"Hi, it's me," I heard pouted down the line.
"Ohhhh, great," I replied facetiously back to my daughter.
"What?" the little bitch croaked, although I immediately realized I couldn't fairly describe my daughter as little anymore.
"Nothing... nothing. What do you want anyway?"
"It's almost Christmas," my twenty-three year old daughter started.
So fucking what, I thought. Surely she doesn't think she can get any more blood out of her old man. "You're Jewish."
"Just part. Gram invited me to spend Christmas with her... in Miami."
"My mother invited you?" I asked incredulously.
"Yes daddy, my Grandmother! Mommy's going to France with Jean-Pierre for the holidays. I've got twelve days off with the weekends and the holidays so I thought I'd come down. I'm tired."
"Ha... ha. You're so funny."
"You're not planning on staying with me are you?"
"Nooo father!" she sneered. "I wouldn't want to disturb the great man... even if it is Christmas... a time when most families get together..."
I heard her whooshing intake of her breath twelve hundred miles away when I simply said, "Fuck off Patricia."
"What," she finally stammered.
"We're adults now. Can't we just cut the crap? I don't need this bullshit anymore. You're supposed to be a mature woman now... a doctor for Christ's sake."
The normal steel was back in her voice when she snapped back, "Well screw you too. I'm only calling because grams asked me to... she wanted her little boy told, poor baby."
"Patricia," I warned.
"The hell with you. Anyway I'll be at grams condo from the twenty-third until the third. You can spend the holidays in Cuba with your friend Fidel for all I care," she said as she slammed down the phone in my ear.
I was shaking as I tried to put the phone back in its cradle. She still had the ability to piss me off. Hardly without even trying. God, it's been almost ten fucking years since her mother walked out on me, I thought, taking Patty and my happiness with her.
"Hi mom," I said ominously when my mother answered he phone.
"Jimmy, how nice," she sang back at me. "Did you hear the good news? About Patricia coming down for the holidays?"
"She called me mom."
"Isn't it nice?"
"She should be taken out and shot. Or guillotined. Put her out of her misery."
"That's a terrible thing for a father to say. You've got to try honey," she begged.
"Did you hear the latest? About her chosen medical specialty?"
"She wants to be a surgeon," mom protested, "There's nothing wrong with that."
"YEAH! A bloody plastic surgeon! Nose jobs and tummy tucks for the rich and famous. Breast implants. Christ, knowing her she'll end up doing vaginal reconstructions. It's new, it's called Labiaplasty, apparently it creates aesthetically pleasing outer genital structures, rumor has it that it's all the rage in certain quarters."
"Jimmy!" mom said laughing.
"Or hymenoplasty... you can imagine what that does."
"There's no such thing!"
"There is. Twenty grand and you're a virgin again," I shouted.
"She may end up helping the poor, the needy; in Africa... people who've been in accidents, people with genetic disfigurements," mom protested. "She might even go to South America... to the Amazon... to where we've practiced," she said wistfully.
"The poor won't pay for the polo ponies, or the cashmere dresses, or the caviar and champagne," I said harshly.
"She's still young honey... maybe... oh, I just wish that awful woman hadn't got custody," she wailed.
The two of us were in one hundred percent agreement about my ex and the way she lived her life and raised my daughter. Only much of the blame my mother apportioned was now laid squarely on my doorstep for marrying her in the first place.
"Please Jimmy... if we try... you've got to talk to her... we're the only people in her world who have any sense at all. Any social responsibility."
"She hasn't said ten kind words to me since she was sixteen," I yelled, then quickly apologized, "sorry ma. She even gets us arguing."
"Still, I'm going to try, we'll have ten days," she insisted as she hung up. Mom was always ready to try, to give someone the benefit of the doubt, to help the poor, the needy, the...
I'd spent the first fifteen years of my life on a commune. Mom, the daughter of one of New York's richest Jewish families, had just finished her medical degree at Columbia when she discovered sex, marijuana, Buddhism and Marx the summer before her residency was to begin.
She ended up pregnant with yours truly on a farm commune in the hills of Tennessee. It was never clear who fathered me.
