How to deal with a daughter who thinks she’s grown up. A short story.

By Old Tom

They stood, tense, glaring at each other. He, white faced with the effort of restraint. She, red faced with the righteous anger of youth.

“I was right!” She shouted.

“Of course you were.” He was cold and vehement. “That is not the point. They are my friends, my club; all good men who have served this community for decades with unselfish devotion. You are barely starting out in life. You had no business being so bloody rude to them. You embarrassed and shamed me. Now I am not discussing this anymore. You had your say and I don’t want to talk to you. I am picking your mum up so go do whatever you were going to do. I’ll say this; you’ve picked up some really bad habits while you were away.”

He was so angry and disappointed with her. He valued good manners and thought he’d brought her up to value them too. But she’d been away three years working for a travel company. Now, twenty-one and back at home for at least six months she seemed changed to him. He ached with disappointment and frustration.

She stood, all tension washing away; shocked at his words, his contempt, his dismissal. He didn’t need to go for ages, she knew that. Mum wouldn’t finish for an hour. She suddenly saw everything from his point of view. His friends and she’d been rude; his club, and she’d embarrassed him; good men, and she had treated them as criminals and all because their view differed from hers.

“Dad, don’t go yet; there is no need. Wait just a few minutes. I need to get something. Will you wait? Please!”

He nodded, still upset, and fell back into the sofa. She ran for the stairs. He watched her go. Twenty one, long blond hair, slim lithe body; so like her mother. Two at a time up the stairs, what on earth was she going for? She ran back downstairs with the thunder that only the young can make; and there she was in front of him, hands behind her back, not even breathless.

“Dad I’m sorry about the way I behaved. Honestly, really sorry. I didn’t see it until that last bit and now I do. I should have just kept quiet really and ignored it all, after all they were in their own club and I was just a guest. I wish I hadn’t made you feel ashamed but I did and now it’s going to lie between us for weeks like a dead fish. It ought to be settled now, tonight before mum gets home. This is what you used to use.” She handed him the old hairbrush, solid, wooden, dark and plonked a box of tissues down on the floor.

He took it automatically before his brain registered what she meant; but even as it dawned she was already unfastening her trousers, letting them slide down her smooth legs and moving straight on to her knickers, pulling them down tugging them past her knees. Even as he put a protest into his brain she was carefully arranging herself across his knees; upper body on the sofa, her legs down to the floor. He looked at the smooth fair skin he had not spanked in years and with no more hesitation brought the brush down on her bottom with hard crack. She cried out and he continued.

As she’d thundered down the stairs she had imagined herself over his knee; mature now, repentant, dignified; stoic even; the tissues not needed, more a prop; the reality was different. It hurt; the blistering brush was no easier to bear now than years ago. It stung and burnt and shed her years from her. First seventeen and then the crying began; then thirteen and the pleading; finally a sobbing weak ten year old who really wished her daddy didn’t spank so very hard.

When it was all over she managed to lift herself up from his lap. He expected her to speak but she said nothing. Grabbing the tissue box with one hand she hitched her trousers up a little and shuffled to the corner. She stopped there and pulled tissues from the box; blew her nose, wiped her eyes, grabbed more tissues in one hand and then both hands on head. There she stood as she had done in the past, the one hand coming down every now and then to use the tissues before going back.

He sat back dazed by what had happened. Not sorry he had spanked her, and done it hard, but stunned at how it had happened. He wasn’t sure how long to leave her there in her self-imposed penance but when the sniffles and sobs abated he said gently: “I think that’s enough time in the corner.”

She pulled her knickers and trousers up and walked slowly (was her stiffness his imagination?) back to him. He held up the hairbrush. “Where did you find this? I didn’t know we still had it.”

“The old dresser on the landing; I found it the other day looking for some photos for mum and recognised it straight away. Not easily forgotten!”

“You’d best put it back then, now we’ve done with it again.”

“Dad, I think you’d better keep it handy. You’re right, I’ve picked up some bad habits while away and you may need it again.”

He looked doubtful but she turned out to be quite right.

The End