Daddy's Little Girl

I remember a time when
I was fifteen or sixteen,
my dad came home early -
something that rarely happened
because he was always at work
or with a woman that wasn't my mother.

I remember the look on his face
when he saw me,
saw my clean yellow shirt crumpled
on the floor at his feet,
my teenage bra hanging from the end
of my single bed,
heavy school shoes thrown in any direction,
my chaste white cotton panties
unable to be seen,
while I lay across my unmade bed
still wearing my white school socks,
my shapeless brown checked skirt around my waist,
and a beautiful Samoan boy,
two years older,
at my feet, with his jeans at his ankles
and his shirt lying with mine.

And I cannot forget the look in my father's eyes.

And he turned away while I swore under my breath,
pulling down my skirt
and fumbling with the catch on my bra -
which was more trouble getting on
than it had been getting off -
giving up fastening it
pulling on my shirt instead
although the buttons would not go through the holes.
And I found him in the kitchen
and pretending nothing had happened or been seen
I asked my father how his day had been
and with unseeing eyes looking out the window
my father replied
fine dear, it was fine
and maybe my friend would like to leave
before mum comes home.

Paula Harris

Published in woman, phenomenally
1997
Published in JAAM 15
2001