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Return of the Stay at Home Dad

A Father Daughter Story

By Abhishek Published 2 months ago 4 min read
Return of the Stay at Home Dad
Photo by lauren lulu taylor on Unsplash

My daughter’s mother, my ex, died.

The funeral was to happen in 48 hours. I scrambled to find the quickest way back to Minnesota from Bali, Indonesia. I told my daughter to do her best with the funeral arrangements until I arrived.

My new wife looked at my horrified face and looked frightened. “Please don’t leave me,” she pleaded.

“Don’t worry,” I reassured her as I packed. “I bought a round-trip ticket.”

I boarded the plane carrying my head like it was stowaway luggage. I had been gone from America for over three years.

I remained positive as much as I could after having another harpoon stuck in my heart.

I knew one day I would return to the States, willful or regretful, but this wasn’t what I imagined. I stared out the airplane window again, trying to make sense of my journey.

I passed through American customs at the Minneapolis airport. Reverse culture shock put my brain in a specimen jar.

The things I learned to live without--the cleanliness of the bathroom caused me to pause and snap a selfie in front of a wash basin with hot water.

The Minnesota mid-March frigid temperatures overwhelmed my skimpy tropical attire.

I waved down a taxi with a cold blue hand and jumped into the back seat.

I told the taxi driver to veer off course and swing through my old neighborhood.

I wanted to glimpse how things changed. When I reached my old home where I raised my daughter, I fell into the 23 years of memories left there.

My daughter moved out of her mom’s house a year ago, and after mom found a new boyfriend put the house up for sale.

“Please pull over here,” I asked the taxi driver. “I’m sorry, what is your name?” I introduced myself.

“My name is Mohammad,” he said in a thick African accent.

“Where are you from?” I asked.

“Somalia, mon. I work to bring my family of six,” he nodded in a friendly way.

“I know how it feels to separate from your home and family,” I replied. I pointed at the house. “I used to live there.”

“Nice house, mon,” Mohammad approved.

I was happy to see my ex improved the property. Visible from the outside, I could see the new remodeling through the window. She had

If time could be as a physical object, the paper of proof was too heavy to hold. An official document that said her mother no longer existed sucked the air from our lungs.

“Dad, Mom got bad with the drinking after you left.” My daughter tried to touch the certificate.

“Her boyfriend drank with her.”

“Forgiveness,” I swallowed a big chunk of sadness. “It’s all there is.”

“What should I do with Mom’s ashes?” She gazed, lost.

“I leave that up to you. Let your soul guide you,” I urged. “There’s no rush so give it some time.”

She groaned.

“We will make new memories,” I said to change the mood. “It will be hard without Mom, but we can do it.”

The days flew by as I did the dad things like making sure her mother’s car worked, legal stuff, and assembling a Walmart grill for one of our special, togetherness dinners.

The moment was in honor of our many backyard picnics. We spent many nights vegetating in peace.

My daughter lamented that I was leaving too soon. It seemed I was always leaving too soon.

I should have stayed longer, and I regretted it. It was my bad for not taking her on a healing tour to the places where her mom and I lived and hung out before she was born.

“Is my cat Boo Boo, okay?” I asked.

“He is happy in his new home, Dad,” she said. “I’m sorry about what happened to the murdered woman in your villa. And, I’m also sorry to hear that 52 died, too. What an awful thing to happen.”

“Experiences, which left a scar,” I admitted.

I visited an area on the Gun Flint Trail where my daughter and I had camped out.

I hiked down to the shoreline of Lake Superior and huffed over my fate. Had things only gone differently for me?

The land of the loon was worthy to call home.

I sat there on the rocks lotus style as I had done at the Bali airport. Staring into the water that washed over the rocks.

I was caught between the pages of a passport.

I could never call this my home again. It was a sacrifice I paid for the blessing of loving people in another place.

As much as I wanted to stay, my new wife


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