“Just break it down, would you, and stop the incessant inquiries about the mundane”, the father barked at his young daughter.
She turned all her attention to the Collegiate Dictionary resting on her lap, indeed to look up the words that comprised the name of the country she was studying, but mainly to give pause and avoid eye contact while the tears were reabsorbed. She couldn’t have daddy see her weakness. She would be a scholar, she would.
Born smack in the middle of Kansas, Burt Simonsen had developed an unhealthy infatuation with all things English. He’d surrounded himself with English antiques, read English periodicals, even put on a hint of an accent. He thought if Madonna can do it, surely he can as well.
There was less than no reason for his devotion, and still less reason for how he was foisting it on his young daughter as he attempted to define England and the United Kingdom. It didn’t help that he’d scarcely ventured outside his home county. Sure he dreamed of one day paying the Queen herself a visit, but Buckingham Palace may as well have been the canals of Mars for a residential telephone line installer from the flatlands of middle America. He was so far from everything that to get somewhere he’d need to first go to yet another place just to start the trip. Someone in his predicament was likely to be viewed eccentric, and those around him didn’t disappoint.
His ex wife could nearly not tolerate the moments when they passed their daughter between them for visitation, yet despite his proclivities she knew he had the girl’s best interests, and he loved her deeply.
“Daddy there is just too much here for me to read and understand, so why don’t you tell me about the United Kingdom?” Allysa asked.
“Right, dear, well then, The United Kingdom used to be a great and mighty empire. It spanned the globe and no continent was untouched by British influence at one time or another” he began. “But it was too big and too complex and was unmanageable and eventually fell back to a couple of islands there in the North Sea that you see on the map with a handful of countries, sort of, comprising the whole of the Kingdom”.
“Is that what happened to you and mom, daddy, was it unmanageable?” she asked, even trying to word and inflect the question in a manner pleasing to his ear.
Taken, he considered that carefully. Loaded, full of potential pitfalls, he knew he needed to be truthful but gentle in his reply.
“Well”, he haltingly began, “your mum is a great Queen, but my eye seemed too set on something so far away, so fantastic, that she saw it outside the reality of life here in this town”. He smiled and added, “she may be right you know, maybe I need to reel it in a little”.
After some silence he asked, “would you like that our kingdom be united once again?”
“Yes daddy, I want that very much”, she nearly whispered; hope blooming from beneath her faux seriousness.
He slapped his knee and said, “well then, let’s seek an audience with the queen shall we?”
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