A decade later, with adoration and admiration poking right through my eyes, I look at my aging father. His face looks like that of a skilfully sculptured young man. The close to perfection facial features and athletic physique belie his 57 years of age. My eyes dart around the room before settling back on my subject of interest. This time, I meet a set of kind eyes across the kitchen counter, I take in the rest of his face, he has a smile that runs all the way from his eyes. I have always wondered how he manages to do that, smile with all his might. I find myself smiling back, his smile is infectious and so is the rest of his energy. I let that energy carry me back to a decade ago.

I am 18 years old and just about ready to murder my dad. “Young lady, listen to me and listen to me very carefully, you are not getting your tongue pierced.” He utters these words and a fire of fury coils around my heart, threatening to engulf me. I desperately need the piercing, but he is not budging. I feel tears dancing against the verge of my lashes, reminding me of lesson number one: “If you want to be taken seriously, never use tears to win an argument.” I sniff them back and glance at his poised frame.

“People can tell a lot from the look in your eyes.” Words he said to a 12-year-old me echo in my head, causing me to avert my gaze as I do not want him to see the murder in mine. He smiles sneakily, telling me that I could never beat the master at his own game. My God, I am going blind with fury. He goes on: “Tell me why you are so desperate for the piercing?”

Taken off guard, I stutter. My dad is deserving of an award for his patience, he never fails to act as though he has all the time in the world. He urges me on: “Tell me why I should allow it.” His confidence me reminds of lesson number three about always standing my ground. As I remember this, I tell him what the piercing symbolizes for me. He beams with pride and has me thinking I have won him over.

I am so wrong. Sounding like a judge, he says to me, “You should be proud of yourself, you know how to make a point without breaking down and definitely know how to stand your ground. You, my darling daughter are a winner, but I am still your father and you are never piercing your tongue.”

Instead of bursting into tears, a grin spreads across my face and I know that I am crazy about this man. He knows how to teach a lesson without hurting, how to let down without destroying. He criticises constructively and toughens me while protecting me. He wants me to believe that I have him wrapped around my finger, yet I often do not get my way with him which has me thinking that he rather has me wrapped around his finger and I would never have it any other way. I love him for there is love in his lessons.


This was one of the commended entries in the My Father essay writing competition. Click here to read other excellent essays from the competition.