father and daughter [and a cat]

Initiating – and maintaining – a conversation with the father is quite a challenge. Whenever the youngest daughter is home, she tries to spend some time with her father. She pretends to be busy with something so I could be in his company as he cooks lunch in the dirty kitchen. She, with her not-so-sociable nature, awkwardly starts a conversation over merienda or as he tinkers with whatever appliance he’d be repairing at the time. She has accepted that there’s conscious effort needed to connect with her father. She knows that she needs to make that effort to connect with him and to maintain that. At some point, there’s dead air.

Then the daughter hears the father constantly asking if the cat has been fed. He makes sure there’s food for this cat who has self-declared that she’s the family pet. The cat’s actually a stray who found a convenient arrangement in the household. Every after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, one can hear her presence outside the kitchen door. She’d be waiting for the father to come out with her meal.

So the daughter observed the father attending to the cat. Slightly irritated, the daughter wonders how come the father would be so willing to spend time and attention to the cat when she, the daughter, had to exert the effort so the father would talk to her. The daughter realizes she has sunk to the level of competing with a cat for the father’s attention. How does a human compare with a feline?

  • Time. The cat’s at home all the time compared with the daughter who comes home about four times a year, and spends at most, two weeks. How can one expect the father to be more comfortable with the daughter?
  • Needs. The cat’s needs are easier to provide compared with a daughter. It makes sense that the father would feel more fulfilled whenever in the company of the cat. The daughter’s needs are more complicated – and expensive. Give the cat food and it’ll be your company. For a daughter, perhaps food will never be enough. There are greater demands.
  • Chat. The cat requires no conversation. The daughter takes the not-so-sociable nature from the father. It’s amusing to watch two not-so-sociable individuals attempt to engage and maintain a conversation.
  • Feedback. Words can cause greater pain than the hiss, scratch, or a bite of the feline. Usually, cats are more affectionate (at least, it’s interpreted as affection) than daughters who carry a lot of issues.

“True enough,” the daughter thought. Still, she cannot help but look at the cat. Sometimes, she wishes she can be that cat for a few moments. Nothing permanent. She happens to hate fish. And the four pair of mammary glands?! No thanks.

She looks at her father and wonders, is the father really more confident (and at ease) with himself in the company of the cat than his daughter? Her father, the same person she feared (in a good way), sought the approval of, and authority she valued most?

Some humor Fate has.

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