My daddy is a tall man, lanky and dark like a Greek god a few thousand years too late. Six foot five, really, but he tells everyone six foot four so as not to sound pompous. Five is just too many inches. When I was fifteen, he was forty-six, but everyone swore he didn’t look a day over forty. His hair is dark and tight and cut close to his head, and his beard, always shaved, is thick and grizzly and scratches against me when he leans in to give goodnight or good-morning or I’m-home kisses.
When Daddy was twenty, long before I came around, when he first met my mommy and lived in a log cabin in the
“I’ve never met anyone else who ate plain yogurt,” he said from over her shoulder, “You must be…?”
“Iranian,” she said, “And Jewish.”
Before he met my mommy, daddy took a black girl to his high school prom in
When I was a little girl, we’d pile into the minivan and drive, straight and long, down through the middle of
Daddy taught me to love the ocean. Mommy tried, but her skin was too sensitive to stay in long or go under or do hand stands and search for lost gold. But Daddy stayed in for hours. He taught me to roll over the waves like they were movements in a song, beautiful and rising beneath me; or an animal easily tamed, a young pony that trots fast and high and then leans, leans back into the earth.
Daddy taught me to take the waves as they came, to measure each one ahead of time and, noting its size, to prepare myself. I would either ride it high above the ocean floor, careening towards him, arms outstretched and smiling, or I would dive into the wave, arms ahead of me, prepared for contact with the dark sandy bottom and then push, up towards the surface.