CN: suicide attempt, absent fathers
I never know what to call you. Father seems too formal. I usually just call you “my dad” when I talk about you, I use your name when I talk about you to mami or my brother. I never became comfortable with calling you “sperm donor”. You were there at least for the first two years of my life. Papi and Daddy have too many positive connotations attached.
Usually though I just don’t talk about you at all. It just to be too painful. I have at least gotten to the point where I don’t immediately burst into tears at the mention of fathers. This episode of the Fresh Prince still manages to make me teary eyed. There a lot of similarities between what Will says and I feel.
It’s been 14 years since I last saw you. Before that I hadn’t seen you in 13. Last time I saw you, we shared our love of Elvis Presley. We found out we have the same favorite color. You told me you didn’t have any money, I told you that didn’t matter to me. I told you all I wanted was to have a relationship with you; to get to know you. You said you’d buy me a doll for Christmas. I told you I was much too old for dolls. What you didn’t know is that I would have loved and cherished that doll. You never bought it. You never came back.
I would call you and you would never answer. Your new family would, your step-daughters would. Those girls got to have you in their lives and I didn’t. I hated them. I do think your wife felt sorry for me. I could hear it in her voice.
Last time we spoke I cursed you out. You said mami had done a horrible job in raising me and my brother. My brother never bothered talking to you. I was the fool that held onto some hope that you cared.
I stopped crying over you after I attempted suicide. I was taken to the hospital and mami called you. You called the hospital to verify that I was indeed there. You said you’d go visit me at home. I was so excited when mami went to the hospital to pick me up. I actually thought you’d show up. You never did. I stopped crying over you because I realized that I could have died and you wouldn’t have cared.
You called one last time for my 16th birthday. I was still recovering from my suicide attempt and so you talked to my brother. You called to wish me a happy birthday.
Sometimes I wish I could see you. I wish I could talk to you. You’re a grandpa and you have no idea.
All I have left is some pictures from when I was a toddler. You seemed like a proud and happy dad. Mami told me that you were very devoted and that I was a total daddy’s girl. I can see that from the pictures. I put those images up against the images I have of you in the flesh. The man, who told me about your favorite Elvis songs. The man who said I had attempted suicide just for attention. The man who called me “not very nice”. The man who promised to be there and then wasn’t. The man who then called me for my birthday, the man who said I had “a heart as big as Texas” for still wanting a relationship with you after 13 years of absence.
I hate that you’ve made me feel insecure and unloved. I hate not knowing if you’re alive and well. I hate that a small part of me still cares.
You’re right. I do have a very big heart. You don’t deserve the head space I give you. That space though has become smaller.
I only notice it when Father’s Day comes around.
So Happy Father’s Day, I guess.