“Other women will fall in love with your husband.”
These are not words you want to hear, especially while the blush and glow of your first anniversary is heating your blood and warming your soul.
No, you do not want to hear those words, especially not from your father. You want to cover your ears and shut out the possibility. But he is your father after all; and a lifetime of remembered spankings stays your hands because, when your dad speaks, you are his little girl, period.
“Women will fall in love with your husband,” he repeats.
And that voice strips away the years and you are five or eight again and you remember waiting, eagerly, for him to get home from work or play—you don’t know or care which—doing that little pee-pee dance because you just can’t keep still.
All you know is Daddy will soon be home, smelling of that Daddy smell—it’d take years to find out that it’s Brut with a hint of cigarette smoke—and smiling that Daddy smile, which takes away the years and belies the gray strips sprinkled through his hair.
You just know that his voice, so different from Mom’s soft, steel-filled tones, will boom. And he’ll lift you higher than she can too. High above his head where, for countless moments, you feel on top of the world.
Then he’ll hug you tight and you know that there is no safer place on Earth that you can be. You feel his lean muscles through his shirt sleeves and you know he will protect you from all dragons, fire-breathing or otherwise, and any monster foolish enough to hide under your bed when darkness falls.
“You fell in love with him, didn’t you?” he asks, rhetorically.
Suddenly, Daddy’s little girl is all grown up once again.
“Other women will too because they will see what you see. They will see the package that first drew your eyes, they will hear the voice that you yearn to hear each day, they will sense the comfort that you find in his arms and they will want the love he is capable of giving. The love that he gives to you.”
It’s going from bad to worse. You begin to wonder if your memory has played tricks on you.
Did your Dad ever have your back? Did he perhaps believe your brother’s story over yours that time or two? Didn’t he raise his voice at you and send you to bed once or twice when you weren’t even tired? What does he know anyway?
You should have called your Mom instead.
“But, your husband will never love anyone the way he loves you.”
He pauses, draws a deep breath. You do too. You have been, you realise, holding your breath all the while.
“The love he has for you, that you feel for each other, will only grow with time. The love he has for you he will never give to anyone else.”
Immeasurable. The relief you feel is immeasurable.
Yes, you think, my Daddy. I know I made the right call….
“But you can kill it,” he continues.
Poof! All of those great Daddy-centric thoughts are gone..
“Don’t be jealous of him, do not try to change him, trust him.”
I hear the emphasis, recognise how important what he is saying is.
“Doubt will smother your love like a plastic bag over the face. Remember that he needs alone time.”
He lets that soak in.
“As do you…”
“Don’t begrudge him guy-time. And know, with everything in you, know, believe, trust that he loves you, only you, the way that you love him.”
Now you are smiling so widely that your cheeks hurt. But you can’t stop.
“Happy anniversary, daughter,” your daddy says in that one-of-a-kind Daddy voice. “I love you.”
The phone’s still at your ear but you’re no longer here.
You’re back on top of the world once again.