Here’s a short story about a man who used his confused little daughter to try to get information on his ex-wife.
Information that he has no right to, but has been given freely nonetheless:
‘I resent you asking and under the circumstances you don’t have the right. But I actually feel like giving you an answer: Jack is a friend, he does not show any special or romantic interest in me whatsoever. We don’t hold hands, we don’t hug hello, we don’t even slap each other on the back. Don’t ever ask about my friends again.’
I couldn’t have been clearer.
We went ice skating with Jack and his son Joey and we all had a nice afternoon. Lilly’s dad ‘let us have the evening’to ourselves because he wanted to catch up with Roger anyway.
The next day he came to pick Lilly up for her sleep over. She was on her stomach on the living room floor surrounded by colouring pencils and several pictures of her and Joey falling about on the ice. They were comical and quite well drawn. Her Dad pretended not to notice, although her artwork is her sole source of pride. I pointed at the drawings, brought up her falling over skating and he changed the subject.
After her sleep-over, the next evening Lilly was in the bath and she asked me; ‘Are you and Joey’s dad reealy good friends?’
I said, ‘I wouldn’t say really good friends; not bestie hugging friends like I am with Marlene or AG or Charles’ mum. We’re just ordinary friends having play dates sometimes.’
She went quiet. Which is not like my girl at bath time, so I asked her. ‘Did daddy want to know? Did he ask you? ‘
She went even quieter and looked down at her fingers under the water.
I lowered my head to try to see her eyes, ‘It's ok if he did sweetie, you can tell me; did daddy ask you about Joey’s dad?’
I had to ask a third time before she mumbled softly ‘I don’t really remember’.
She was obviously uncomfortable and a bit distressed to I told her that was ok, made a joke and got her out of the bath. Wrapped up tight in her red towel she sat in my lap and snuggled into me furiously – her relief was palpable.
I could happily have killed him at that night.