Tell Me A Lie
The Phone Call
"I'll check it out. I'm sure I will find a great rate..." I say in a bouncy voice as the tears filled my eyes.
I had enough practice to keep them from my voice as my daughter babbled on about the hotels and packages available.
Then, lying I say; "Oh , I'm running out of credit...I'll have to go..."
I stood in the garden, let the tears creep down my face. I knew she wasn't coming. Maybe she realised I knew.
But to prolong this pretend relationship, we played the game.
From the day she was born until she left home, I supported my daughter Niki.
Her father was, to put it nicely, thoroughly worthless.
I didn't know what he was when we married. It took six months for the complete boxed set of Al Thomas to appear. Al Thomas, a man who lied, who stole, who cheated, as he breathed.
If I hadn't been pregnant with Niki I'd of run away. If I hadn't been pregnant and in the last weeks of my degree, I would have run away. But I was stuck.
I was stuck with this waste of skin and bones called Al Thomas with a baby on the way.
Working to a Stand Still
I left college, immediately got a job, and worked until that last Friday.
Niki was born on Sunday.
I took one week, and was back at work. I continued to work, Monday to Friday, while Al was supposed to stay home. Al was supposed to watch the baby.
Just before Niki's first birthday I got a call from an acquaintance who told me Al had left Niki home alone and gone out with his friends.
There was no reason for me to reprimand Al or make a scene. He was worthless.
When I came home from work I made no mention of his behaviour, assuming this wasn't the first time he left a baby alone in a crib and went out to drink and smoke and sport.
I said nothing.
The next day, and all days thereafter, Niki was placed in a creche.
Every day I would leave Al at home, carry Niki to the creche, go to work, return,
pick up Niki and come home.
I lived with Al because he was a man. A man big enough and strong enough to prevent other men from bothering me. A man who could open tight caps, get things off the top shelf.
To give himself a reason for living, Al did the washing and cooking most times. He
cleaned the house and I paid him what I would a helper.
But Al was useless. Just a big smiley face con man who had fooled me.
During the first years of Niki's life, the years I had to send her to creche, to pre-school, then Basic School, the years I was the only one working, I was did well enough to pay down on a house, to buy a car, to have a life.
To make a life for Niki and her worthless father.
These are facts. Hard facts.
Yet, somehow,, Niki loved her father and hated me.
I didn't realise how much she hated me.
Blame the neighbours for filling her head with lies, blame Al, but Niki hated me.
I was just the pocket. I was the pocket for Al and for his daughter.
I never understood how a child, a female child, could love a father who was never home, always with other women, who put her last. It seemed so illogical that she could love a man who was so disinterested in her.
It took me years to see how many daughters are so afraid their fathers will reject them that they do everything to win his love.
So, Niki, as many other little girls who mean nothing to their fathers, think if they love him more, if they align with him against the mother, he will love them.
And Al, the greatest con man, knew how he could smile at Niki, say nice words
and play her.
As Time Goes By
I sent Niki to primary school, and went to all the PTA meetings, bought her everything
she needed, took her on excursions, tried to be there for her.
I sent her to High School, served on the PTA executive, made sure she did well.
When Niki was sixteen she moved to an Aunt's house which was closer to her High School. The day she moved out, I tossed Al out.
I had no reason to continue this play relationship with him.
I kept on amicable terms, because I was not emotionally invested in him, and had not been for at least ten years.
I only saw Niki if I visited that Aunt. Or went up to school. She made no contact with me.
When she graduated she decided to go overseas.
She called her Daddy every week. She didn't call me. She sent money to him which he used on his girl friends.
I kept contact with Al because, to be brutally honest, I found him amusing.
I was doing well, making more money which he did not share in. He was surviving on the money Niki sent him. She was his burden now.
He fooled around with women of the lowest level, who took every cent he had.
What amused me the most, is that he claimed to be married to me and living
with me and cheating on me, to 'sweeten' the pot.
As soon as his girl friend(s) learned I dumped him years ago, they dumped him.
When I saw Al I would be polite and distant. He would tell me where Niki was, what she was doing, and what she intended to do.
Niki never called me.
Book Me In
Niki sent for her Daddy, so she could bring him to her city and support him. He went up on his permanent all expense paid vacation.
He did whatever he does and then moved to another city. She sent him money.
Al called me often.
One day he told me that Niki was paying his way down to stay at a Hotel. I asked Al to have Niki book me a room as well.
Al called a few days later and said I'd have to share his room. I didn't want to, but as it was an all inclusive Niki would still have to pay for my stay.
To please Daddy, she had to do what Daddy wanted and Daddy wanted me at the hotel. So Niki would pay for it!
A week of
I took a luxury bus to the Hotel. I entered first. The room was wonderful. I went to the sea, and returned, and Niki and her father had arrived.
I acted happy and appreciative, as if I didn't know Al had forced Niki into paying for my stay and she resented it, but couldn't displease her Daddy.
Not unexpected, Al, snuck away to find females, so that I had the room to myself.
I played so nice, but It annoyed Niki. She hated me as her guilt consumed her. She couldn't deal with truth.
She couldn't admit that her fathernever cared much about her, and it was only because she could support him that he made time for her.
She knew I knew it, but why say it?
So we spent a few days smiling and avoiding speech at a lovely all inclusive.
That was two years ago.
I had learned from Al that for the past eight years, Niki had gone to the North Coast.
The only reason I was included two years ago was because Al had demanded it.
Niki did not come last year, hence Al did not arrive. There was some excuse she offered.
This year, Al wanted to come. He convinced Niki that there was a way she could save money by having me make the local 'arrangements'.
This is not rocket science.
In truth, Niki ought have had me do the arrangements from the first time she thought to travel. Of course, she would have had to tell me she would travel.
So now, it's all on the front page. I am supposed to make the arrangements.
I knew Niki was not coming.
She would never come again.
Even if Al demanded, she would not.
The guilt of how she had treated me was too great.
I knew it. I think she realised it, and to avoid that denouement, avoid the dramas, she wouldn't come agaon.