“Hey! Ever seen a floating rock?” Said the dad to his twenty-three year old daughter. He thought they’d got all the heavy, emotional talk out of the way and he was trying to ease the tension. He wrung his hands nervously, sensing that it wasn’t the time for a dad-joke. Her eyes narrowed. Perhaps he’d missed the mark. Too late now. Here goes. “The moon! It floats.” He forced a laugh. Humour had always got him out of trouble before, but this would be the exception.
Rather than laugh or even cringe, the girl stood up in the middle of the beer garden, slammed her drink on the table and stomped out. Dad was stunned, then defeated. He knew it was over. He’d convinced her to meet him at her favourite bar. It was the only place she’d see him: out in public with a quick escape and no strings attached.
It had been twelve years since they’d seen each other. Dad reminisced as he looked up at the moon on his own now. He and his daughter used to look at the sky when she was eleven. He’d point out the few constellations he knew and they’d make up the rest. He hadn’t made anyone laugh like that since.
In the meantime, mum had convinced the girl that her dad was the cause of all their problems. He’d be lucky to ever play a part in her life again. They’d be like the moon and the Earth, locked in a celestial dance. People say the moon always faces the Earth, but what they don’t realise is that it’s actually facing away. The moon hates her dad too.
The dad could understand. He didn’t want a divorce twelve years ago, but mum did. She lied to convince the court that the child’s wellbeing was at stake. She was trying to make a clean break. She wanted to move on with her own life, and that’s fine, but did she have to ruin his?
The man sat back in his chair looking up at the moon and listening to the melancholy music from the bar. He raised a glass up to the moon. “Your dad still loves you, sweetheart.”