Honestly, it’s hard to call you father because that’s not who you are, but that’s what you are, and last I checked, the English language is yet to create a word for men who father children but refuse to acknowledge them for 30 years, at least one that’s not a profanity. So Father you are, and Father I shall call you.
I’ve spent a sizable amount of my life thinking what I would say to you. I would rehearse the words and picture myself writing them. I never saw myself speaking them, so I might have always known on a subconscious level that I would still not have met you by the time I turned 30.
Did I try to find you? Absolutely. I spent hours researching the internet, more hours praying, and even more hours quizzing then fighting my mum. I believed, you see, that all of this was somehow her fault, an it would be her fault until I heard your side of the story.
And then I found you. On Facebook. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to call and hear your voice, so I called. And felt my heart break when you said you didn’t know me. My name was familiar, my mum’s too. But you didn’t know us. I cried that day. A few tears and for a little while. I believed that once I met you, sat across from you and spoke to you, you would tell me a million “sorries” and then some stories.
Did I find you? Oh yeah. Through your childhood friend and after 3 months of phone calls back and forth. I finally flew down to meet you. Waited 9 hours, and just when I had lost all hope and crawled into bed, your friend called to give me an address. I got there at 9pm. And felt my heart break when your friend broke it to me that you didn’t want to meet me because I was a Christian. I died that day. That night. I’ll never forget the exclamations from your friends about how much I look like you. I’ve heard that all my life, but not from your people. This time I refused to cry. It was hard, but I waited to get back to my hotel and call my friend, the only one who knew where I was. And cried my broken heart out.
Today, I’ve learned the dynamics of rejection. You taught me well. I’ve stopped trying to see you. I’ve been counseled about how to appreciate other father figures with whom I do not share DNA. I’m an independent young woman, with a full life.
I’ve also formed my defense mechanisms. I’m paranoid, can be withdrawn, and I am terrified to fall in love because what if he doesn’t love me back? Or worse, he stops loving me after a year or two? I still die every time someone exclaims at how much I look like you. I can’t tell them it kills me to hear them say that. But all these come together to make me the strong person I am today. At least I like to think so.
I am able to do this, because I’ve met someone. A sweet young man who won’t listen to me when I say there’s no love here. He’s perceptive enough to sense the insecurities, and thinks I need to forgive you to be happier than I am now.I want you to know though, it’s your loss. Totally. You will never get know the woman I am, or share in my journey to the woman I am ultimately becoming. And that”s fine by me.
Goodbye, Father. This is still what you are, but it will never be who you are.