Their Childhood

One of my strongest memories is the day I met my father. It happened not long after the death of my mother; a day I can’t forget no matter how hard I try. I thought the mystery of my father died with her, that he would always be a ghost, haunting the edge of my consciousness, forever out of reach.

When he showed up on our little backwater planet, dressed in fine clothing, we all thought he was a business man. Come to buy up the ranch, or so the hands whispered. Maybe we’d finally get some business out there, a big school or a research center. Or maybe he was just looking for some place to vacation.

I couldn’t conceive of what he wanted from me. Condolences, I assumed. I spent the weeks after my mother died listening to everyone’s sob story about how wonderful she was, how much they were going to miss her and how dreadful I must feel about having her taken from me so soon. But aside from my aunt, no one ever asked how I felt about it. No one wanted to hear my fond memories; I was just a vessel for their grief.

My life until that moment had been full of horses and cows. I knew everything there was to know about birthing both animals, about keeping them calm in the torrential storms that regularly tore through the mountains on our cattle drives, what to do if an animal faltered or someone took a spill. There was something about the dusky-skinned man with raven hair and blue-tinged grey eyes on my aunt’s couch that made me shiver. It didn’t look like he had ever spent a day doing honest work, though I learned later I was wrong. So very wrong.

I didn’t know how badly I needed a direct blood connection until I realized who he was. He didn’t come right out and say it; my father rarely does when it comes to matters of emotion. But I’ve learned to see through his cracks.

Most children my age would have been angry. Where was he through all the difficult moments? Mother’s sickness, the steady decline, losing my home and everything I’d ever known, not to mention the funeral. And there were all the times before that which usually included both parents. Every birthday. The first time I rode a horse on my own. But in truth, I never found my life lacking until my mother left it.

Besides, I knew he wanted me, and not just because I knew my mother hadn’t had contact with him since before I was born. It was in his voice when he apologized for coming too late. But more, it was in his actions. It was in the fact that he didn’t talk me out of it after I decided to go. Perhaps he could tell it wasn’t his spaceship which had put the stars in my eyes, but him. It was in the way he gave me the facts but always let me choose. No, I couldn’t have horses in space, but I could come home any time I wanted. And I could go to whatever school I wanted and study whatever topic I chose. It was in the way he sat up late with me those first nights when the noise of his spaceship kept me awake. The way he sat beside my bed every time I was sick. It was even in all the laps he made my boyfriends run when they broke company rules to date me behind his back.

I’ve never regretted wearing the name ‘Lorcasf.’ I think I might even keep it and give it to my kids some day.

So there was never a moment of hesitation, never a question in my mind of who I should tell first. I never doubted he’d be happy or that I’d have his support. But I did make sure he wasn’t drinking when I said it. I didn’t want him to choke.

“And I’m not even sure how to tell Danny yet-“

“You told me before you told him?” My father arched an eyebrow. “He’s not going to be pleased about that.”

“Well of course! Who else was I going to ask for advice?” I tried to put on my most imploring, little girl look, but it doesn’t work anymore. Actually, I’m not sure it ever did.

“I don’t know. The same way you told me, Sunshine. Except replace the ‘Daddy’ in ‘Daddy, I’m pregnant’ with ‘Danny.’ Should do the trick. Make sure he isn’t standing up though. Or near anything that could damage his skull. I’m not very confident in that kid’s ability to withstand another cranial impact.”

“Daddy!”

A hint of a smile crossed his lips. For some reason, I’ve always loved my father more when he smiles. Maybe it’s because he does it so rarely. Or maybe it’s because he’s careful not to let many people see, but he’s never hesitated to smile around me. “Well, I suppose it’s too late to save the pregnancy test and hand it to him.”

“Daddy, I’m serious.”

“So am I, Sunshine. Unless you want to do some big, flashy thing-“

“Which isn’t really my style.”

He inclined his head slightly, as if to say he’d already guessed. “Then just tell him. It probably won’t reduce him to a babbling idiot. And if it does, a slap or two should set him straight.”

He said it with a straight face, without a hint of waver in his tone. But I could see the glimmer in his eyes. He was trying to make me laugh. I smiled, but sat in silence for several minutes. It was bigger news than I had really let myself comprehend. I knew it was a possibility, of course. We’d talked about doing it. I just didn’t think it would happen so soon.

“Are you happy?” my father’s voice interrupted my thoughts.

“Well yeah! Of course I am. But I guess I’m a little nervous too. I don’t think I really thought about what happens after this part.”

His fingers brushed the back of my hand. His index finger and thumb were rough and calloused, but the three artificial fingers that completed his right hand were strangely smooth in the wake of them. “It’s going to be okay, Robin. You can do this. And I’m not just saying that to make you feel better. You proved a long time ago you can do anything you set your mind to. If being a mother is one of those things, you’re all set.”

It did make me feel better. Somehow, despite his protests, he always knew the best thing to say. “I appreciate that. You and Mom set a pretty high bar.”

My father snorted and shook his head. “Don’t lump me in with your mother. She did all the difficult bits. I just came in at the end and finished it off.”

“That’s not remotely true. Besides, they say the teenage years are more difficult when you’re raising girls. And don’t try to argue with me; do you think I went into something without reading at least one book about how it works?”

“Well then you should be all set if even I managed to handle this parenting thing.”

I curled my fingers into a fist and punched his arm. Lightly. Sometimes sudden jerking movements cause him an abnormal amount of pain. I know because I’ve spent a lot of time trying to get rid of it, but the original designs for his bionic were so terrible, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to solve that particular riddle.

“Don’t act like you were a failure, Daddy. You were great. You still are. To be honest, at the moment, I’m wondering how you did it all.”

“Unfortunately, I’m not sure I can help you much in that regard. People say there’s an instinct for it, but I sure as hell didn’t have one. It’s like a lot of things; you’ll feel your way through it. And you’ll probably make a lot of late-night video calls the same way I did to your aunt right after you started staying with me. And you’re going to have a lot of help. Pretty much every high-ranking member of this mercenary company considers you family. You’re going to have more babysitters and advice than you know what to do with.”

I slid across the couch and wrapped my arms around his neck, melting into his warmth. He slid one arm across my shoulder and held me until I pulled back. “Thank you, Daddy. I mean it. I’m not sure I could do this without you.”

He laid a light kiss on my forehead. “You could, but I’ll help as much as I can. Don’t ever hesitate if you need help. Whatever I can do, no matter how small. I just can’t promise any of my advice is going to be good.”

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Well, you’re doing fine so far. Thanks again, Daddy. For everything.”

domerin - childhood

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In the vein of trying something new, here is a set of familiar characters written from an unfamiliar perspective and in an unfamilar POV – yes, I can write first person I just, for whatever reason, don’t do it often ;) If there’s someone you’re interested in seeing more of, please do let me know!

Please also take a look at what my writing partner did with this one.

And if you’d like to participate, send me a link to your prompt response and I’ll feature it next week!

One Response to “Their Childhood”

  1. ganymeder Says:

    Very cool, especially like how you subtly wrote in the scifi bits. Very relatable.


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