I wanted to be at the dance at the residence of my best friend where I’d meet her other set of friends and talk about our new dresses, all spotless and dainty, but papa wanted me to be home by ten. I wanted to have jewelry like the other girls, but papa would drive me straight home without saying a word more, except that it’d be unbecoming of me. But they all look so pretty and confident, but he’d say “Yes, but you are you.”
I wanted to stay longer at the acquaintance party, but by 9:45 pm papa would be standing next to the pole at the exit of our school waiting. “We got to be home by ten,” he’d say while we walked across the road with my narrowing mind and a confounded heart. It took me some time to understand what he’d been driving at. He used to tell me a lot about being classy and growing up that way, proper and all, all which appeared to me at the time as nothing but hard work.
The same goes for my brothers, who are now fathers too. They used to tell on me and we used to argue about many things, but I know they love me. Now that we’re all adults and with families of our own I see how hard it must have been for papa to watch over me living cluelessly in my own fairy tale. I cannot remember for the life of me when my father last told me he loved me, but a twinkle in his eye somehow brings that message across. I know that each time he has to leave the house, turns his back and buries himself at work, I know a drop in his shoulders might as well have meant he did not mean to live disparately; a few corners away from our home yet so far for all of us to bear. We’re so lucky to have you, papa, and the boys of the family are now men molded beautifully just like the forever man of the house.