I used to dance around my grandma’s center island in the kitchen singing “is it time yet, when will he be home, it’s taking foooooreeevvvver.”
My father worked 10 hour days. I think it helped him with his sobriety to keep busy but it was also because he was the only trained car mechanic in a 50 mile stretch of our Island. He was also a Master Welder and worked whenever the crystal factory needed him to, he helped keep the machines running. He would be up at 4 a.m. every morning, I could count on it as I would sneak downstairs to eat breakfast with him. We had the same breakfast pretty much every day. Eggs, bacon, toast, coffee for him, and a small glass of coca-cola for me. I was his Bells and he was my Da. He would see me back to bed and leave for work. I’d usually go to school and when I got home do my homework and then help my grandma with dinner. Then I’d dance around singing waiting for him. I loved him. I missed him fiercely. He was everything to me. He was my only parent and my only protector. I couldn’t wait to see him each night.
He would come home and do the same routines. He never wavered from them. I had wondered later in my teenager years if all men become like this. Anyway, he would come home, usually really dirty with car grease on his hands up to his elbows. He would wash up at the sink with a special hand cleaner that smelled pretty, of oranges. It was gritty and really did the job. When he was finished he used a clear lotion on his hands and arms called Corn Huskers lotion. I remember it well because he used it all his life. It was for men, specifically working men, mostly farmers and factory workers I believe. It was to keep their roughened hands soft, this lotion sadly did not work, but he used it faithfully. I liked the smell of it. I never used it. It was his.
He would sit down to dinner and we would talk. Oh, we had the most fantastic talks every single night. He was always so invested, so interested in what I did, what I said, who I encountered. I didn’t realize until I became a parent just how important this had been. He not only kept me engaged but he kept me safe by doing it. He knew everything about me and he made me comfortable talking to him about everything, even when I was afraid. He was amazing. It’s no wonder I couldn’t wait for him to get home.
When we moved back to the states I remember being able to walk to his garage to see him after school and I adored this. You see, I no longer had to wait to see him. I’d sit on a roller beside him, him under a car, and we’d talk about everything while he worked. I’d do my homework right there and we’d just chat. My Da was my best friend. He was everything that was good, that was right, that was safe in this world.
Forever to a seven year old girl is a happy, giddy feeling of when will daddy be home, how long until my next birthday, when will I get to ride my horse again.
As you grow, as you learn, as life happens, things are no longer always good, things are no longer always right, and no longer always safe. 14 years and I think of him every day. I have learned through pain about forever.