I still adored my Father with the wonder of an eight year old, and hung on his every word. “This movie was banned in Thailand when it was released,” he explained. He always had interesting facts about movies to tell.
“Where is that?” I had never heard of Thailand before.
“It is where they live, it used to be Siam…” Father tried to think of a way to make me understand. “South East Asia.”
“Oh.” I nodded, pretending to understand. We both turned our attention back to the movie, singing along with the familiar Rogers and Hammerstein tunes. “Did you name Anna after her?”
“No, we named her Anna because we thought it sounded good with Addy.” Father pulled me close, tickling me with his stubble.
Those are the moments that I spent many years blocking out. I purged my mind of all happy memories of Father, or twisted them and made them unhappy after catching him with Maria. The truth is, Father loved me and always had time for me.
I watched in awe as the shiny bald headed king spun Anna the teacher around the room. Father obviously saw in my eyes that I wanted to be her and scooped me into his arms and began to dance. I smiled, my hair flowing behind me, my heart pumping with excitement. I had the best Daddy in the world!
“Sweet Adeline, my Adeline. At night dear heart for you I pine. In all my dreams, your fair face beams. You‘re the flower of my heart Sweet Adeline…”
“I don’t want to go bed.” I whined. I didn’t understand why we couldn’t watch more movies.
“Got to.” Father pulled the quilt up around me. It was already ten o’clock.
“I can’t sleep.” I knew Father well enough to know that he would never leave the room if I wasn’t happy about going to sleep, and milked it for all it was worth.
“You haven’t tried yet, Addy. Now I know you’re upset about the king dying, I know you wish you could rewrite the ending, but you can’t.” Father understood me completely. “Someday, you’ll just have to write stories of your own and give them all happy endings.”
That was an idea. I was already quite a poet, even at eight. I hugged him close, finally ready to say goodnight, and rolled over on my side. I spent the rest of the night dreaming of the stories that I would write and the happy endings that I would create.
Father encourage me to write, always was ready to read my work, and always made sure I knew how proud her was of me. For many years, I wrote for him. I would hand him little tattered pieces of notebook paper with fairy tales on them, and wait on his reaction. He always made a big scene about it and asked if he could keep it. I was the apple of Father’s eye.
Unfortunately, my “And they lived happily ever afters” suddenly stopped at twelve years old. I stopped handing him pages of fairy tales and instead ignored him completely. I wrote stories of heart break and pain that would never be read. I wrote journal entries about how much I hated Father and loathed Maria. Suddenly, I found myself with an aversion to happy endings all together. It was like night and day from the relationship that Father and I had before I walked into his study.