"We went out past the trees on Ridge Road, I think it was almost to Buffalo!" I said, full of the excitement I'd experienced on a Sunday drive with my family. The other kids at the lunch table were half-listening. They were, after all, more interested in their baloney sandwiches.
"My Dad," I continued... only to be interrupted by the one girl who could never abide my stories.
"Which one?" she snorted, sending the question sailing through the small lunchroom so that everyone in it was now looking our way. "You have so many!"
It was a crushing question and it silenced me. I had no comeback. I didn't have 'so many'. I had two. One that I lived with and called Dad though he was my mother's second husband. And, one that I barely knew that I called Dad because... well, he was my Dad.
The crushing blow of that question twisted in my heart like barbwire. Back in the early sixties, the concept of a step-Dad and a 'real' Dad was still foreign to a lot of folks. In my intimate circle of friends, it was unheard of. It meant I stood out from the crowd, and not in a good way. The other girl sat there, staring at me, snickering.
I don't believe I ever finished that story. In the retelling, I will admit that I probably only imagined the entire lunchroom turning to stare at me. But, perception is reality, isn't it?