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Turning Tides: Shades of GrayTurning Tides: Shades of Gray

Turning Tides: Shades of Gray

They say that a father is the first man in his daughter’s life. And if a father treats a daughter with cold cruelty instead of loving acceptance, it colors the rest of her life with shadowy fear.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

paintingMy father is no overgrown child, whose vices can be explained away as problems. He’s thin and clean-shaven, with a razor-sharp mind and a predilection for deviousness. His hand, when I bend down and kiss it each Leil Shabbos, feels like sandpaper. Although he can walk like a young man, he carries a silver-topped cane, his only inheritance. He’s a person with presence, a person with an iron will, a person who quietly — oh, so quietly — demands that you conform. If you don’t, he’ll work it out, manipulating circumstances and people so that, without your knowledge or intervention, what he wants will happen.

I always thought that he was the most powerful being in existence. Besides G-d, of course.

I got married at 24, and settled blissfully into a rented apartment. We halfheartedly cast around for a place to buy, but it was obvious that we were priced out of the market. We were both earning, true, but our salaries, commensurate with our positions, were at the very bottom of the ladder. This was something that upset Daddy greatly, and he often harangued us: we were throwing away our money on rent, we didn’t realize the importance of being established in a home of one’s own, we were making poor decisions. On and on, until my husband was fed up with it all.

 

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