"Hey! Long time no see."
Then we hugged and I shook hands with his children (a son and a daughter). He continued, "Where are you working now?" "How many children do you have? How old are they?"
I was at a wedding dinner last weekend and conversation like the one above is always very common, you would think. The only thing unusual about it was - the person having that conversation with me is my own father.
Yes. My biological father.
My parents went their separate ways. I was 8, and nobody told me that my life was going to change forever.
I was sent to stay with my grandparents and aunts, where I spent the next 14 years growing up without either of my parents by my side.
While my mom made continuous effort to reconnect with us (my brother and I) during our teenage years, my dad on the other hand, withdrawn himself further and further away from us after forming a second family, with his new wife, completed with a new set of children of their own.
As far as I can remember, I had never been to my dad's new home or spent a day with him and his new family. I saw lesser and lesser of him, from once a year to once in a few years, then came a day, he stopped visiting me altogether.
Some 7 years back, I bumped into him when I was pregnant with my first child. I walked up to him and greeted him. He looked completely puzzled when he told me I must have gotten the wrong person and he walked off. My own dad did not recognized me! I had to call out his full name before he could remember he had another daughter, who was right there, standing in front of him.
That evening, at the wedding dinner where I met him, he brought along his children. Apart from our overly polite handshakes, we had no interactions whatsoever, because we are not anything, but strangers.
Her daughter should probably in her mid 20s, looking very polished, refined and elegant, seated right next to him, looking absolutely like a proud daddy's little girl. She was like this delicate orchid, so sheltered, protected, growing in a perfect greenhouse. And I was like some weeds! Fending for myself out there.
If I told you, I wasn't feeling bitter that night, I was lying because that girl sitting beside my dad could have been me. But no. I never feel like I ever have a father.
I never blame my dad for remarrying or for making choices to live life as a wholesome father for my step-siblings. But I just couldn't stop myself from feeling I had been deliberately forgotten and that he had chosen to neglect me, to have nothing to do with me.
Where were you when I was battling depression? Where were you when I tried to take my own life? Where were you the whole time? Where? I had wanted to scream at him.
But I didn't.
As much as I would love to have a father to love me and protect me, I knew it's all over. He WAS my father, but not any more.
I have grown up. I have moved on. I have no need for a father any more.
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