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My Daddy Used to Say

Anthony J. Langford | Michael Ilkiw

I gotta be quick as my girlfriend’s just gone out and she doesn’t think I’m the writing type and I’m not I guess, but as my daddy used to say… son, be true to who you are. Ha ha. I always wanted to say, my daddy used to say… it sounds like from a movie or song, but of course, my dad never said shit. The whole time I knew him. Up until I was fifteen and two-thirds. I wasn’t given any of that guidance crap. He was an asshole.

Okay, so he never hit me, only that one time when I was eleven when he lost it after a fight with mom and pushed me against the door as he stormed out. He was so withdrawn and hardly ever showed emotion so, you know, I suppose you could call it a form of abuse. I don’t want to dishonor his memory, whatever the hell that means. I wouldn’t say this to anyone and no one will ever read this except me, but he never really talked to me, like you’d expect a dad to do. Like a boy needs.

So yeah, I did join him on some of his walks and he gave me a few tips about the dangers of nature and stuff of that nature, (yep, I’m not the writing type ha ha), but mom never understood that it wasn’t enough for me. She thought, still thinks, that I was too harsh on dad, unfair when he can’t defend himself. She’s still protecting him over me, even though he’s dead. Apparently I’m being selfish. She doesn’t understand me. I’m not attacking him anyway. I’m just telling it how it is. Was.

Anyway, I don’t get along all that great with her but my brother does. He’s five years younger and doesn’t have the same issues as me. And he’s a mommy’s boy. Okay it’s closer to four but I was a teenager and he wasn’t. It makes a difference. I mean, I don’t blame my drinking on my dad. I like to drink. It makes me happy, not sad or angry not like some people who can’t handle their booze. I’m not hurting anyone, so what does it matter?

My girlfriend thinks it matters, but it doesn’t. Obviously tonight she had to drive to the supermarket for the toothpaste instead of me, even though we could have gone without for one night. Usually my drinking is not a problem, except when she decides to make it one. Why does she have to do that? Why do women do that? She busts my chops a lot. I work. I earn money. I don’t hit her or swear at her. I only swore at her when I used to defend myself, like a man should, but now I don’t bother. It’s over more quickly if I just let her carry on a bit. Okay, more like a lot. She’s like one of those old dolls where you pull the string and it cries. <i>Waaah waaah waaah.</i> She’s actually worse now, on account of me being a father soon. Yeah I know. I shouldn’t let her go out at night being pregnant and all. Thirty one weeks. Not sure how many months that is. Of course I didn’t want her to go but she’s so stubborn! She was trying to making a point. Like if something happened to her, it’d be all my fault. As I said, women, I don’t get them.

Besides, it’s not going to stop me from drinking. I can be a good dad. And I know I will be. My dad’s drinking wasn’t a problem. It was to mom though. She would carry on about it to him but not to me. I had other things to deal with, later I guess, not so much at the time. These things tend to develop as you get older. When you grow up you realize stuff that you just didn’t notice as a kid. I feel like I didn’t really know who he was. Just this quiet man who liked to work, walk and drink. I suppose he was a decent guy but who really knows what he was thinking?

Okay, I’ve had my rant. Maybe I’ll throw this out eventually, like the last one. Better go before the wifey comes back. Wife to be. The ball and chain. Ha ha. Don’t get me wrong. I love her and all, but part of me doesn’t want to let her get too close, you know? I’ll give her what she wants but this is my life too. I gotta save something for me. Why should you give up everything for another person? There’s a part of you that no one should touch. No one can know what’s in your head anyway, and that’s fine with me.

To be honest, I’m really not that great at expressing myself. I might write it, but if you ask me, talking is overrated. Words don’t always cut it. So I keep them to myself. That’s just the way I am.

About Anthony J. Langford

Anthony J. Langford lives in Sydney, writes novels, stories, poetry and creates video poems. He is a 2014 Pushcart Prize Nominee. Some of his recent publications include Vayavya, The Literary Yard, Linnet's Wings & The Blue Magazine. He works in television and has made short films, some screening internationally. A novella, Bottomless River (2012) and a poetry collection, Caged without Walls (2013) are out through Ginninderra Press. Find Anthony J. Langford on his website.

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