« What does your father do for a living ? » the teacher asked. The child didn’t answer. The teacher thought the child was dumb; in fact, she thought all children were dumb. You never knew what happened in their brain. Images, words, sounds following each other like a multicoloured thread, nonsense which made sense only to them. So the teacher said again, “what is his profession?”
The child was thinking, perhaps not fast enough, scenes of her father crashing in her head, crushing her under their weight. She never thought about her Daddy’s Profession. Daddy left in the morning and he came back at night. She did that too, she noticed. She went to school in the morning and came back home in the afternoons. And Mom didn’t.
They had talked about Daddy’s Profession. They had used words for it. Work, Job, Wage, Overtime and Pension. Tu as encore ramené du Travail à la maison. Complaints about dog’s hair on his suit. Leather shoes, leather briefcase, leather wallet. The child knew why Daddy was working, he worked for a Living. He worked to pay for the house, and for the food, and for the holidays sometimes. But what did he do? What could he do? Recent memories of the sunny weekend, only two days before. They went biking. Her bike had four wheels, Daddy’s had two. Daddy took a sick tree down. Daddy chopped wood, lots of wood, and piled logs for the winter.
“So what does your father do?” the teacher asked.
“He is a Lumberjack”, the child answered. But apparently being a Lumberjack wasn’t a good thing on those days, because her mother’s neck was burning with shame that evening.
“A Lumberjack!” she scolded her. “Un bûcheron!”
But when the child finally asked about her Daddy’s Profession, the answer made no sense. Avocats were round, green and edible, and Daddy didn’t even like them.