Asia’s New Daddy

“Is it going to hurt?”

“Sometimes it does, mainly emotional stuff like a little death.”

Carlson Parker was deep in her cocoa skin and staring down into her tawny yellow eyes. She was calm, impossibly calm. He was sweating and trying to keep hard. It felt like he was rubbing his tummy and patting his head. Her eyes seem to change for a moment.

“I want you remember the last time you saw your father.”

Mr. Parker was a big man and Asia could see the resemblance between the two. His square face, his stocky build, he even had Carlson’s deep bass. She could feel the weight on Carlson’s shoulder as Mr. Parker waited for his knee’s to get back into working order. Then the hand dug in and Carlson realized that his father was having a heart attack. In the middle of a park, half a mile from anyone and three years before he had his first cellphone, Carlson panicked and started to give his father CPR as Baywatch told him to. Useless.

He pulled out of her and collapsed on the bed. For a time, he couldn’t talk. He didn’t seem to have words. Slowly, they came back to his mind like vision refocusing. It wasn’t there. It really had gone from him. He knew that his father was dead, but the particulars had left him. He spoke.

“Will it ever return?”

“It works sort of like a scab. If you pick at it, it might just start bleeding again.”

“How can I ever repay you?”

“Just the two you owe me hon.”

Carlson groped for his pants. In the back pocket, he found his fold and left two franklins on the night stand. Without word, he dressed and left. Asia was motionless getting acquainted with her new father, she four dead dads but her first was alive and living in the South.

Her first father was about to get another baffling phone call in which his daughter would demand his medical history from the last time they had spoken up until the present. He would oblige. He kept the whole spiel on index cards strapped together by rubber bands between a similar stack for his wife and his other daughter Clara’s. They were all next to the phone and to be recited in the order of Mother, Father, Clara.

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