(This essay was transcribed by a close friend of Ariana's mother, word for word on July 22, 2000.) Me and my mother would lie in the bed and wait for my dad in the early morning. And he would come home looking in the bedroom and we would play. And in the early morning some other days when he didn't work, my father would be laying on the couch and I would come while my mother was busy. I would lay with him and we would watch the ballgame, baseball, the Red Sox. And when he came home in the noon, he would give me piggyback rides. I would call him piggy and we would listen to the song "Biggy biggy biggy, can't you see?." We changed the words to "Piggy." We would make up jokes. He would call me and my mother the frog family because our eyes are green, but his eyes were brown so he wasn't part of the frog family. He would take me to ride my bike. He would run after me and say, "I'm catching up!" He took me to the playground too. He had a lot of friends and he would say, "This is my beautiful daughter, Ariana.." We watched movies together. We watched funny music videos together. I went over his mother's house (my nonny) and she gave me an angel clock, but it broke, and my dad tried to fix it. He got me a mermaid whose tail turns a color when you put it in the water. He gave me a clown beanie. His face was glass, but the rest was beanie. He gave me a teacup set for Christmas. Me and my father would make meatballs together. He likes Kraft Macaroni and Cheese runny by putting in extra milk. He loved steak. He loved strawberry shortcake flavored popsicles. So do I . He wore sweatpants and t-shirts and sneakers and socks, sometimes he didn't wear socks. My dad was very tanned. He was 100 percent Italian. My Nono (grandfather) would teach me Italian words.
Me and my mother were shopping because my mother was having a new baby. When we got home, we kept ringing the doorbell. But nobody answered. So my mother thought something was wrong. She called 911. The ambulance came speeding. They broke the door down with an ax. They put my father on a stretcher and my mother too because they thought she would have the baby from being upset. So I waited in the waiting room in the hospital with my mother and my grandmother. They got to see my father while a lady watched me at the service desk. She gave me a marker and a paper. My mother came out and went down on her knees and told me my father was with the angels. I waited in the parking lot with my mother for my mother's best friend. When she came she hugged me and I squeezed her. My mother sat on the curb rocking back and forth with her big belly.
I will always cherish my father. He'll always stay in my heart. I pretend sometimes he's still alive but he's just at work. But I really know he isn't. But I like to think of that. I have pictures of him in my bedroom. When I go to school I hear people say, "My father's going to pick me up today!" It bothers me, but I ignore it. People ask me about my father. I tell them the truth, that he had a heart attack. They say, "Oh, I'm sorry." I say, "It's all right." Then they change the subject. One day before Father's Day, we went to arts and crafts and made father pictures. So I drew my father with crayons. My teacher, when I handed in my picture, said, "Who are you going to give it to?" I said, "My mother collects the things I make about my father." She said nothing and walked away. I will never forget how she made me feel. She made me feel bad, like I was the only kid in the school who didn't have a father. Maybe I'll meet someone who doesn't have a father either in the 2nd grade in the fall.
I have two best friends. They are really good friends. They understand my problem that I'm different from other people. They say they are really sorry. Most kids don't really care, but my two best friends don't change the subject. I call one of my friends on the phone, but I don't call my other friend on the phone. I can't memorize her phone number. But she is still special to me. I will see them in 2nd grade.
I saw counselors but they didn't help. They made me say things I didn't want to tell them. Like things that were my family's business and personal that my mother says not to share with people. I felt like they wanted me to say things even if I wasn't feeling them.
I think I'll have a great life because he would die someday automatically anyway. I know there are times that I will need my father, but I will turn to friends, because I love him anyway in my heart. I think heaven is a magical place because it's where everyone goes and they can fly like a beautiful butterfly. I think my dad is an angel with wings that are white. In heaven he watches down on the family and makes sure everything's right.
I feel bad for my little brother because people will pick on him for not having a dad. I also feel bad for him because he will never know our dad. My mother says I have to tell my brother about his father when he can understand and when he gets old enough. That makes me feel sad because it's hard to tell a story so many times. It makes me sad that my brother won't have my dad to play baseball with him. I will try to play sports with my brother. That makes me feel good.
Ariana is open to receiving e-mails, but only through the supervision of her mother's friend: firstname.lastname@example.org