I helped you cook a lot, chopping and cutting and spicing, but I distinctly remember two occasions when we really cooked. Once we made crepes. We mixed the thin batter and poured it in the pan. You showed me how to flip it in the air without using a spatula. I thought it was so cool. Then we made three fillings and you lit peaches and brandy on fire. The whole house smelled like warm peach. We filled the crepes, some sweet some savory, and ate them at the kitchen counter. It was one of the few times it was just us in the house. One of the few times I felt important to you, I felt like your daughter.
On another occasion, we made a rosemary buttered steak. It was the best steak I’ve ever had to this day and I can’t figure out if it was the steak itself or the love that went into it that day. We browned both sides and used too much butter. We put whole, fresh sprigs of rosemary on top and salt and pepper, then more butter! We used a cast iron and let it bake the rest of the way. Then we made some garlic rosemary red potatoes to go with it. We sat at the table and talked about all sorts of things. I wasn’t used to you asking me about my life, being interested in me, really interested. I thought this must be what other daughters feel all the time towards their fathers. Loved.
How sad that your love was always so conditional. You had the potential to be a wonderful father. I wish you could’ve seen that, and realized that fourteen-year-old girl in front of you still thought the world of you-before it was too late.