Even after twenty-odd years of marital bliss, I still find it hard to understand certain actions of my wife. I mean, first, she gets mad at me for having an affair with our daughter... then she storms at me for breaking up the affair. As if that is not enough, she complains that I am not being randy enough! And boy, did she blow her top when our daughter let it slip that we were using protection. And now, she is mad that...
I guess it all began when I sold my Jag for a 1987 model Harley-Davidson, complete with the leather gear and helmets and stuff. Then again, nothing would have happened if I had not decided to pick up Lisa, our daughter, when she decided to move back in with us. To tell you the truth, one way or the other, I don't care what really brought about the entire affair - I am glad something did, and that's all I wonder about.
You would think that a twenty-one year old girl would want the privacy of an apartment away from home, away from the prying eyes and ears of her parents, just so that she wouldn't have to worry about any fistfights if her boyfriend brought her home a couple of hours too late, and you are probably correct. However, Elizabeth, our daughter, decided that she would like nothing more than coming back to stay with her parents.
Naturally, we agreed.
On retrospect, I believe my wife Beatrice, 'Bets', was instrumental in getting her daughter agree to the change of scenery, but since it was a non-issue and a matter between mother and daughter, I never brought it up. Neither did Lisa or Beatrice, at any point. I was too overjoyed when Lisa informed us that she was coming home that I never thought of questioning the reasons behind the move.
On to the physical sketch. I am forty-ish, and the white streak that I fashionably allowed to run the length of my ponytail has invoked a lot of compliments, particularly one with the 'x' in it. I work out regularly, sweat a lot and work on my bike so often I can't get fat even if I tried (yeah, right!)
A couple of months older than I, my wife Bets is slightly plump, with the wide hips and jiggling breasts that were so characteristic of the average fifties middle-aged female. Back when we were dating, she was a knockout - 'blondie with the wristwatch around the waist,' that was how she was referred to. Then, one night, during a party, the two of us snuck off for some heavy petting, and one thing, as always, leads to another. Before I knew it, I was slipping the wedding ring on her finger.
To this day, I haven't had a single cause of regret that I did so.
Lisa. I have to admit that if I were in her age sect, I would definitely kill to be on her date-list. She had inherited her grandmother's fiery red hair, along with the charming smile and the glorious body that would have done any woman proud. High breasts, blue eyes, a slight pout and long legs, combined with her tan - you get the picture.
Even though it was a five-hundred mile trip to her apartments downstate, I decided to cover the distance with my bike rather than rent a car or use the planes. I have a morbid fear of flight; my daughter shares that fear. Other than the lean physique and the philanthropic outlook, the fear was the only thing that was similar about us.
When I arrived at the reasonably posh apartment complex, I realized what a fool I had been. Everywhere around me were little convertibles, and I could imagine their impeccably dressed owners, in their Armanis and Heusens, clattering away on their cell-phones, acting rich, too important to be seen in a leather jacket on a black motorcycle.
What the hell, I thought, I had ten times as much money as any of these worker ants would ever have, and I didn't mind being seen in a leather jacket on a black motorcycle.
Anyone who has ridden on a Harley knows that they are incredibly stable; it's almost like riding a four-wheeler, only better. Even after the four hour journey from home, I wasn't too bushed to help my daughter pack the last of her remaining stuff into the movers' truck. That done, we watched, leaning on each other like friends, as the transport pulled into the traffic at the boulevard.
We walked over to the neighborhood delicatessen for some early lunch - although it was just past eleven, both of us had skipped breakfast, me because I had been on the road, Lisa 'cause she had to submit her resignation at her office and then had been too busy packing to break off for food.
As we ate, Lisa and I chatted on merrily, covering everything from the home-front to the office-front, and we laughed heartily as she recalled some of the corniest pickup lines that she had been treated to. Nothing was taboo between father and daughter.
We left the delicatessen at a quarter to twelve, the forty-five minutes having passed unnoticed until the waitress had asked us pointedly, "Is there anything else?"
