When you scream at me over the phone about my incompetence in fiscal matters, I am suddenly thirteen years old again and running into my room for a pencil. You are behind me, raging at me to hurry, thrashing with words and hitting with fists. I crouch in the door and let the blows rain down for the few seconds your fury persists, and scream my threats at you, and cry, wondering why you're still doing this.

Only this time, when you are screaming and I feel like I am 13, I am 20. And I slam that door in your face so loudly the room shakes.

There are ties that bind a father and a daughter. At first they are ties of need. But I am long gone from your house now. When the material ties fade away, new ones need to be sewn in their place, constructed from phrases that are difficult for a family like us, hard words won from love and respect. I fear that this is our only chance to build those ties, a bridge from me to you over the thirty years of disappointment I see in your eyes, disappointment with the way your life has come to be. A bridge that crosses over all the ways we've been hurting each other with the angry lashings out, and with those easier phrases we are more accustomed to, words flung in haste and hate.

I do not like to feel this hate growing in me.

But every time I try to hand you a piece of rope that you may take the other end and help begin that bridge, I only see you throw it further, back upon that pile of kindling that's been growing in our basement forever, dry and crackling with the heat of our fall-out, almost sparking every time our discussion turns to this again. You do not seem to realize that someday I will run. I try to keep my silence now, restraining the evil words I would have thrown back at you in younger days. But still you stand there, match in hand before the beasts of all the pains we've seen before, and you taunt me, asking me to throw that match on dry kindling that we may watch us burn.

Do not ask me one more time, Dad. Do not ask.