my 49-year old father, his questions, and the woman he loves

“are you ever going to get married?”

the man i love most in the entire world is a balding 49-year-old father. mine. and he was asking me a question.

i do not like questions like that asked over the phone. he is coming over in 3 or 6 days (with father, you would never know; finding out his exact flight details back to our archipelago is a detective’s job) and he can very well ask it then. but, no, father wants to ask questions like that in his own preferred time and in his own preferred way.

“im still 26, father. ive known women still single in their 35th year.” i mumbled. and i know girls having babies at 14, too.

“you always wanted to get married when you’re 25.” he spoke up and i can imagine him lying in his cranky, bunk bed, his stuff neatly and completely packed and ready besides it and the ship sailing to god-knows-where. “that’s more than a year ago, isn’t it?”

he does paint the obvious, doesn’t he?

but, i always wanted to get married at 25. i have imagined my wedding way before visualizing an engagement popped on me. i have imagined my babies – lots of them- crying simultaneously in our modest nursery room. i have imagined my toddlers in their school bags and little school shoes and neatly combed hair. i have imagined weeknight study hours with the kids while my husband was watching the evening news (and him butting in once in a while why we should not colour Barney pink). i have imagined family picnics and summer holidays and fishing and football games and anniversary dates and family dinners and birthday cakes.

i imagined it would have been nice starting that kind of life at 25.

but where was i when i was 25?

i wore corporate three suits and go to fancy corporate board meetings. the homework i was checking are the deliverables i delagated to my staff. the anniversary dates i have attended are either that of my company’s operation length or that of our clients or suppliers. the summer holidays i had were of alcohol and parties and strangers. the football games i have watched were of grownups i do not give a damn about and in a bar full of brits and their beer. there are no family picnics; i pack my bag and travel alone.

do not get me wrong. this path i take, it is not a worse one. it is just so different from what i have imagined. i grew up in a family that started very early and very basic. and i never dreamed about making it big in the corporate world; i dreamed to be like my mother. being a fulltime mother and a wife is a tough job. you have no other alternative to escape to when it gets rough. and she is really doing a terrific job.

and father, father loves her like crazy. writes her handwritten love letters still. even after 27 years. gives her sweet and funny valentine cards still. even after six children (seven if you count the one we adopted). takes her out on dates still. always did.

“when are you coming back here?” i changed the subject.

“soon. i haven’t seen my plane tickets yet.”

“how could you not know it? don’t they give you an advice weeks before hand?” i challenged him. “you always do this. i fancy you’ll call me in a few hours and inform me that you’re on your way to the airport.”

“i will let you know when i know, alright?”

“okay. do not forget. we will pick you up at the airport.” i paused. “when are you going to proceed home?”

home is where mother is. and mother is still back in our little, laid back town half the other end of the archipelago.

“soon as possible.”

ahhhh, love like theirs…it doesn’t come around often.

i am so fucking glad mother was pregnant with me when she was 20. that was why they got married that early.

the ugly duckling turned into a very beautiful swan.


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