the conclusion of my story. I felt melancholic. He put a hand around my shoulder but I still didn’t look at him. I was afraid of crying. I hated crying.
“Where is he now?” He asked. I bit my lip. It would make sense if I told him I didn’t know, but I did. I still know everything about my dad - where he works, where he lives, where his favorite coffee shop is, and what his new family is like.
He had two daughters and a son now.
I still keep track of him even though I should hate him. But I can’t. No matter how much I convince myself that he was a bastard and we were better off without him, I still loved him. I hated feeling like there was still hope for our family to be together again. I hate being so irrational.
“I...” I breathed, hoping I wouldn’t stutter. But damn me, I ended up bursting into tears. It made me wonder how earlier I was just making fun of Brandon and laughing my heart out, and now here I am crying like a dramatic teenage girl.
Brandon pulled me in for a hug. I quickly held his chest to stop him. He looked confused but when I looked at him, it was like he was shot, judging from the pain on his face. Why would he look like that if I was the one crying?
I sniffed before cracking a fake smile, my mouth was twitching. “Sorry you had to see me like this. And witness my drama.”
He shook his head before smiling himself. “You don’t know, do you?”
I knitted my brows, wondering how far his reply was to my previous statement. “Know what?”
“How beautiful you really look when you cry.”
I sighed and sent him a playful look, but by looking at his expression, he was serious. I didn’t want to believe it. Being too hopeful caused me a lot of disappointments already. I didn’t need more.
“But Leo,” he said, making me look at him again. “He was kinda awesome. And Principal Steele too. Wow. I gotta give them more credit.”
I laughed softly, stifling my annoying sniffles. He was right. Those guys deserve a lot of credit. Him too. I gave him a light hug before kissing his cheek. “Thank you.”
“You’re definitely a girl, potato,” he winked. I rolled my eyes at him, taking it as a compliment. He took my hands and kissed them, much to my surprise.
He placed my hands on his cheeks. It was so warm. And then he smiled so kindly at me, I don’t know why it felt so nostalgic. “You know, I don’t think you’re the kind of person who just tells these things to anyone. And you don’t show this side of you to just anyone too. Why are you telling all these to me?”
That was a really good question. Why did I tell him? And why am I even asking myself that? I already know the answer.
I cupped his face with my hands and leaned in to kiss him gently. With my lips still pressed on his, I told him. “Because I trust you.”
He looked into my eyes in surprise or disbelief or something. But I could tell he was fighting back a smile. The moment was cut short when his phone started ringing.
He took his phone from his pocket and pressed it on his ear. “Hel - ”
“YOU MANSLUT DID YOU KIDNAP MIRA AGAIN?! WHERE ARE YOU RIGHT NOW?!”
He almost threw his phone away when Nichole’s voice boomed from the speaker. It wasn’t even in loud-speaker yet. He looked at me silly before putting the phone back on his ear.
“We’re at my room. Don’t worry Nichole, I’m taking good care of her.” He sent me a wink and I scoffed playfully.
He turned the loud-speaker on so we could both hear what was going on in the other line. I could hear Leo arguing with Nichole. Something about an ‘I told you so.’
“Well what did you do to her? Are you making her feel bad again? If you are I’m gonna rip your throat out.” Nichole threatened.
“Well,” a look of mischief crossed his face. “We did have some fun. And I had to put an ice-pack on my crotch instead of taking a cold shower. That answer good enough for you?”
Nichole groaned from the other line. Leo took over the phone. “Hey man. We’re going there now.”
“And one more thing,” Leo added. “Mira I know you’re listening. Stay right where you are. Because I’m gonna to go bitch-mode on you for skipping without telling us. See ya.”
Brandon hung up and stared at me like he was gonna laugh. I stuck my tongue out like a kid before standing up and fixing myself.
Better get ready to get yelled at by my best friends in a few minutes now.
“Psst,” Sam discreetly called for my attention during class. “Mira.”
I leaned my back on my chair and turned my head a bit so he’ll know I heard him.
“Are you having lunch with Leo and the rest later?” He asked.
It took him a few seconds to reply. “Can I join you guys? There’s something I have to talk to you about.”
I instantly thought about Nichole, Leo and his private conversation some weeks ago. Maybe that’s what he wanted to talk about?
I couldn’t concentrate for the rest of the morning. I was worried, excited, scared and hungry for lunch.
But my hunger was winning against all the above mentioned of course.
I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I took it out and I don’t know why I suddenly smiled when I saw it was from Brandon. Huh.
| Nichole is giving me a hard time. Help me. :( |
I snickered. It was about last night. Nichole wouldn’t stop scolding him. And she told him he was a bad influence on me. I replied.
| Aww. My poor baby. :( |
Seconds later, he replied.
| I am being forced not skip class with you unless I get her permission first. |
| Good. |
| Whaaat. Whyyyy? |
| So they’ll know where to find me in case you do anything naughty. |
It took him a little longer to reply.
| But you’re the one doing the naughty first. ;) |
I snorted. True.
| And you’re a sissy. |
| Hey! Didn’t I tell you before that a gentleman is just a patient wolf? |
| We’ll see how patient you are. |
| Is that an invitation? |
| Depends on how you understood it. |
I grinned secretly. I don’t want to get caught smiling like an idiot in class. Brandon sent me another text.
| Can’t wait. ;) |
Hm. Me too.
Trivia: I wrote theword “trivia” twice just now.