Today’s prompt comes to us from Juan Martinez. It asks you to think about a small habit you picked up from one of your parents, and then to write a piece that explores an early memory of your parent engaged in that habit, before shifting into writing about yourself engaging in the same habit.
I spoke to my husband and my girls and realized I have quite a few habits that I’d picked from my dad. Decided to share the least dangerous one here.
Papa, are you listening?
“Papa did you hear a word I said?” I ask, my brows shooting up
and he looks up from what he’s reading,
his eyes twinkling, his lips curved upward in a smile,
and I get my answer.
“Papa you weren’t listening,” I say, bringing him to brook.
“Says who?” he responds, “You were saying-“
I know how it works- he repeats a few words
and then goes back to his reading
“Papa, please focus,” I plead. “I’m talking to you.”
“Go on, I’m listening. Did I not tell you what you said?“
I start talking watching him closely.
He listens for thirty seconds, not more
and I lose him again
“Seriously, can you listen to what I’m saying?” I hear my daughter say
“I am! Tell me,” I answer, looking her in the eye
My mind’s on alert and my ears wide open
I’m listening, I’m listening and then I’m not
my mind’s far away and I’ve missed a line or two
“You’re not listening Mamma,” she says, her hands folded across her chest
“Ask me and I’ll tell you all that you said,” I say defiantly
“Fine! Tell me,” she says throwing me the bait.
With confidence galore
I spill the words that I’ve heard-
a line here, a line there, I’ve got the gist more or less.
“Well. I told you I was listening,” I say with a victorious smile
Now what do you have to say?”
“You’ve got selective hearing, Mamma.
Just like Nana*!” she replies and walks off in a huff.
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