“Oh, this is going to suck.”
“What’s going to suck?” Apparently, I’d said that out loud, because the girl assigned to the locker next to me spoke without me addressing her. When I turned to face her, she seemed nice - a shining smile, warm brown eyes and beautiful brown skin coming together to practically beg me to introduce myself. However, much like my father, I never introduced myself first.
But I decided to answer her anyway. “Just…you know, starting high school. My dad got made fun of relentlessly in high school, and so did my mother to an extent, so I’m definitely not looking forward to this.”
“My dad got made fun of a little,” she replied. “When he was a teenager, he was really thin for a while, so he got picked on a lot, but it stopped once he went through a growth spurt. I can’t vouch for anyone else in this school, but I won’t make fun of you, and if you stick with me, and I see anyone making fun of you, I’ll kick their asses. My dad’s taught me some stuff.”
She extended her hand outward and gave my hand a firm shake. “My name’s Sati Alvez.”
“Sati,” I said, “I like that. My name’s Rosalind Reid.”
I was right about walking into my first day of high school. It did suck - for the most part. The only exception was Sati. Through all the teasing, the insane amount of homework and the anxiety of getting into a good college and living up to my parents’ legacy, Sati was there through it all. Thank fuck. Without her, I don’t think I’d make it.
Freshman year consisted of both of us trying to figure shit out, and by the end, we’d gotten closer than either of us had ever imagined. We were both the daughters of single dads. Her mom was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer a few years back, and mine was taken from me when I was just four years old. One day, my dad came up to me and said that someone had been drinking a “bad drink” and then got behind the wheel of a car. He hit my mother head on and she died on impact. Since that day, I’ve felt guilty about my mom’s death; she’d been going out to grab a new teddy bear for me. The next door neighbor and destroyed my “Bearby” after I’d left him on the lawn for a moment to help a turtle up the curb of the sidewalk. Maybe if I’d paid attention, my bear wouldn’t have been destroyed, my mother wouldn’t have gone out that night and she’d still be alive. All of this I confided in Sati.
Despite both losing our moms, we were close with our dads.
“My dad needs to go on a date again. He’s miserable,” Sati said, as she closed the lock on her locker two weeks into the start of our sophomore year.
So did Dad. After Mom died, it took nearly five years for him to date again. I was nine when he went out with another woman. It didn’t last long. Everything about her reminded him of Mom and it was too hard. “Mine too. He’s been single for two long. After his last relationship ended two years ago, he hasn’t dated.”
“My dad had a couple of dates with this one guy a while back. Maybe just before we met, but it didn’t last.”
“Your dad’s bi too?”
All of a sudden I had an idea, and when I looked at Sati, she seemed to have the same one. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” She asked.
“If you’re thinking about trying to set our dads up with each other then yes, I am thinking what you’re thinking. We’d be like…super best friends. Sisters!”
Sati’s devious grin always made me happy. She wasn’t Sati if she wasn’t planning something epic. That’s why I loved her so much. “Okay, so how are we going to do this?”
Every year there was a father/daughter, basically a parent/child for whoever wasn’t close with their dads. That’s how they’d meet.
While they both knew of each other (Sati and I had been friends for over a year after all), they’d never been able to meet. Their jobs never allowed it. “Dad, you’re coming with me to the dance this year, right?” I asked later that night, clasping my hands in front of my face and giving him my best pouty lip. “I really wanna go and I don’t blame you for the night classes last year getting in the way, but I’m excited.”
“I’m in. No classes this year,” he said, his eyes softening. “I can’t wait. I’ve got my best tux ready.”
Score. Sati’s dad, Luke, was already committed to taking her, so they were officially going to meet.
Two weeks later, it was the night of the dance. I was wearing one of my mom’s old dresses. My dad cried. He had a corsage for me. It was a little cheesy, but he was so happy with it that I wore it anyway. Turned out Sati got one from her dad too. “It’s nice to finally meet you,” Luke said, extending his hand toward my dad. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“You too,” Dad replied. “I’m sorry it took us so long to finally meet. Our girls have been attached at the hip for more than a year.”
Although it was a dance for parents and their children, Sati and I did our best to be absent from the room for various reasons so they could get to know each other. “They’re talking,” I whispered.
