The Last Christmas My Daughter Won’t Know About Sex
She says she doesn’t want a boyfriend “because you have to pay him too much.”
(She didn’t hear that from me.) I hear her from upstairs, from the basement,
pursuing the perfect round—off, pound the floor, stick it. Ta—da! Chin high,
flattest chest extended, arms embracing applause from Olympic viewers
yet unborn. She doesn’t know that once you sleep with him, you fall for him
harder, even if you shouldn’t. She doesn’t know she will be miserable
for at least a year after each person she loves so much dies. Santa’s still invited
with cookies and notes, but eyed suspiciously by friends with older brothers.
She asks, about my dad, whom she called Gaboom, “If you’re dead, can you think?
Can you dream? Can you move your arms? Can you open your Christmas presents?”
She hasn’t thought twice why tomorrow and sorrow might rhyme. She doesn’t get
why we change the story to “No more junkies jumping on the bed!” for laughs,
or why we giggled at the ghastly billboard in Delaware, “Hooters — Tuesdays!
Kids Eat Free!” She says, “You basically feel like you’re reading a book
in your dream” and, bless her, “If I didn’t have a crazy mom I would die.”
And I think, damn, she could tame alligators, but not boys, with those eyes.