From the beginning, they had a quiet sort of relationship, and for a while, it suited them just fine. But when her mother left for Rome with her boyfriend, the quiet became unbearably silent, until she didn’t feel related to her father at all.
In fact, the only time the two talked was when it came to his alma mater, Tufts. He was so enthusiastic that, when the time came, she applied on a whim just to please him, even though she knew that college wasn’t in her future—dancing was. She had inherited the art of sinking into a song and leaving the world behind from her mother, and she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. She hadn’t told her father though, scared of the memories it would bring back of her mother.
Then, one day, she saw a big envelope from Tufts in her mailbox, and she knew she had to break the silence.
“I can’t go to college, Dad.”
He looked up, bewildered.
“I love to dance—it’s in my blood. But, dad! That doesn’t mean that I’ll turn out like her—because we’re different people. She was wild and unpredictable, and I’m just not.” She paused at the mention of her mother, who both of them hadn’t talked about since her departure.
But she braced herself and went on: “I can be a great dancer, I know it. And there won’t be any trouble for you; you won’t have to pay or anything. I’d just… I’d like your support from time to time. I’d like you to be my father again, like you were when she was here.”
He nodded and walked out of the room while she let the tears she had held in for ten years stream out.
Then he came back into the room with a box in his hand and, his fingers trembling, opened the lid. Inside were a slightly dusty, but beautiful pair of pale pink ballet shoes.
“I would like that too,” he said.
My entry for this week’s Trifecta contest, in which we have to use the third definition of the word: