Let Me Explain…(Disappearing Acts)
That was actually the main thing I wanted from him. The man whose little swimmer was successful. It stung when people said, “That’s definitely his kid. She has his smarts.”
But I never really knew who he was, and she never talked much about him. He was the one who was her first; the one who had her heart; and the one who betrayed her.
Early in life, I was asked, “Did I love him?” I always answered, “No” because I didn't have the chance to really get to know him. He was just this figment that other people tried to convince me was real. I first started to wonder about him in Far From Father (excerpt):
While you wandered on to live your life,
I wonder if you ever gave me a second thought:
If you ever stopped to even think to yourself-
What happened to that one half of you
That you left?
Did you ever give any thought to what you’ve done;
How you can caress women’s hearts,
Rape their souls and run:
Leaving two children’s lives socially undone;
Do you ever think of your son or daughter?
If so, which one?
At this stage, I wasn't angry. I just really wanted answers. I heard one side about what happened. Actually, many people collaborated that side of the story. I just wanted his take.
Then, around my college years, he expressed an interest in connecting with me. I hadn't thought it that far yet, but I wanted to give him the opportunity. The opportunity was conveyed in Said You Loved Me (excerpt):
We even talked of a meeting
The next time I came home.
You told me you were living with your mom
To get away from the city demons
And make a fresh start.
I made the necessary preparations. I knew my grandmother didn't share my enthusiasm because of his track record in the past, but I respected that she stayed out of it.
I called for you,
But no one picked up
Or you just weren’t home.
I cancelled plans
With some old friends,
Wanting to stay close to the house
So I wouldn’t miss you.
But you never showed.
And after school resumed,
You never phoned.
This lesson I want to share to all the absentee parents:
When a child is giving you the opportunity to return and explain, seize it. She could have easily not been open to accepting any type of correspondence with you.
If you give you word to appear, keep it. The moment you renege on that word, you are only giving credence to the negative stuff that was said about you.
You have to make a choice. If you are going to be gone, stay gone. If you are going to be active, stay active. Don’t keep going back and forth. Your uncertainty causes damage, but you want to act hurt because the relationship isn't lovey-dovey or nonexistent.
Would I have liked for the ending to have been different? Sure. It would have been cool if it was like those reunion shows on TV--with the excitement and happy tears. But it would have been worse if he reappeared and then bailed once again.
Perhaps he had his reasons for not coming through. But now, I will never know. And unfortunately for him, now I don’t care to know.
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