I stood in front of her door for five minutes before I got the courage to turn the key in the lock and walk in.
My daughter had died just the week before and we were still in shock.
My wife was a wreck, she hadn’t left her bed in days, so the responsibility fell to me to go up to Carol’s apartment and make sure her stuff was OK.
Carol was a vivacious 25 year old, living in Boston, six hours from us, when a drunk driver swerved into her lane that night and ended her life.
It is some comfort to me that I know she died instantly and wasn’t in pain. Some, but not much.
A man doesn’t think about raising his kids to be productive, happy adults only to have to bury them when they are tragically cut down in their prime.
This is a fate much worse than death and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.
I sat down on the couch we bought her at Ikea while she was in school and sobbed.
Everywhere I looked, I was reminded of my little girl.
When she last left this apartment, Carol had fully intended to return to it in a few hours. The evidence of this was all around me: clothes on the floor, an open window. There were some strawberries on the counter that had gone bad, but I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out.
I swallowed hard and walked into her bedroom. Her bed was messy and unmade. I sat down on the edge and put my head in my hands.
Normally, in times of hardship, I looked to God and asked him why good people were meant to suffer, but I wasn’t interested in anything he had to say to me right now.
I felt something hard underneath me. I reached under the covers, expecting to find a hair dryer or curlers or something, but when I pulled it out, I realized I was holding one of her sex toys.
I believe it was a dildo or a vibrator or something. I’m not really sure, because I quickly stuffed it back down where I had found it.
My face was red, I don’t know if I’ve ever been that embarassed in my whole life.
I looked around, feeling guilty. It was silly, really and I laughed in spite of all my sadness.
Carol had a great sense of humor and I think she would have thought it was funny too. We would have both shared an embarassed look and had a good chuckle as we tried to pretend that it hadn’t just happened.
Maybe this was her way of trying to cheer me up? A message from beyond the grave? It reminded me that while, to me, she would always be my little girl, she was actually a fully-grown woman.
I sighed and stood up from the bed. I took a step over towards the window and nearly fell on my ass as I felt my feet fly out from under me.
As I gathered my bearings and looked around, I saw what had tripped me up: another dildo.
I tried my best to laugh it off as I kicked it under the bed with my foot, where it came to a stop as it bumped into yet another dildo.
My wife is a very private woman, even with me, so I haven’t had much experience with this sort of thing, but still, three dildos seemed like a lot.
I looked under the bed and nearly had a heart attack.
There must have been 50 or 60 dildos there. They were all shapes, sizes and colors too. There were little pink ones, shiny chrome ones and a giant black one the size of my arm.
“What the hell did she need all those dildos for, anyway?” I wondered.
I was overcome with a sense of panic when I remembered my primary objective in coming over there that day: my wife had asked me to retrieve Carol’s baby blanket. The one, I was told, she kept in her closet.
I eyed the closed doors with suspicion. Surely, there could be no more dildos in there, right?
With great trepidation, I took a deep breath and slowly pulled the handle.
No dildos! Just shoes and sweaters and blouses. As I reached up for the blanket, which was lying on top of a box marked “CDs”, I breathed a sigh of relief.
Carol was still my little girl, not some sex pervert. Maybe the dildos weren’t even hers… though that thought only opened up a whole new can of worms in my mind.
Best not to think about it at all.
The blanket seemed to be hooked onto a corner of the box. I gave it a tug and as it came loose, I lost my balance yet again and fell on the floor.
This was followed by a torrential downpour of dildos, as several of the boxes at the top of the closet had been unlodged and their contents came tumbling down upon me.
Dildo after dildo fell on my head for a good three minutes. There must have been seven hundred of them, easily.
Some were of the vibrating variety and when they fell, got jolted into the “on” position. I then had to figure out how the heck to turn them off.
As I fumbled with the vibrating dildos, it occured to me that I had thought every father’s worst nightmare would be losing his adult daughter in a tragic car accident, but I had been wrong.
Every father’s worst nightmare was actually losing his adult daughter in a tragic car accident, then going to her apartment to check on things and getting showered with sex toys and having to handle said devices, which I am assuming had been inside her person at some point in time.
Not to mention having to face the fact that your sweet little girl clearly had some sort of psychological disorder.
As I looked through her kitchen cabinets for some garbage bags, I realized I had it wrong: God wasn’t cursing me. He couldn’t curse me because he obviously didn’t exist.
I locked the apartment, which I had tidied up as best I could and hauled the trash bags full of dildos out to the dumpster.
As a final insult, Carol’s nosy landlady confronted me in the parking lot as to who I was and why I was piling garbage bag upon garbage bag in her dumpster.
That was a fun conversation; I’ll spare you the details. Needless to say, it ended with the cops showing up and me having to produce my identification and explain my situation to a skeptical audience.
Worst of all, it meant that my wife had to be called, leading to the discovery of her dead daughter’s terrible secret. The one thing I didn’t want her to find out about. Not ever, but especially not now.
I sat on the curb as the officer used my cell phone to confirm my story with my wife. I heard him apologizing profusely over her cries.
He handed me back my phone, looking down at the ground as he muttered, “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
The landlady was still pretty pissed off about her dumpster, but the cops said they’d handle it. So much for small miracles.
I drove back home to Delaware in silence, trying not to think too hard about anything. I stopped on the New Jersey turnpike for some gas and as I got out of my car, the cold night air felt good in my lungs.
I would have to take each day moment by moment and learn to savor the little things.
I felt my stomach rumble and noticed with some relief that the rest stop’s McDonald’s was still open.
As I walked over to grab a bite, I found myself looking forward to getting something in my belly after a long drive.
The little things. That’s what would get me through this. As long as I could get that McRib I had been dreaming about, things were going to be OK.