The Boyfriend


I don't know if you've ever seen an old sci-fi TV program in which they feed the computer information that makes its brain spin around and around in circles until it can’t help but mutter “Does not compute! Does not compute!” over and over again until smoke comes out of its head and it ceases to function. That's what it felt like meeting my daughter’s boyfriend for the first time.


He was a nice kid who was polite and made a big show of eating every bite of food I prepared even though I know the pasta was overcooked and didn't taste quite as good as I thought it would. He's a piano player, so as soon as he showed up he started playing gospel tunes. I think it was his way of trying to communicate with me. He's a Japanese citizen and so is my daughter. We've never listened to gospel music in the house, so I don't know why he would think that this would resonate with me. He wasn't wrong though.


I have long memories of sitting in church on Sunday with my grandmother as the gospel choir sang a hymn. When Desire and I went to America together I took her to my grandmother's church so that she could feel the power of the congregation as the good Reverend Reed gave his fiery sermon. That moment had less to do with religion, because we have no religion, and more to do with culture. The church plays a large role in African American culture, so it was important for me to share that experience with my daughter. Maybe that's why the boyfriend played all the gospel hits.


Of course, I think he does have a natural interest in gospel, soul, and funk music. As I posted in some previous log, I hate being like anyone else. I don't want to wear the same clothes as anyone else, speak the same way, or be easily categorized. I most certainly don't like being stereotyped, but the kid wasn't wrong, so I gave him bonus points for playing his gospel tunes.


It's a strange feeling having to accept the fact that my daughter has reached adulthood. I have gotten in the habit of looking after her very closely for 21 years. I can’t just switch it off. It doesn't matter how much time passes or how old we all get. She's still going to be my little girl and I'm still going to be her daddy. That’s why the idea of some dude touching her is very VERY unsettling to me. As I explained to my friend Diana today, on the surface, I was kind and smiling while inside I had the urge to punch him in the face for no reason at all. Of course I am not an animal and I understand that there's a difference between emotion, impulse, and action. I never punched him in the face and only ever said a kind word. Still, I could feel the crackling of my brain spinning around as it tried to compute this new equation. The photo is of my son and daughter when they were roughly 10 and 7. That is how they still feel to me in my mind.


Yesterday, I suppose I was learning to let go. It's time for my little bird to fly and be free to make her own choices and, heaven forbid, face the consequences of her own mistakes. I'm not saying that the boyfriend is a mistake. Only time will tell. But the look of joy in her eye at seeing me accept this guy was enough to quiet the nagging urge to give him a black eye. I feel like I've grown a little. I am grateful for that opportunity.


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