Childhood memories of my natural father are scant. But here’s one I’ll never forget.
I remember my dad made me big cheeseburgers that I could never finish and he loved to drink Mountain Dew. He also had a fondness for Native American tribes and used to tell me stories about them. Specifically, I remember him telling me about Geronimo. I can still see him sitting on that kitchen chair dizzily inhaling from his long-stemmed black pipe with a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew and a half-full glass sitting on the kitchen table next to him.
I also remember how I could not cope with my homework, I asked my father for help, but he refused. And then I had to order homework in the paperhelpwriting service. This case with homework, for some reason, I remember very much.
Mom kicked him out for good when I was six. One of my last memories of him is the day he took me and a couple friends swimming.
It was hot that day—a typical Miami summer day. And it was clear with only a few fluffy white clouds in the sky. These are the days I always hated most; they were just too damn hot and I usually sat in the house and watched TV. Mom was at work—she was always at work. I never saw her. But Dad, he was always there when he was there; that is, when he wasn’t kicked out of the house. He looked over at me from the kitchen where he was smoking and drinking Mountain Dew.
I was bored with the TV, nothing good was on. “I’m bored,” I said to him, “there’s nothin’ to do.”
He thought a minute, taking a long draw from his pipe: “How ‘bout we go swimmin’!” he said, smiling wide with a glazed look. Dad was so laid back.
“Yeah!” I said, excitedly.
“OK then. Gimme a few minutes. Go get ready.”
I ran to my room and changed into my bathing suit and got a towel from the closet. There was a knock at the door, it was my friends Mark and Laura; they were brother and sister.
“Me and my dad are going swimming. Wanna go?” I said.
Their eyes lit up. “Yeah!” they said at once.
Dad smiled and nodded his head ethereally. “Sure, that’s alright. Dell get ‘em some towels.”
My dad got changed and we eventually got out the door and he led us up the road to this huge condominium complex with a giant swimming pool. It even had a diving board.
“Here we are,” Dad said.
The condo seemed to house the elderly—at least that’s all I could see in or by the pool. There were a few of them dog-paddling in the pool. The old women with elaborate hairdos stroked from one side of the pool to the other, careful to keep their pink hair dry. Some of them wore swim caps.
There were no kids in the pool or anywhere near the pool for that matter. But we jumped in anyway. Dad brought us here, so it was OK. My dad got in the pool a minute later, just walking down the steps into the shallow end, swaggering and nodding his head silkily.
And my friends and I, well, we were just being kids, splashing and screeching and dunking one other underwater. Dad swam beneath the water, like an eel, toward me and grabbed me by the waist. All in one smooth move he came to the surface lifting me over his head and he tossed me a few feet, growling like a monster. My arms flailed and my legs kicked and I laughed loudly in the air till I splashed down hard into the water. I came up and he did the same to Mark and Laura. Then he threw me again.
Now that I think about it, the old ladies in the pool kept looking over at us with sour faces. But I just figured that’s how they always looked. Finally, one old woman said something aimed at our group: “I just got my hair done,” she whined, “stop all that splashing!”
I was silent. So were Mark and Laura. My dad whispered to us, “Ah, that old hag, don’t worry about her. Just stay away from her.”
Dad got out of the pool a few minutes later: “I’m gonna go lay in the sun and rest. Have fun.” Then he smiled and turned his head the other way.
At first, my friends and I were careful not to splash too much, but after a few minutes we were creating giant tidal waves of chlorinated water with our arms. We jumped from the side of the pool at each other and raced back and forth across the length of the pool with our feet making huge splashes. The old ladies cringed.
The same old hag who bitched at us before dog-paddled a little closer to us and said, “I told you kids not splash, I just got my hair done. You children don’t need to be so rough with each other.”
I wanted to unload a big splash of water right in her face, but I didn’t, of course. She was a bit intimidating. I looked over to where my dad was. He was lying on his back on the deck with his eyes closed.
It was nearing dusk soon after, the sky was darkening and the temperature was more tolerable. We got out of the pool; Dad was sitting up now looking at the sky. His eyes weren’t so fresh anymore, and his voice was a little deeper.
Mark, Laura and I were shivering a little when the cool breeze of early evening hit us. We wrapped the towels around our wet bodies and began walking home, our bodies bundled up to fight the chill. Dad had been dry for a while and he put his arm around me and asked me if I’d had a good time.
“Yeah, that was great,” I said.
I could see a woman walking toward us, she was frantic. Then Mark spoke, “Oh no, it’s our mom!”
As she got closer I could see that she was clearly not happy. She was downright pissed. She threw her hands up and bit her lower lip and her eyes, heavy with mascara, were frightfully bugged open.
She screamed from down the block: “Mark! Ooh, Laura! Where the hell have you been?!”
Mark looked as though he were about to cry, Laura just looked down at the sidewalk and kept walking.
“But Mom . . .” Mark said.
She hustled her large frame and swung those huge hips side to side, making her way right in front of us. She never looked at me or my dad.
Mark cried, “Mom, we were just swimming.” His eyes were getting swollen.
His mom screeched, “You two should’ve been home over an hour ago for dinner, like every night.”
“But we were just swimming, Mom.”
“You’re both grounded!”
They gave my dad the towels and as they started to say good-bye, their mom grabbed them each by the ear and started walking them home. They began wailing and crying.
I stood there and watched my friends being dragged away by their ears and felt sorry for them. I was even a little scared. But I wasn’t in trouble—it was my dad who had brought me. But I still felt bad for them and wondered when I would see them again.
My dad’s jaw was dropped. He was still looking at the beast drag her kids home and he said something I can still hear. He said, “What a bitch!” He appeared shocked a little while, but then resigned himself back to the usual cool mode, nodding his head and smiling.
The Miami sunset was behind us. It was pink in that sky and slowly turning yellow as it stretched around to the sky in front of us. The chill was subsiding a bit, but I kept the towel tightly around me. My dad and I walked slowly back to the apartment. His arm was still around my shoulder.
“What do you want for supper?” he asked.
“Cheeseburger,” I said, without hesitation.
He smiled wide and warm and shook me gently, rubbing my head with his hand: “You got it, buddy.”
Author Notes: "I am a student at the International Academy for the Study of English. In the future I want to become a professional English teacher or translator at the international level. I have already completed 2 higher educations. As a freelancer, I am a writer. I often write articles for the company https://topessaycompanies.com/. I love reading books and learning new things for myself.