Daddy Love

4 May

When I was about 7 years old my siblings and I walked to school together. They were congested streets one might imagine to be safe, but not really – not in Rio. Where there’s commotion, there’s distraction for picking pockets, yanking gold earrings off a girl’s ears, opening a kid’s backpack, as he walks with his friends, and stealing a wallet. We learned to be alert from a young age. I carried my backpack in front of me, I brought my watch to school in my bag, and only put it on when inside school gates. I never wore my cool sneakers without dad by my side (or later, my brother). A lot of the kids did, and once in a while, someone would get to school sans backpack, with ripped ears or barefoot. They’d all be crying, of course.

We did our best to avoid trouble, but there was one kid – an attendant at a periodicals stand, who would yell obscenities at my sister and me. I understood some words like ‘cock’ and ‘pussy,’ but his language must’ve been so foul that I honestly didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do to us, but I  could tell it wasn’t good. No one would say anything to him, and he never missed us when we walked by. Since there was no other path to take,  my dad told us he’d take care of it.

He took the following morning off work and walked us to school.

Show me who the guy is, he said. As we approached the stand, my sister and I extended our arms and index fingers to their limits and said, That one, dad!

We waited a few feet away. The kid was sitting on a folding chair outside the stand. My dad went inside it, motioning for the boy to follow him. He looked confused and amused, but he complied.

Forty seconds later my dad came out and called us over. We stood outside the stand, close enough to see the kid inside, his pupils enlarged, looking like he might piss his pants – or already had.

Do you see these girls? You remember their faces, right? You say one word to them, you even look their way when they walk by, and I promise you, I will end your life with my own hands. Do you understand me, kid? Now apologize to them.

I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.

I hope so, my dad said.

He led the way out, my sister and I followed, huge smiles on our faces. Dad dropped us off at school and we milked that story during lunch and in between classes. Sure enough, the poor kid never spoke a word to us again; he never so much as made eye contact.

Moments like that were few and far in between; I never doubted my dad’s ability to go beastly to defend my honor, yet most of the time he was running away from me with my candy, helping me paint flowers on my bike, or giving me math lessons on our blackboard.

Years later I thought about the kid who harassed my sister and me, and realized he wasn’t older than 14, 15. I imagine if he’d had a dad at home helping him fix his bike, he wouldn’t have my dad threatening his life.


9 Responses to “Daddy Love”

  1. Matt May 4, 2010 at 12:59 #

    Good Fathers are really few and far between.

    Be thankful.

  2. Sara May 4, 2010 at 13:35 #

    Watching dads protect their little girls is one of those things that gets my hormones all teary eyed.

  3. Juliana May 4, 2010 at 14:00 #

    matt, i am.
    sara, me too. like right now. ew.

  4. Barbara May 5, 2010 at 07:39 #

    I could see my Dad doing the same thing. Even now he probably would. We’re lucky to have good fathers in our lives.

  5. The Mercurial Wife May 5, 2010 at 18:24 #

    That’s a sweet post. I miss my dad so much. 😦

  6. Kanwalful May 8, 2010 at 06:15 #

    Awww. That is so sweet. I love the way dads are so protective about their little girls. 🙂

  7. wanderingmenace May 12, 2010 at 07:52 #

    Great dads are amazing. Mine spent my childhood threatening to sue anyone who put his children in any kind of danger. That’s what lawyers do best though, and hey-he taught me how to argue like the best of them.

  8. June 14, 2010 at 17:13 #

    Great post! I remember being young and feeling like my dad could protect me from anything.


  1. My library stalker (a true story) « Night Writings - May 12, 2010

    […] May My sister and I must’ve been really hot prepubescent girls because not only were obscenities shouted at us on our way to school, we also were stalked once. It’s possible he just couldn’t help himself as […]

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