“He looks nothing like I thought he would.”
“What were you expecting?”
Older. Older, taller and weary with a white blonde beard. Sun damaged, serious… Silent but when he spoke, I knew, his voice would be low and rough as anything, I heard just how it would sound, how it would scratch at the insides of your ears; a fearsome voice, I could even imitate it. I could draw his face with crayons.
I didn’t like him, the man I was anticipating. I’d rehearsed a thousand showdowns - his gravelly, terse apologies and me… “Fuck you,” I’d say, “go fuck yourself you stupid prick”. You’re not supposed to swear at your parents, but he’d have seen so many things, heard a thousand curses in a hundred different language he’d never bothered to learn. I was expecting myself, stone-faced and sad eyed, only selfish, more selfish than I could ever be. I’d have that on him.
What were you expecting? What a question, what a cut to the quick question - I hated that he might picture me imagining a Father at all. He never knew me as a child but I looked at Tom and I saw he had her, me, this vision of me waiting, tiny and curled up on a carpet with crayons, crying maybe, in his head, right behind the eyes.
I tried to take it back. I’d heard the stories after all; that man they all mentioned, at the back of my brain, in such a small corner, he was my Father. That wasn’t what I’d expected.
“I mean…Because they said, everyone thought he’d killed someone. I just thought he’d be scarier, that’s all.”
Tom blinked little Lissy away and nodded. “I guess. You’d think so.”