Dad’s Girlfriend

I never thought my dad would date again.

He made it so clear.

“I’m done with women.”

“Can’t behave that long.”

“Can’t be what they want me to be.”

It was almost a decade,

when the two of us were all each other had.

My dad was my best friend,

playgrounds and baseball and cycling in the dark,

and it never occurred to me

he might want love again.

Because to me,

life was perfect.

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When my dad says something,

he means it.

“I love you.”

“I promise.”

“You’re being an idiot.”

So he meant it when he said women

were the last thing he was looking for.

That phase of his life was over

after my mom.

 

Little did he know life doesn’t work out

the way we mean it to.

Sometimes it works out better.

 

I came home one weekend,

and he told me he’d met a woman.

A woman who lived only a few doors away,

someone I’d met before.

I knew it was you.

You were the only one around here good enough

for my dad.

You are sometimes brave as hell

and sometimes terrified to fail.

You are wild and crazy in all the best ways,

Just like he is.

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Everyone, including you,

thought I’d be afraid of losing my dad.

Maybe I was the day I found out.

You quickly eased my fears.

You treated me like a friend.

And you became one.

Now the three of us have had over a year

of road trips and laugh riots and singing in the dark.

I was just surprised.

That my dad wasn’t as cold

as he had always pretended to be.

But I kind of knew that all along.

 

I see the two of you together.

He seems so unlike who he had been

for almost a decade.

It’s funny to me that he’s a cliche like everyone.

“I’m done with women,” really meant

“I’m lost, and I’m afraid, so I’m giving up.”

I didn’t understand it, but now I do.

Around you, I see how glad he is

that he isn’t lost anymore.

I’m glad he didn’t give up.

And I want to thank you,

because you wouldn’t let him.

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I never thought I could like anyone my dad brought home.

I guess it’s because I didn’t know he was lying

about being lonely.

I didn’t know he’d bring home

someone like you.

I just wanted you to know

I love you too.

By Ashley Foy // Artwork by Hana Elmasry 

Ashley Foy

“To BE means to never give up. On ourselves, on the future, or on each other. Keep trying, keep hoping, and keep writing!”