Telephone Conversation With My Much More Intelligent Daughter.
Her Mother: Here.
Her Mother: NOW. Here. TALK.
FD: [skipping the whole ‘seven years old’ thing and becoming ‘thirteen’]*sigh* ‘llo?
The above exchange is repeated five times.
Me: Are you just going to keep saying ‘hello’?
The above exchange is also repeated five times. Each time I hear her slight amusement heighten with my frustration.
I decide to raise my game. I have yet to receive a Father’s Day card – for reasons that have been sensibly explained to me by her mother – but I reckon if I bring this up I’ll crack her.
I know. 'Emotional manipulation'. I'm very proud of myself. To be honest I didn't have high hopes for its success anyway.
Me: So I’ve been very sad. Do you know why?
FD: [almost audible shrug]
Me: What day was it last Sunday?
I’m in trouble here. I’ve foolishly done this, will tar her with irrational guilt and will also incur the wrath of not only her future self but her right-now mother and - God – it was just meant to be a joke.
Favourite Daughter: We were really…. and we didn’t make one at school and there wasn’t time …
She sounds very ‘little’. I feel totally dreadful. This has back-fired.
Faourite Daughter: Daddy?
Something has changed in her voice. Almost imperceptible, something I like to think only her father would notice. I’ve a horrible feeling she’s about to be devastating without even trying.
Me: [Very suspicious] Yes?
FD: Well. You said ….[her voice takes the tone of ‘got you’ that she’ll employ with any slip-up that I or any man she’ll ever meet will make] you’d WRITE to ME first.
I think about the last goodbye I said to her and remember that I did promise this whilst trying not to let her see how sad I was feeling.
Me: Well, I…..
Fuck’s sake. I’ve been busy. Work. Writing stuff for sarcy websites. Christ. I’m shit aren’t I?
Silence. She does not chuckle.
Me: Well …. [It’s impossible to describe. We both know I’m dead in the water. And I can HEAR her satisfaction at the small victory even though SHE ALSO KNOWS SHE’S NOT ENTIRELY IN THE RIGHT. But that I’m just in the right side of wrong]
Me: Anyway. I love you.
FD: I know.