It’s been a while since I posted on here, I probably should keep it up. My wife thinks I should write the funnier side of being a dad, especially given my own experiences with Carnivals and such. But for today, something else.
I was recently watching Kung Fu Panda 2. I say I was, but the daughters were watching it as part of their bedtime routine. I’ve discovered this is a possible trigger for me. More specifically, the scene where Po (the titular Panda) remembers his childhood and what happened to his parents. Every goddamn time I watch it, it sets off a vision in my head that messes me up.
I finally wrote it down:
Just This Once
“Another, please Daddy,” the little girl says.
She looks up at him with big wide but tired eyes, and he relents, retrieving another book from the shelf before sitting at her bedside. She is tucked under her duvet, cozy and warm, cuddling her ugly misshapen teddy bear. The bear, Mr Ted, was tucked in beside her, one of her arms around him.
“Just this once,” he says playfully.
He knew full well he couldn’t say no to her.
He read the short book, and saw she was still awake.
“Did you want another?” he asks nervously, seeing her yawn.
“Not tonight Daddy, I’m tired.”
“Just this once?”
She shakes her head, and he puts the book down.
“Can I have a goodnight hug, Daddy?”
“Of course you can,” he smiles.
He wraps his arms around her and she snuggles her face into his cheek. It feels like an eternity. It isn’t long enough.
He lets go, and trembles.
“I wanna go sleep now, Daddy,” she said, her voice tired.
“You don’t want to stay up, a little bit longer? Just this once?”
She shakes her head, eyelids heavy, once again cuddling Mr Ted tight to her little face. She looks cozy again, warm and content. He feels the tightness in his chest, and his lip trembles.
“See you in the morning, Daddy,” she says.
He nods, not trusting himself.
“Na-night Daddy,” she says sleepily before her eyes drift closed. “Love you.”
“Love you too, sweetie. Goodnight.”
He reaches over and switches the lamp off.
The light rain blankets him and the colour is drained from the world.
He watches the workers reverently lower the tiny box into the ground, the Minister’s words barely a blurred mumble in his ears. In his hand, he holds Mr Ted, as ugly and misshapen as it ever was, and now the most important thing in the world.
Tears flow down his face, and his knees wobble.
He drops to the wet grass.