Monday, July 4, 2011

once is never always.

My father is not a villain and I am not a saint.

I am perhaps a childish 26. I don't own a home and my mostly urban lifestyle requires no car. My artistic callings called for no college degree so I never bothered to obtain one. My friends are a motley crew with similar ambitions and equally lacking academic achievements. I have no ring on my finger nor do I have the urgent desire to put one there. And through the grace of God and Trojan, I have no children. My bank account over the course of a fiscal year reads like the blueprint of a roller coaster and if before night fall if I've remembered to eat dinner - I count the day as a success. In this particular phase of my life - I would be no one's perfect parent. I am selfish and career oriented - an arrogant over achiever.

It is armed with this perspective that I have tried to give my dad, a father by age 23, the benefit of the doubt. But objective reasoning gives way to confusion for it was never in these years - my early childhood - that he failed me. I have many early happy memories with my father that are just as vivid and haunting as the ones that came later in life. It was he that helped teach me how to imagine and create. We would sit for hours making up songs on his guitar, writing stories on his old type writer or battling Nerf sword to Nerf sword in epic pirate battles. He was the perfect play mate.

It was as he and I got older that the distance grew wider. Both emotionally and geographically. The man who had walked me into my kindergarten class was no where to be seen when I boarded the bus to first grade. He was not present at back to school conferences, he did not read report cards or help with science projects. He never knew my friends or my teachers. At times I have wondered if he has ever known me as more than the child he once played with.

Weekend visits were not accurate portrayals of my day to day life. My father never had to check my homework or monitor my curfew, he didn't assign me chores or dole out an allowance. My father picked me up long after school had ended on a Friday and brought me home before bed time on Sunday. He was the perpetual play mate to an aging child.

I may be a childish 26 - but I am an adult. And the person that I have become is a stranger to my father.

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