I just finished watching one of the most recent episodes of In Plain Sight. It really REALLY hit me pretty hard. Which is funny, because this show isn’t typically heart tugging. I usually like it for its easy to watch story lines and one liners. But the relationship between the main character, Mary, and her estranged (but newly returned) father has been really taking me down flashback trail.
Her father was a small time criminal, dead beat dad who came around when he felt like it, compulsive liar and the core of much of her neurosis. He comes back into her life just as he is dying. Her anger is so strong, but her memories come flooding back. When he is carried off by paramedics, she runs to him like a little girl with love in her eyes because there is something about us little girls…we can be so powerless when it comes to our dads.
The following is a soliloquy from the end of that particular episode and it had me sobbing. These narrations by Mary have always been the best part of the show. Really good writing with a lot of depth and not typical for this kind of program. Anyway…
Everything’s mythical when your 7 years old: fathers, mothers, Santa, God, the alleged protective powers of a golden medallion.
It’s not that certain things seem larger than life. It’s just life seems larger.
But the world keeps spinning and in a thousand tiny surrenders or sometimes in one fell swoop, what you’ve seen is truly mythical, you learn is merely myth.
The good news, if you can call it that, is that ultimately you find other myths to believe in. And other men as well. You see the myth for what it is – close up and in it’s bones. Smaller and greater and more like you than you’d care to admit.
It, nevertheless, leaves you always – every single time – sitting foolishly on the door step…awaiting it’s return.
Everything in that quote rings so true to me and I had an immediate reaction to it. My dad would tell us he was picking us up at 5:00 on a Friday evening. And I can remember the feeling of the sweat on my hairline as I sat there for hours in my winter coat, waiting, staring out the front window. I would watch that intersection near my house and everytime I would see oncoming headlights, my heart would start to speed up with hope and I would cross my fingers and repeat, “Please, please, please.” My way of praying I suppose. Pleading with the Gods for a present father – even if a few hours late.
Sometimes he showed up. Other times he’d call and tell my mom he couldn’t make it. A few times, no call at all. But each time I still waited and hoped and forgave him the minute he walked through that wooden door with my breath marks still on the window. I stood up for him when someone would speak ill of him in his absense. He was still my dad and I loved him more than the world.
But then one time, he was gone too long. It was long enough and during an important enough time in my childhood that it soured me. I was pissed from then on…until he came back, got sick and died at age 46. But I have already talked about much of this before. I just found the familiarity kinda nostalgically gut wrenching.
Here are some past posts about my dad…