I rarely talk about my dad, unless it’s with family or close friends. Day to day, I don’t think about our non- existent relationship but when I do, I feel sad. Walking down the street, I see little girls holding their father’s hand and smiling. I wish I had that. Or when I want to go shopping, I could take dad’s credit card and max it out (lol). Or to have him crying like a baby at my graduations. I didn’t have any of those moments growing up but I wanted to.
My father and I’s relationship dwindled once my parents divorced. Before marrying my father, my mom’s visa to live in America was granted. She decided to go back and forth between Guyana and America in the meantime. After the divorce, my mom moved to America permanently while my father remained in Guyana to live. The distance strained our relationship. My siblings and I still called him to see how he was doing but from what I could remember, he didn’t do the same.
It was a one way street of communication and soon there were no cars in sight.
The last time I saw my dad, I was four years old. So, that’s 16 years without each other.
See, you remember people based on the memories that you have with them. Memories are your own personal collection. Similar to a photo album that you flip through, each page a snapshot of the time shared with someone.
For me, my mental library of memories with my dad is empty.
I can’t personally recall any of the ones that I have with him when I was younger. Since, I don’t remember the memories for myself, I feel no connection with him. My mom always tells me stories of him and I. He would come home from work, pick me up in his arms and ask me if anyone bothered me for the day.
The last time I spoke to him was in August of 2009. While visiting his sister (my aunt), she asked me when I last spoke to my dad. I had no idea. My aunt grabbed her phone and started dialing his number. What would we possibly talk about? She said all I had to say was, “Hey Dad.”
I heard the worst response ever when I said, “Hello, may I please speak to…”
“Who is this?”
He didn’t even know my voice. I stood there trying to act like I wasn’t hurt. But, I was. I wanted to drop the phone.
Granted, we hadn’t spoken for years up until that point, so he wouldn’t know my voice. But, that only highlights the problem. He should have kept our relationship going. We could have had weekly check ins. Something. Anything to show me that he cared about me. Maybe then, he would have recognized my voice every time I called.
I could call my mom, disguise my voice to sound like a man and she would still know it’s me. But, there I was,talking to my father in my normal voice and he didn’t know who I was. We were two complete strangers.
Maybe I should have said, “Hey Dad” when I called him but it just didn’t feel right. Saying the word “dad” is foreign to me. It’s not a part of my everyday vocabulary and when I do say it, it sounds weird. Honestly, I forget that I have one. I hope that doesn’t sound harsh but it’s true.
I’ve been attached to my mom my entire life and she’s the only parent that I’ve ever known. She’s been my rock. My mom never faltered in her ability to keep her children happy. I don’t know how she managed being a single parent. If she could have it her way, she would have not traveled this journey alone. That’s partly why I’m upset with my dad. He should have been there somehow, whether big or small, I would have loved it.
I wondered what it would have been like to have my dad present in my life. In movies, when the dad sits down with his daughter’s first date and asks,”What are you intentions with my daughter?” Absolute classic. I wanted to experience a moment like that one. Most importantly, I just wanted him to be my protector.
We both missed out on having each other in our lives. I missed out on having a father that would kill for me and protect me like a princess. He missed out on watching the process of me becoming who I want to be in life.
It’s a blessing and a tragedy that time can’t be reversed.
So, my dad and I will have to start a new chapter together. One where he gets to know the young adult version of me. Time will tell if it will happen. Slight fingers crossed, I don’t want to get my hopes up.