I had invited him for a Lebanese brunch at Paramount for Father’s Day, but was unsure if he would accept. He surprised me and said that he was very excited for it.
There was an established hierarchy between us — him at the top and me below. He deserved it — he was bigger, stronger, older and more intelligent. Though “daddy” is a non-limiting label, and these things don’t make someone a “daddy” per se, those qualities are what made DH my kind of daddy. He was always in control.
He let me order because he wasn’t familiar with Lebanese food. A few minutes later a waiter brought out fresh pitas, puffy and still steaming. “What are these balloons?” he asked, poking at one.
“Bread.” I jabbed another with my finger, piercing it, allowing a pocket of steam to escape. “Don’t get bent out of shape,” I said, “but I got you a gift: socks and underwear. Get it? It’s Father’s Day.” I picked up the wrinkled Walmart bag that I’d wedged between my leg and the side of the booth. I had to look it up: It was the only place that carried his brand of underwear. His tastes were modest that way.
He doesn’t like gifts for occasions. “That’s sweet,” he said, earnestly.
He enjoyed half of the food I ordered. He wasn’t a fan of the fatteh, my favourite dish. Of course, he hated it, saying it tasted like bread pudding. At the end, he let me pay — it was Father’s Day after all.
I offered to walk him home. When we were about to part ways, we hugged and said goodbye. He complained that I hugged him as if he was my grandmother and I quietly promised myself that I would do better next time.
Now whenever I pass by Queen’s Park because, I always play out that day in my head. For some strange reason, it allows me to let go of him. It’s too bad that by the time I learned how he operated I had pushed him so far away that he was gone for good.
Maybe that’s the way things were meant to be for us.
I know things now. I now understand just what can be forged when you trust and accept, unabashedly and fearlessly, all the wicked nuances in human nature. For teaching me that, I’ll always love him.
Now I’m all grown up, so we share the sort of affection that you feel with your parents when you’re older. You move on. You start your own life. The relationship with your daddy becomes distant, in some ways but it’s still a loving relationship. When I look in the mirror now, I see more and more of DH in myself.
I always got mad when he’d try to teach me, especially about detachment, but now I get it.
He was a very good daddy — probably the best. And I want to be just like him one day.