Dad looked like a shoe; he was painfully ugly. Looking now, it s flabbergasting to see Mum and Dad’ wedding photos. It looks like a super model next to the huge special needs looking guy from the 1980’s movie The Goonies. One eye was rudely bigger than the other shoved into an oblong piece of dough, called his head; teeth crooked and jutting out of his mouth. He looked smelly, but the fitting of his tuxedo at the wedding was impressively impeccable for an ogre like build.
Growing up Mum and I never saw much of Dad, he like some hardworking fathers was home late at night and out early in the morning, and he traveled a lot. I only got to know of him when I was about 5 years old. The day he came home early for the first time in close to ten years. The door bell rang; I ran to it and waited next to Mum. She lifted me up to see who it was. Mum was smiling; I genuinely didn’t know who it was. As mum reached for the door, I recall spreading my arms and legs in front of her leaning on the door saying, “don’t open the door, it is a monster.”
Mum was surprised, “That is your father!” She retorted harshly, it couldn’t be. How could that…no way. No way…Mum and…that…it…him? Unbelievable, Dad finally vocalized his concern, “Aren’t you ladies going to let me in?” He said in a husky alluring voice, I peeled myself off the door to meet this other man who had shoved the monster away from the door. Now that sounded like my Dad. Mum opened the door and the monster was still there. I couldn’t help myself sneer.
The poor man overjoyed to see me whisked me into his big hairy arms and tossed me high up in the air a couple of times. And then he rubbed his nose into my belly. I couldn’t help myself; I laughed my guts out. That was fun! He put me down and then whisked Mama into his arms and kissed her as they danced to silence. I saw the gaze that Mum gave him. It was so tender, so attentive, she was putty in his hands, I saw love, even though then I didn’t really understand what love was.
It was true after all, he was, sadly…Dad. After smothering Mama’s face with more kisses and gazing intently into her eyes. He pulled away and backed up a few steps to where he had dropped some bags that he was carrying. “This is for you”, he handed me a bag. I opened it and there it was; the full Wonder Woman costume; leotard, lasso and boots! I was in heaven. Then he handed something to Mum that left her in tears, I kept hearing her say over and over again, “You shouldn’t have! You shouldn’t have honey…”, as I ran to my room to try out my gift.
From then on my relationship grew with my father, I loved him, he loved me, he had a heart of gold. But my deepest regret now as I look at the videos of ourselves together as a family, I realize I was still ashamed of being seen with him publicly. Because I saw how people looked at him. I knew that look, It was the same look I gave him when I first saw him. And now 30 years later as I stare through the looking glass of his coffin, I feel shame for not loving him as much as he loved us.