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ONSLAUGHT
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CAST: troy and bella
SETTING:   forest park
SCENE: on a recent bella and dad hour, bella and i biked into forest park. this is the central park of saint louis (only twice as large). it was one of the first sunny and warm days after one of the harshest winters our city has seen in many years so the park was speckled with more people than i ever remember seeing there. it was refreshing to see so many folks walking the paths and sitting out on blankets in the grass.

bella and i pulled up to a bench under some trees. the spot was next to a lake with a view up a heavily manicured and fountained hill. i pulled our knitting out of the backpack and we settled in, each working on our piece. we chatted comfortably about the week and recent happenings. i studied my knitted swatch (i'm still learning techniques for my real work later in the year) and realized i messed something up. only about twelve rows in i started unraveling the work. bella's face grimaced and the following conversation began.

BELLA
what are you doing?

TROY
i'm staring over.

BELLA
but, why?

TROY
because i messed up.

BELLA
well, then, fix it. don't ruin it.

TROY
i don't know how to fix it.

BELLA
you should learn. that's terrible to waste all of that work.

TROY
it's ok. i'm still just learning.

BELLA
it still seems a waste.

TROY
i know. the problem is i'm a perfectionist so knitting is kind of evil for me because i don't like having mistakes or goofs in my work.

bella said no more. she sat back and quietly resumed her knitting. after a few moments of non-talking (as i was focused on casting on a new row) bella picked up saying:

BELLA
if you're a perfectionist, why do you have wrinkles between your eyes?

TROY
uhhh, those are thought wrinkles. they happen when i'm thinking or worried or confused. see.

BELLA
oh. how about the hair on your legs?

TROY
uhm.

BELLA
or why can't you sing better?

TROY
uhm.

BELLA
or know how to dance? and why do you need glasses? and why is mom a better cook than you? and why do you have to set your alarm so loud in the morning?



i'm sorry to say it took more questions than those to realize bella didn't know what perfectionism meant. and she interpreted my words to mean i was saying that i, her father, thought i was perfect and the serious way i said it called her to action as she, my daughter, is surely one to know this is far from the case. her tactic was to effortlessly pick me apart with a series of "if you're a perfectionist then why ..." questions. her observations, lobbed over the wall faster than i could catch them was the result. in reviewing the aftermath, i'd like to blame the beautiful spring day and sitting in one of our country's best city parks for my poor and defenseless showing as what culminated was a moment that brought me closer to therapy than any other moment, sunny or not, in my reasonably mature and sufficiently awkward life.



ONSLAUGHT
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