Reagan was President. Being rich was in. Taxes were cut. Conspicuous consumption was good! Trickle down and all that. Ma had become a hippie twenty years too late. She ended up doctoring to the hill country poor while living with her left wing friends on the commune.
Then, after I'd left for University, she went and spent three years deep in the Amazon jungle ministering to the native tribes. She worked out of a small Catholic school and mission that tried to serve a ten thousand square mile area deep in the rainforest. Since then she'd been bouncing back and forth between Miami and the jungle.
Meanwhile I, a young premed student at Harvard in Boston, unfortunately met Miss Rebecca Marie Cooperman, a dazzling young coed studying fine arts at Bryn Mawr. I fell in love. What a fucking jerk. My brain was in my dick!
And I really had no excuse. Shit, growing up like I did, on a commune, with the ever present nudity and free sex, I wasn't some innocent university freshman smelling his first cunt. I'd lost my virginity at fourteen and had sampled enough women that even Becky Cooperman and her perfect tits shouldn't have turned my head.
Just another roll in the hay. Except we two, who had diametrically different views on virtually everything, smashed passionately together in a rutting dance of lust and love. Before either of us knew what was happening we were in love, then married, and then finally parents of beautiful Patricia Ellie Scouries before either of us had hit twenty-one.
My wife's parents, upper class gits, didn't take to their new son-in-law, even though I was a 'Harvard' boy. And my mom hated everything about them.
Rebecca and I spent the next twelve years trying to change each other. An impossible task as it turned out.
When Patty was thirteen her mom finally decided I'd never change. So she went home to her parents and their million dollar apartment on Central Park in New York and their summer home in the Hampton's. And then she dedicated herself into turning her daughter into a carbon copy of herself. A stuck up rich bitch!
Every second weekend after the breakup I'd attempted to reverse some of the worst of her mother's lessons. Perhaps it wasn't fair to a young teenager. Maybe I wasn't a perfect father in those days. But when you love someone so much its hard not to try to save her from banality, and greed, and stupidity and...
And even at thirteen or fourteen there was no doubt, my daughter was smart. In fact a near genius. It petrified me that she was destined to become nothing more than a smart shopper... a boutique beauty... an upper class twit...
She had the ability to do so much more.
"I don't want to come here any more."
"Weekends... or in the summer... or at Thanksgiving or Easter."
"What are you talking about?" I asked my sixteen year old daughter. It had been a difficult two and a half years for both of us since she'd left with her mom.
"You don't think like us... like mommy and me. Or grampa Cooperman. You're so..." she trailed off, her nose in the air, her teenage disdain for me clear.
"Well little girl, like it or lump it, you're stuck. Your mom and I have a court ordered deal. Somebody's got to try and knock a little sense into your fat head."
"Why? Just because I like nice things," she yelled. "Wake up daddy, we live in America. We're almost in the twenty-first century. I'm missing my riding lessons because of this."
My palm was within six inches of Patty's cheek before I finally brought it under control.
"Hit me daddy, c'mon, hit me," she screamed, spittle flying from her mouth...
"Look at you... you're dressed like a slut," I yelled back, a fury I'd felt building for over two years boiling close to the surface. "I should have put you over my knee and given you a thrashing years ago."
"God, I thought all you hippy do-gooders didn't believe in hitting anybody," she sneered.
"Go to your room," I ordered.
"Fuck you... you're probably not even my father anyway." For just a second I saw a regret for her words reflected in her eyes, but then the coldness descended again and she added, "I not coming here anymore."
"We'll see... maybe we do need a break... let me talk to your mom... you're going to university soon anyway," I answered wearily as another piece of my heart broke.
"No," she insisted, and sensing she'd won she stuck in the knife a final time, "I'll tell them you touched me... my breasts... that you looked at me when I was showering... that I'm afraid you're going"
SPLATTTT. Patty bounced backward from the blow. Lay stunned on the floor as blood started to trickle from her nose.
"GET OUT! NOWWWW!" I screamed as I lifted her and marched her towards the door. "If you're so fucking smart then go and find your goddam father." I threw her purse and overnight bag out the door after her. And then proceeded to get drunk.
.... There is more of this story ...