Today, we’re reading “Another Man” by Teresa Burns Gunther.
A moth, wings wide, rests in the globe of the ceiling light. A quitter. Rachel, on her back in her closet, resolves to clean it. The crisp sleeves of blouses and jackets point down at her from their hangers. Normally cleaning gives her satisfaction, but today she’s stalled out. Her father is coming.
Last month was a bitingly funny escapade with the neighbor’s rabbit. This month gets serious, but no less biting.
When her doorbell buzzes she jumps. Stella leaps from her bed, barking as she races to the door. “Good girl!” Rachel smooths Stella’s fur standing stiff along her spine. Through the fisheye Rachel is surprised to see an old man, bald. It takes her a moment to recognize her father.
It does not get more comfortable when he comes in, or when they walk to the local coffee shop to get reacquainted. That’s why he’s come after all, to spend time with his daughter. Rachel’s not buying it.
“Do you need money, Peter?” He wants to be called Dad, but she told him years before that “Dad” was a nickname reserved for men who parent.
We begin to see why Rachel is the gruff no-nonsense woman she is. We begin to see that there are some unresolved daddy issues she’s going to have to resolve or at least overcome. In the end, we see a glimmer of humanity that leaves us wincing, smiling, and wanting all in the same instant. It’s quite an ending to a very tense and moving chapter. The writer in me is drooling all over that final line.