Sati clapped excitedly. “Can you read lips? What are they saying?”
“I have no fucking clue, but they look happy. They’re both smiling.”
Apparently, they’d both had a good time because a week later Luke approached Sati and my dad approached me asking if we were comfortable if they went on a date. Both of us tried to play it off like this wasn’t the plan all along, but I sensed my dad wasn’t fooled. Whatever. It didn’t matter. He was smiling at the prospect of a date. That’s all I cared about.
“I haven’t been on a date in years,” Dad said. “What do I wear? What do I do? Rosalind, you have to help me.”
“Can I pick out your clothes?! Where are you going?”
“That Italian place on Eighth Street. And yes, please, you know I can’t dress myself if I’m not going to work.” It was true. He looked like a giant man-child when he wasn’t at work. I needed to put together an outfit that reflected his personality while still making a good impression. “When’s the date?”
Clapping excitedly, I ran into his bedroom and opened the closet. “Okay. Here’s what you’re going to wear.” I had a knack for clothes. I was considering going to design school. “Bad science pun t-shirt, navy blue blazer, a pair of dark wash jeans, and your converse. It’s perfect. Put together, yet casual, and still showing Sati’s dad that you are an enormous nerd.”
“Right back at you,” he said, pointing at my shirt.
It was a Star Wars Christmas shirt that said ‘I find your lack of cheer disturbing,’ so he had me there. “Touché.” I could just picture how Sati was reacting to being asked about her dad going on a date with mine.
“No freakin way! Really? Oh my god, dad, that would be more than cool. You deserve to be happy and her dad has to be amazing because Ros is amazing, so…win-win.”
Luke’s dimples perfectly framed his face as he smiled. “Okay, good. He seems like a good guy and I haven’t been on a date in a while.”
“Almost a year and a half dad,” she laughed. “Where are you going? When is the date? What are you wearing?”
“The Italian place on Eighth, tomorrow, and oh shit, I don’t know.” With a panicked look in his eyes, he turned towards his bedroom and Sati followed closely behind.
Opening the closet, she stood there in awe. “Dad, you’re closet is a fucking mess.”
“Do you kiss your father with that mouth?”
“Yes,” she said, smiling as she stood up on her tip toes to place a kiss on his cheek. “Here we go.” Sati walked into the closet, which was a considerable size given he was the only one using it, and searched around for a pair of relaxed yet stylish jeans. “These jeans. Red t-shirt. Black blazer. And…what are your most comfortable shoes?”
“My flip flops.”
“Why not?” He asked.
Sati turned around and smiled. “You may be wearing it but it’s my outfit and you’re not ruining it with those nasty flip flops. Here,” she said, leaning down to the floor to grab a pair of black shoes that were somewhere between casual sneakers and dress shoes, “Wear these. And your watch. My outfit is complete. And you and Rosalind’s dad are gonna have a great time. He’s really shy and sweet. Super smart too. He seems like a nice guy.”
“This feels backward,” he said, glancing between the clothes and his daughter. “I feel like I’m the one who’s supposed to be preparing you for a date.”
“I’m gonna focus on school for a while,” she said. Boys and girls were the furthest things from her mind right now.
“That makes me feel better,” Luke laughed. “Alright, this seems like a good outfit. Thanks, sweetheart.”
Date day came quickly.
“Dad, you ready to go? You’re going to be late. You wanna make a good impression right?” I laughed.
He stumbled out of his room dressed in the outfit I picked out. Good old paranoid dad was smoothing the wrinkles out of shirt; he must’ve asked me 18 times if he looked alright. “Dad, you look great. Luke is going to love you, but you have to make it to the date.”
“What about your homework?”
“I did it.”
“I ordered myself a pizza.” As if on cue, the pizza guy arrived with my food, which was a good thing because I’m positive the next thing out of his mouth was going to be that he didn’t want me answering the door for a grown man when I was home alone. “Thanks so much,” I said, turning around. “All set. Now go.”
As he walked out, I not-so-sneakily peeked out the window to watch him drive away. He smiled at his reflection in the review mirror.
R: Dad just left. He looked exited.
S: Mine left a few minutes ago. I said he was going to be early but he didn’t seem to care. I think he was a little excited too.
R: I think our plan worked perfectly if I do say so myself.
S: It went off without a hitch.