It’s hard to be a single parent; you’re always stuck in responsibilities; you’re the only one who’s going to get food on the table, and you’re the only one who has to raise a child. Day in day out is a struggle, and the only thing that keeps you motivated is the well-being of your child. The pressure is high, and you can’t afford to take off the covers you reside in, because if you do, you don’t know what will come out. Inside, you’re broken because you’ve lost the way of your life, nothing makes sense, but you can’t show that to your child; your child wants to get to know you better; actually, she isn’t capable of knowing how hard it is for you, no one is capable of that. The regret, however, of not being known by the person you love so much is too great, and you start peeling the covers, layer after layer; and to your amazement, they embrace just as it is.
This story is about a father and his daughter, lost in the field of translation, waiting to be found by each other.
The streets were all cramped up as Mr. Cruz, the owner of one of the largest tobacco companies in the United States, drove with his father, Mr. Phillip, an elderly businessman who had seen much simpler days, towards Ritz Advertisement Co. Their company’s situation was being significantly damaged by news of health risks associated with tobacco emerging left, right and center. The marketing campaign they were running prior to this news took testimonials from health professionals all over the country who smiled at the camera, took a puff and said “No one dies from smoking!” what the cameras didn’t show was their fat wallets stuffed in their back pockets. However, times had changed since research correlating these health risks directly with tobacco emerged. They needed a new campaign. A new idea, Their advertisement agency, Ritz Advertisement Co. has the best creative director in Manhattan, so he must have something good.
“Is Mr. Parker in his office?” asks Cruz looking flustered like never before. “Yes, go right in.” says Joan, Mr. Parker’s secretary, her standard lines never change “Mr. Parker, Mr. Cruz would like to see you,” says Joan in the intercom. “Send him in,” answers Mr. Parker.
Parker hadn’t had the best of nights himself, his daughter Laura was suffering from gastritis the entire week, and as a single father, it’s tough to come back home from a tough day at work to a sick child. But well life had given him plenty of lemons, that’s no excuse not to be prepared for your clients.
“Help yourself to a drink” pointing towards the bar at the side table, “Now sir, we need to realize that the situation your company is in isn’t localized to only your company. Every tobacco firm is in danger due to these laws, and all we have to do is show how our tobacco people should still smoke. No sucker is going to leave this social circle because of what some nerds in an R&D have to say.”
“Well what do you suggest,” asks Cruz with a slight smirk on his phase, Parker’s initial premise had definitely calmed some nerves.
“Tell me how is your tobacco made?”
“Umm, I don’t know. We have some processes on the plant.”
“You should be ashamed of yourself!” yelled Mr. Phillip, “this has been our business for decades, and you don’t even know how it’s made.” Before Mr. Phillip could dwell in the minute details of their tobacco farming Mr. Parker cut them off. “The point is, we need to make this cigarette theirs. That is to say; it should be owned by whoever smokes it. They need to identify by it. Let’s say ‘it’s toasted.'”
Silence filled the room; the businessmen had seen something spectacular. Mr. Phillip smirked heavily. “‘It’s toasted,’ I like that” Cruz nods in approval.
Another client satisfied. Mr. Parker has five more meetings like this scheduled during the day. His creative talents were being monetized, and well he couldn’t care less how the health of an individual was affected by his marketing intelligence. All he cared about was moving forward, leeching all the thrills that he could from this corporate lifestyle and then investing sensibly so that he could enjoy time with his 12-year-old daughter.
At 7 like every day Mr. Parker took a train from the grand central to his house. He didn’t have an apartment in the city because that would be too expensive. Another smart investment.
“Ay, my little girl, come over here.”
“Dad, I’m sick I can’t walk, you come over here.”
“Carla, thank you for looking after this brat.”
Carla was the helper Mr. Parker had hired to look after Laura on an almost daily basis. “No problem Mr. Parker, can I fix you dinner?”
“Yes a ham sandwich would be amazing, thank you again.”
“Dad, I’ve been so sick all day, I don’t want to be a strong little girl, I prayed to God today, and I’ve been waiting to be cured all day. What else am I supposed to do? I’m taking all these stupid medicines, and I’m eating sick people food, but it still hurts so much!”
“Did she finish her food?”
“Well, sir she did take a few bites.”
Laura sits facing the wall, embarrassed, flustered and in unbearable pain. Gastritis started on the weekend, and now it’s Thursday, she missed four complete days of school, and it looks like it’s going to be the whole week at home. There’s so much going through her head; she has to get well so that she doesn’t get left behind in class and she misses her friends so much. None of them came to wish her a speedy recovery, and that had started making her question her friendships, but she would never say that out loud. She missed her mother too, she had never seen her cause she had died while giving birth to her, but Laura would always sneak into her dad’s closet and take out the album of their pictures. Her mother looked like an angel, and what made her wish she was alive even more was how much she made her dad happy. Laura had never seen her father smile like that in her life. All she could wish for was that she could be some kind of happiness in her dad’s life, but at the moment she was sick, so all she could do was puke and make her dad clean that up.
“Daddy, I’m so sleepy, can you give me my medicine early?”
“Have this lemonade and dinner first; you aren’t getting such heavy anti-biotic on an empty stomach, Laura.”
“Okay…” Laura took a sip from the lemonade “Dad I’m going to puke this is so bad… blekh…”
“Drink it up sweetie pie,” says Parker with a smile on his face, the only way to get through this time was not to be flustered, and he knew it.