Honor Thy Father

IMG_6703When my sister & I were young, it was just us. Mom would always be at work, dad would be god knows where. There were some wonderful days where I remember my dad being at home with me. He would bring some of the rabbits we had in our backyard into the house. He would let me play with them and put them in my barbie car and drive them around in the house. Then there are days where he would come back home and drag me by my long beautiful hair down the stairs and start hitting me because I gave one the rabbits to my friend from 1st grade at the time. Mind you we had around 30 rabbits at the time and if our maid didn’t tell him I gave one away he wouldn’t know. I still do not know why he got so mad that day. He was mad on a lot of days.

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a lot of vague memories and hardly remember things. I find it hard to remember birthdays, or anything else at all. I think I have a selective memory and I only remember things I want to remember. I’ve read so many books that I don’t mind reading again because I forget what they are about. I did not even read them a long time ago, if that’s what you’re wondering. Same goes with shows and movies. I can watch them over and over and wouldn’t know whats to come and how it ends. Ok there might be a problem with me.

I used to love my dad. Even though he wouldn’t love me or hug/kiss me back, I loved him. I used to love laying my head on him and fall asleep. He would pat me on my shoulder so hard that I actually find it so hard to go to sleep, but I still loved it. My mom spent all day at work. She would come back home at night so exhausted. My dad didn’t work. She did. They would spend most nights fighting, and I would spend those nights going up to their bedroom door and try to eavesdrop although all I could hear is yelling. I remember his exact face coming out of that damn door. His eyes were always bloodshot red and his face so pink, filled with rage. My mother would have tears running down her eyes. I never understood it. I mean I knew something was wrong, I just didn’t understand why.

He never did any fatherly duties. He never took me to school, I don’t remember a day when he fed me or cook me food. No, none of that. But there were some days he made me laugh and giggle so hard that I actually pee my pants. It was mostly at night. Almost around bedtime, he would go wear my headband that came with two braids and wear nothing but his boxers. His belly was so big and that just made him look 10x funnier. He would come to me and act silly and I would be so so happy. I wished he was like that with me all the time. But he wasn’t. Years later we were living separately. My sister & I with my mom, and him alone. He would pick us up most Friday’s and take out to the movies and the mall. Casually one Friday, when he was dropping us back home he said: I am relocating. Leaving this country. You know I love you right?

We basically never heard from him again. I was 7, my sister was 12. Whenever we tried to call him he would avoid answering the phone, or talk to us for seconds and would seem eager to hang up. I remember this vividly. Because it was mostly me who would try to talk to him. My sister not so much. She was angry at him. I was just sad. I was too young for anger. He just left and wanted to do nothing with his only 2 daughters.

I begged for him most nights. I would pray to God to send him back into my life. Eventually, I blamed my mom. My poor mom. She tried her best to get him to talk to us, but no success. He didn’t want it. I’ve read this in a book at a bookstore just 2 days ago: “A girl should never beg her father for a relationship.” I begged for years. I didn’t know any better.

16 years later, we get a call from his sister. He’s sick she said. They cut off his leg she said. Come visit him she said. He’s leaving this world she said. We sat thinking if we should go see him or not. Did he even want to see us? Can he speak? We had so many questions we needed answers to. Are we going to mainly say goodbye? Is he forgiven for walking out on us? Do we kiss him or hug him when we go in that hospital room? I felt like my head was going to explode. Literally explode. The next day, my dear uncle sat us down and kindly asked us to go and see him. He said we might regret it if we don’t. He said that he’s still our father even though he left us. We carry his name and he might die soon. We can say our goodbyes he said.

2 days later we booked our tickets to go and see him. I was shaking in the airport, on the plane, in the car; on the way to see him. I was so afraid of being rejected again. I didn’t know if I could handle it. But I had my sister with me, and for me that was enough. She was my Messiah. If I ever cried she would hold me and comfort me. She held my hand all the way long. She held my heart all my life.

We got to the hospital and my vision became blurry. We got in the elevator and I felt my heart beating out my chest. I wanted to go back home. What was I doing? Why am I here? Does he know we’re here? We reach the third floor, we walk out. I have never felt so anxious all my life. We walk into his hospital room and I immediately see his lower part of his body under hospital blankets. He asks who’s there and I just collapse onto the floor. His voice was so weak. Like an 11 year old boy. He knows it’s us. He knows it’s me who’s on the floor. He says my name and I just, I couldn’t breathe. My sister held me up and told me it’s okay, go in she said. He kept saying don’t cry, she kept saying don’t cry. I get up and walk over to his hospital bed. Who is this skinny man? He’s blind. He can’t see us. He has his arms in the air trying to reach for us. I hesitate to touch him and eventually stroke his hand. His nails were dirty. 10 seconds in and I notice something. He immediately starts blaming us for not speaking to him. My sister goes off at him and says no, you never called, you never asked, you never freaking picked up the phone. Then I sit down and think to myself, is this man serious? And I immediately regret the moment I got anxious to meet him. Frankly speaking, I had a little hope in me. I usually am not the “have high hopes” kinda person. I am very realistic in life and I never raise my expectations, especially when it comes to people, and definitely not when it comes to my “dad”. I really wanted it to be a nice yet sad little reunion filled with emotions and honesty and him confirming leaving us was his biggest regret. I certainly expected not one, but many apologies.

It’s been several minutes and let me just say, this man has the audacity to blame us? Are you ok? Do you have any idea about the pain that you caused the family you chose to leave? I never hated him more in my life. In all honesty, I have tried to reach out to him multiple times growing up. The last time ever that I tried to was when I was 17 yo. And I promised myself that I will stop, and I did. Let me just put it out there and say this man did not want to see us. Maybe he felt alone and scared. Maybe even bored? I don’t know. At the end of the day I don’t know this person. Amusingly, he remembers all of my family members and he takes the time to ask about each and every one. I kinda liked it. This is what I felt: you knew them! you were once close to them! oh you’re family! But then I quickly remember no he is not, he left. When it was time to leave, we got up and said goodbye and wished him to get well soon. This is when he shed a few tears. I genuinely think that this happened because it was time he was going to be all alone again in that depressing room. I felt bad for him. I really did. We kissed him goodbye, I knew that was the last time I was going to see him. He didn’t even ask us to come back. Nothing. I was extremely disappointed. I still am.

Exactly a week later, he passed. He was very stubborn. He had diabetes and kept eating sugar and he wouldn’t take his medicines. I did not cry when he passed. I was relieved that he went to a better place. He was ill and no man should go through getting his leg butchered. Diabetes is a scary disease.

A girl only needs her mother. A girl can grow and blossom without a father. Especially if her father doesn’t happen to be the best dad in the world.