Being a Dad unleashes some powerful emotions.
At a friend’s Barbecue my son finds a light sabre. It makes shwing-shwing sounds. Not just in my head. It’s not even me making them. It actually makes the noises itself. It’s incredible. Star Wars blew my young mind many years ago. For a long time I was obsessed. I dreamt one day of owning a real lightsaber.
Now I watch my son. He’s dressed in a grey hoodie, not unlike the cloak of a young padawan. He cleaves the air with the glowing, shwinging sword, legs wide, eyes wide, lost in his imagination. He is me. I am him. My mind is blown. Again.
“Where’s our daughter?” My wife asks me. A while a go she asked me to take my turn watching our children. I realise I’ve been watching my son’s Jedi training for quite a long time.
I look around. I can’t see her. She’s not even two yet. How far could she have gone?
I hunt around the garden. I ask people. No one’s seen her. I go inside. She’s not in the kitchen, or the living room or anywhere else down stairs. I go up stairs. I search the bedrooms. She’s not there. I search the attic room. Not there either.
I forget about Star Wars. Some truly powerful parental emotions start to kick in. My heart’s thudding. My imagination starts creating terrifying possibilities. I search the house again.
Other party guests are getting involved now. My panic is infectious. I’m trying to hold my emotions in check as I search, but it’s like trying to stop a runaway train.
I go out onto the road, calling and trotting up and down. It’s a quiet street, but still there’s no sign of her. I would break the world in two at this moment for her to appear.
“Found her.” My wife calls. “She was upstairs.” I start breathing again, and as my emotions rev down I start to feel ridiculous.
“I looked upstairs.” I say. “Twice.”
My wife gives me a look. I smile, my lips trembling. The terrible visions dissolve like ghosts in the daylight, until the next time. My son is still battling imperial storm troopers.
Maybe I should have used the force.