Tissues on the Train

Posted by: , May 16, 2010 in 10:10 am


outnumbered38 Tissues on the TrainSomewhere but not here…

Out-Numbered – I think this is your room.

Daughter – 238 right?

Out-Numbered – That’s what the paper says.

Daughter – Where’s the key?

Out-Numbered – I thought you took it.

Daughter – No Dad, you were supposed to take it.

Out-Numbered – I’ll call your Mother. Maybe she has it.

Daughter – Dad! I can’t believe you.

Out-Numbered – I’m just kidding baby. I have it right here.

Daughter – Dad. You’re so annoying.

Out-Numbered – Here. Open the door already. This duffel bag weighs a ton.

Daughter – One minute.

Out-Numbered – Jeez. How many hair dryers do you have in here?

Daughter – Stop it.

She opens the door. The room is empty except for two single beds on either side, a small three draw dresser at the foot of each bed and a large open closet that goes from floor to ceiling. It smells like 1988. I see my daughter’s face and she seems a bit tentative.

Out-Numbered – What?

Daughter – Nothing.

Out-Numbered – What’s wrong?

Daughter – Nothing.

Out-Numbered – I know that look. It means you’re thinking one of two things.

Daughter – Oh yea? What would those be?

Out-Numbered – You’re either thinking, “how the hell am I gonna fit all of my clothes in that tiny dresser… OR… “Where is the bathroom?”

Silence. I see her eyes well up with tears. She tries to look away.

Out-Numbered – Baby, what’s the matter?

She starts to cry. I put my arms around her.

Out-Numbered – It’s OK pal. It’s OK.

Daughter – I don’t think I want to be here.

Out-Numbered – Don’t be silly baby. You’ve been looking forward to this forever. Why the sudden change of heart?

Daughter – I don’t know. The room is so small. There’s no bathroom in here. I don’t know where I’m gonna put all my clothes.

Out-Numbered – HA! I knew it.

Daughter – Dad, stop it. I’m serious.

We both sit down on the bed on the right side of the room.

Out-Numbered – It’s not that bad sweetheart. Look at the bright side.

Daughter – What?

Out-Numbered – You just got to pick which bed you want.

Daughter – Great. Like it makes a difference.

Out-Numbered – I’m teasing. You still can’t take a joke.

Daughter – I’m serious.

Out-Numbered – Can I tell you something?

Daughter – Not if you’re going to be stupid.

Out-Numbered – Give me some credit over here.

Daughter – Fine.

Out-Numbered – I know you think I’m like 1,000 years old and I embarrass you in front of your friends but it wasn’t that long ago that my parents dropped me off at college.

Daughter – That was like 50 years ago.

Out-Numbered – 32. It was 32 years ago, smart ass.

Daughter – I’m just kidding Dad. You still can’t take a joke.

Out-Numbered – Good one.

I hand her a tissue from my front pocket. I had been saving it for myself.

Out-Numbered – What I was going to say is… I know it’s not really the size of the room or the bathroom. It’s OK to feel scared. You’re starting over. You’re away from home for the first time. I felt the same way and I remember it didn’t hit me until I walked into my dorm room. It wasn’t real until my parents walked out the door.

Daughter – It’s different for a girl.

Out-Numbered – Maybe a little bit but trust me when I say, I know what you’re feeling. Do you remember when you were just a little girl? I used to say to you, “You don’t have to tell me everything but you can tell me anything.”

Daughter – Yes. You would tell me that like every day.

Out-Numbered – Well I’m gonna tell you something right now. I didn’t want to say it because I didn’t want to start crying like a baby, in front of my baby.

Daughter – Please don’t start crying.

Out-Numbered – I’ll try my hardest. I promise. I’m scared too.

Daughter – What do you mean?

Out-Numbered – I’m terrified.

Daughter – Why?

Out-Numbered – I’m terrified because I don’t want to walk out that door and leave you here. I’m terrified because I haven’t been without you for more than a week at a time. I’m terrified because I know you’re terrified that I’m terrified.

Daughter – Dad that was like five terrifieds. I think it’s a world’s record.

Out-Numbered – Hey, now I’m trying to be serious here.

Daughter – Sorry.

Out-Numbered – All I’m trying to say is that it’s normal to feel scared about this. You’re doing something for the first time. You’re not a little kid any more and that’s just crazy to me. I’m so proud of you for choosing this school. I’m just blown away by the woman you’ve become and I know that you’ll do more than just fine because you’re so much better than me at this stuff and if I was able to do it 50 years ago, than you my dear, are going rock this thing.

Daughter – I guess so.

Out-Numbered – This isn’t a guessing game baby. I know so.

Daughter – Thanks Dad.

Out-Numbered – I love you baby. You’re gonna love college. Best time of your life. Soak it up. Embrace the day. Carpe Diem!

Daughter – What the hell does that mean?

Out-Numbered – Carpe Diem means Seize the day. Robin Williams made it up.

Daughter – Who is she?

Out-Numbered – She? C’mon. Mork from Ork?

Silence.

Out-Numbered – Forget it.

Daughter – Where’s Mom?

Out-Numbered – Who knows? She went to the school store to get your sister a sweatshirt or something.

Daughter – I feel bad for her.

Out-Numbered – Your sister? Why is that?

Daughter – Because she has to deal with you all by herself now.

Out-Numbered – You know you’ll miss me.

Daughter – Maybe a little.

Out-Numbered – You know what else you’re gonna miss?

Daughter – Your bald head and your lame jokes?

Out-Numbered – No, dummy.

Daughter – What?

Out-Numbered – T-H-E ……. TICKLE MONSTER!!!!!!

I tickle her like I did when she was a kid. She still has the same laugh. I close my eyes and pretend we’re on the den floor. She’s 8 years old again.

Daughter – DAAAAADDDDDD!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! STOP!!!! STOP IT!!!!

Sometimes when I’m tired at the end of the day, I daydream on the train ride home.

My baby girl is turning 8 this summer. I want to freeze her and make the time stop. I want to keep her just like she is now.

Perfect.

Innocent.

Naive to the atrocities of the world that exist outside of our suburban bubble.

She’s gonna leave one day and I can’t stop her. I have to live in the moment. In the second.

Cryogenics is not the most practical of solutions.

Sometimes the daydreams are vivid, like a Neil Simon play yet to be written. I always cry at Neil Simon plays.

Why do I always have tissues in my daydreams but never when I’m on the train?

outnumbered


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