Breaking Taboos

“Daddy, I am so scared.” Twelve year old Jennifer ran and hugged her father.

“What happened to my big brave daughter?” “Daddy, I guess it’s blood.. Daddy, I think I saw blood on my skirt today.”

Jennifer had lost her mother six months back and Peter, her father was finding it difficult bringing up his daughter all by himself. He was madly in love with his wife and he had ruled out second marriage options as proposed by his relatives. He was a doting dad and tried his best to be a mother and father to Jennifer.

“Daddy”, Jennifer spoke again. “Daddy, I saw blood in my skirt. Alexa told me that it is periods. I am on periods. Am I on periods daddy?” It was not exactly a comfortable question for Peter so he tried to evade her questions at least for some time.

“Jennifer baby, do you want an ice cream? Chocolate flavour?” Jennifer made a face. “You know daddy, Alexa was right. She told me that you wouldn’t talk to me about this. Even she discusses all this with her mom. I wish mom was alive. I am sorry I told you about this. Just forget that I ever told you this.”

Peter was startled and a little ashamed. He didn’t want to make Jennifer feel bad about something which was so normal. He just wanted to buy some time for himself. “Jennifer sweetie, why would you feel like that? I am your mommy too, remember? I wonder why Alexa would put such things into your head.”

“Then why wouldn’t you talk about it daddy? I am so scared. Will I die like mommy too?” “Oh no baby, never ever say that. You are daddy’s princess.” “But daddy.. blood?” “Come, we’ll go out, have ice cream and then discuss about this. This is a wonderful thing. Always be proud of this.” Peter held his daughter’s hand and escorted her outside the door.

As Jennifer took a large bite off her orange flavoured ice cream, Peter asked her to narrate the day’s happenings. “Daddy, I saw blood on my skirt today and I am very scared.” “Well little Jennifer , let me narrate a little story to you.” “Oh sure, daddy. Make it an interesting one.”

“It is an interesting one, kid. When your mommy was as little as you, she also saw blood on her skirt. She ran up to her dad who told her that she had received the biggest gift of her life that day.” Jennifer had her doubts. “How was it the biggest gift of her life daddy?” “Because that day she got periods for the very first time. It gave her the power to be a mother. It gave her you.” “Does that mean daddy, that I can become like mommy too?” “Yes, of course, you’re already like your mommy with your hazel eyes and chestnut hair.” “Thank You daddy. I love you. I’ll tell that annoying Alexa that my father is the best. He told me everything. I have some more questions but I’ll ask them tomorrow. I need some sleep.”

Peter heaved a sigh of relief. He’d broken a taboo. Tomorrow he would be adequately prepared to break another taboo and talk to her about something society would not have approved of. As he put Jennifer to sleep, Peter could feel his wife smiling at him. He had not been a good husband to her while she was alive but he would try his best to be a good father to their daughter.