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This bittersweet story of loss and revelation reveals the powerful and complex bond between fathers and daughters.
When my mom decides to run away from home she packs up her car with all the things that matter most to her.
Her guitar and some books all her CDs her clothes her shoes
Grandma’s music box from the fireplace mantle and the quilt from the bed she shares with Dad.
She jams plastic grocery bags filled with soap and shampoo into the small spaces left in between things and ties a couple of suitcases to the roof.
At the last minute she throws in a few dishes some towels and a potted red geranium that guards the front porch.
Dad tells her not to pack stuff too high so she can still see out the back window but she ignores him and shoves her pillow between her guitar case and the portable TV.
By the time she’s done there’s no room left for anything else.
No room left for Dad.
And no room left for me.
The Wrong Answers
When I ask her why she’s leaving she finds lots of ways to not answer me.
She yanks photos from the albums and dumps out her purse on the kitchen table then puts everything back in it again.
She unloads the dishwasher just like any other day.
“Why do you have to go?”
Because I can’t stay.
She paces arms swinging wildly trapped like a bee in a jar.
I don’t belong here anymore.
“If you’re not supposed to be here where are you supposed to be?”
I don’t know, Rachel.
I just don’t know.
“Why can’t I go with you?”
You just can’t.
Later yes later maybe after I get settled but now now you need to stay here you have to stay with your dad it will all be fine even better than fine, I bet.
I don’t mean to,
but I snort and she slams her hand down on the kitchen table.
I can’t do this anymore, Rachel!
I wonder if she took her pills this morning then I glance at the bottle near the coffee pot and she catches me looking.
Yes, she says.
But sometimes they don’t work.
And then she starts to cry.
Posted September 12, 2010
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