I had replied, "Just the check."
She snorted. "You paid that ten minutes ago."
We got the message.
The jingling of the motorcycle keys as we walked hand-in-hand, down the block, reminded me that Lisa was hardly dressed for a bike ride. She hadn't changed after coming back from her office, and was still in that business suit that showed a lot of stocking-clad leg.
"Is that what you are going to wear?"
Lisa gave me an embarrassed smile. "I don't have anything else - when you told me that you came here on the HD, I just dumped everything into the truck. I don't have anything else. Unless you are willing to buy me an outfit..."
"Oh, no, Lisa dear. I did not travel five hundred miles just to be sidetracked to a shopping mall by my sweet-talking daughter. Besides, the only problem with what you are wearing is that it is too... chic. But then again, I am sure the winds at a hundred miles would give you that ruffled, untidy look. What do you say?"
"Ruffled look, eh? Let me see what I can do about that." At this hour of the day, there was hardly anyone is sight as we walked towards the underground parking lot of her apartment. Lisa paused at the corner, the entrance just on the other side, and took off her coat. Then she reached behind her back and unbraided her hair, cascading it over her back. She ran a hand through the reddish flames a couple of times, until she had felt they were unkempt enough.
The next move shocked me, because in all these years as her father, I had never ever had an opportunity to see her undress, and when you see a beautiful woman unbuttoning her shirt on a street that is all but deserted, your imagination thinks things you shouldn't. So when I saw my daughter reaching for the second button on her shirt, with the neck starting to gape open, I panicked, thinking that she was going to strip right there.
"What are you doing?" I spluttered, reaching out to stop her.
Lisa laughed on seeing the consternation on my face. It took her one fraction of a second to realize what had been coursing through her father's mind, and her amused eyes mocked me. She brushed my hand away and undid a third button, never once taking those baby blues off me, and only then did she move her hands away from the parting of her shirt.
"God, Daddy! What did you think I was going to do, strip naked?"
Now it was my turn to flash her an embarrassed smile. "I guess I overreacted."
She nodded, the grin still on her face. "And how!" Then she surprised me by giving me a sloppy wet kiss on my cheeks, something she hadn't done since her last year at grade school. Her smile softened; she held my hand. "Thank you."
I pretended to wipe her touch away, a motion so obviously false that the grin on her face grew again. "And, young lady, may I ask what that was for?"
I could see by the glow in her eyes that she meant every word of what she was saying to me. It was always in her eyes. They never deceived me. "Many things. But most of all, for showing that you care. You act cool - okay, before you object, you ARE cool - and you give in to all my silly whims, be my best buddy, never actually hurt me... and still, you know when you have to be the father. You are the best."
I am not normally a sentimental guy, but the only way tears wouldn't have come after that admission was if I was already six feet under my tombstone. My eyes grew moist, and I drew her acquiescent self towards me for a hug. It was the best compliment I had ever received, and I knew I would remember this moment for a long time ahead.
The folks in the station wagons and family sedans that we overtook without as much as a 'Howdy!' must have mistaken us for a couple, and I don't think we had any defense in that matter. Lisa was positively hyper, the liberation of the open road like a stimulant that brought out the little girl in her. She laughed her pearly laughter as we raced on, occasionally throwing her arms up towards the heavens.
I was glad to see the change in my daughter. The breakup with a steady boyfriend of three years last month had left her somewhat in low spirits, and although we never brought that up either, I knew that it was yet another reason - to get away from that two-timing sonofabitch who wanted to set her up with his boss so that he could have a raise - that made her want to move away.
Today's youth have little or no stamina - that's what every penultimate generation has to say about its successor. I give in to the cliche, the bandwagon; even as I still felt energetic enough to take in a strip show, Lisa started to tone down her enthusiasm. Soon, the imminent was addressed.
"Dad," she screamed over the roar of the engine - I had deliberately removed the muffler so that I could enjoy the sound in peace.
"What?" I could see in the rearview mirror that she was rubbing her eyes.
.... There is more of this story ...