As daddy hoisted his empty beer can with a stiff-armed salute, mommy darted to the kitchen to fetch his newest brew. Frantically, she popped the top and nervously poured, her hands shaking in time to his kingly command. He beckoned, then grabbed her, rushing his hands up and down her quivering frame.
And as mommy submitted to daddy's drunken passion, both sank to the floor, oblivious to six year old Laurie trembling in the corner. With frozen tears, Laurie sat silently, daring not to breathe until their shadows were spent.
Then, barely upright, daddy croaked in a raspy whisper, "hey honey, get me a can of beer!" Pulled upright like a marionette, Laurie streaked to the fridge, and poured his drink with her smaller, quivering hand.
As a rule, daddy treated Laurie more as a miniature bar maid than a daughter. Sometimes, he would clutch her between sips and tv commercials, and crease her lips with wet, sloppy kisses.
Then, he would drop her in a heap, lifeless until he summoned her. Feeling like Pinocchio, Laurie longed for the day when daddy would discover his daughter, and make her a real girl. And when Laurie's body began to blossom, daddy grew uneasy. Suddenly, his little girl had become a seductress in a tight skirt, or a half-clad woman from a midnight movie. So daddy appointed himself her censoring savior. Horrified and helpless, she shrank as he checked her hemlines and hips with a leering and critical eye.
And after her dates he would rage, sure she had tempted her boyfriends to uncontrollable lust. Yet, Laurie was fearful of any embrace; she had long before learned the horror of touch while cowering at daddy's knee.
Time passed, and Laurie reached adulthood with a deepening emptiness for the father who had never loved her. Quietly pretty, she hid behind haunted eyes that looked within and away, fearful and hungering for love. Men mistook her fear for aloofness, and protective distance for iciness. Laurie felt buried inside herself, unable to emerge.
Worthlessly alone, Laurie would take her despair to drink, and drown in the scent of whiskey and men. There in the music's half light, she could suddenly feel wild, alive, and free. Temporarily liberated from fear, she would rest her head on some new found flesh, and gratefully follow him home.
Then, in the glaring light of morning, Laurie would survey the bruises to her body, and the damage to her heart. Leaving before rousing her stranger, she would clutch her car keys with the remnants of her self respect, and vanish into the morning mist
Years passed, and Laurie withdrew deeper into darkening despair. Then, just when she gave up looking, she found Dan's eyes shining like soft lights in a darkened room. From the moment they met she felt herself trusting his touch.
But Laurie pitched back and forth from ecstasy to terror. Dan graced her with a gentle hand, and calmly surrounded her fears with the constancy of waves lapping against the shore. Yet she dreaded the day her dream would end, and the real Dan would come; a man like daddy who would cut her in the softest place in her heart.
Knowing no man could love her, Laurie readied herself for the day he would toss her away. Becoming sullen and irritable, she braced herself for the tragic end of her only chance at happiness.
And when Dan told her they needed to talk, Laurie steeled herself for the inevitable. But then, she looked and saw her love sobbing, fearing that she would leave. Astonished, Laurie shared his tears, and hugged herself into her future.