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SHE’S TOO old for her Dad now. Both daughters are. They think I’m about 97. I’m much younger than that. I just don’t keep up with today’s music. Some people say I’m lost in the ‘90s. But I just worry about Cara. At 14, she shouldn’t spend so much time in her room. She should be out with her friends. I worry about her getting depressed. She’s always on that damned phone and she barely talks to me.
I always played with both my girls when they were at Primary school. They loved their woodland animal figures that drove an ambulance or a bus. Then they progressed onto adult games. I’d get into trouble for talking ‘in class’ whilst the white board was filled with spellings. Then we’d bake a cake with building bricks or play “shops.”
We sometimes fell out. We always did. “I’m not your friend. I’m your Dad.”
She’d pout and reply, “I don’t like you.”
I’d return, “Good! I’m not paid to be liked.” It was similar to now. She isn’t talking to me now.
I wish she’d read or draw or create. But Cara just texts boys on her phone or scolds her school friends. I can’t understand how she has so much to say when she’s seen them at school all day. She’s not interested in taking up a new hobby or reading a book.
Cara files out of her bedroom with her arms full. She gets a second lot of make up. “This palette is limited edition. You put it on with this brush. No! That brush is just for show. Smell this! It smells like cocoa.” I smile and nod. I nod and smile. I know I’m not really following the application tutorial. I’m thinking about when Cara wanted her Dad as a child before she was “growing up.” Now, I relish any time she finds for me. Even if it means falling behind with make-up.
“I just want you to be safe on-line,” I say. “You never know who you’re talking with. And if he asks you for any rude pictures —”
Cara cuts in, “I know, Dad.” I smile. My Baby is a young woman.
“So, are you talking to your Dad now?”
She laughs and shows me her dhobi brushes again.