Every time they asked me where he was and who he was, I couldn’t give exact answers. Or maybe I avoided to. All I knew was that I was named after him so it would be easier to tag me to him.
My parents weren’t that creative at naming me. I surely was the English version of my father’s Spanish name. Add that to my last name, which actually means “someone noble” in Latin, these brought me to funny episodes when I was getting my Permesso di Soggiorno in the Questura of Firenze (Florence, Italy).
I wryly digressed. But what I was meaning to say was that the thought of him makes me hum the song that not everyone knows but I dearly keep replaying over a thousand times in my head: I am my Father’s child.
In this world where we are enthralled by the deep love of mothers and the secure machismo-oozing image of the patriarchal society, I found myself orphaned for reasons so lame, yet so deep, as falling out of love. Well, that’s a white lie but let it be – love has the loose ends anyway.
So, I remember to be in his arms for only a few moments in life, maybe twice. Once, was when I first met him at 5 and the other was when he rescued me when I almost drowned, also when I was 5. That’s my Dad.
Twelve years backwards, after tucking money under my bed since I was granted my grade-hungry scholarship, I sent myself to find my long-lost father.
No, it didn’t look like Luke and Darth Vader’s. It was something else. I was there for the kill.
I had all the right to assassinate my father who was hiding in the deep bushes and swamps of memory, camouflaged in stories of everyone in the family. But even if I had clenched fists, my traveller feet submitted me to him. And like a mother ship beaming up to a small alien, I was sucked to the yearning of a father figure.
I found myself eventually telling my mother that I would find my father. Both were real-life vagabonds who made me feel like they left me in a sandbox beside cats to have as blankets for cold Christmas nights. But they aren’t really cruel. I am just good at describing things. (Grin)
So when I met him, I believe I was 18 then, he came to the restaurant where we decided to meet. He still wore a strong perfume and was as neat as a grade school pupil who went to class for the first time. Slick that he is.
When I saw him, my emotions played like an undecided football team who forgot who amongst them was the striker. Believe me, it wasn’t just me who did this sort of crazy thing in the family. Another uncle brought such futile thoughts, too, when he met his father years after. But he hugged his dad instead of assassinating him. It was an epic fail. All mental rehearsals of skinning your father alive just went down the drain. Facepalm.
So, what did I do? Neither. Lesser epic fail.
I didn’t hug or kill him nor did I skin him alive or put salt in his epidermis. I was somehow happy. And like a diplomat, I sat there and started talking to him to tell me his side of the story.
He was very apologetic.
But did I hate him? Hmmmmm, not anymore.
Truth be told, I was borrowing fathers from my friends and this somehow dampened the hatred and balanced it with a longing for understanding about what happened to my nuclear family. I guess I have my friends and people who stood by me as fathers to serve as my inspiration.
That was a defining moment. I had to let go of the burning coal in my hands. It just wasn’t worth it and I deserved better – I could be better.
A father figure once told me while I was weeping about not having a mother and a father, “Aren’t you glad? You are virtually free to do whatever you want. Destroy your life or make it better, you have a choice.”
I think I still have that choice and that choice led me here, to attempt to be a writer, fetching emotions and thoughts from the wells of yesteryears.
When one writer said that IGNORANCE IS BLISS, I believe he was right. Damn right.
If with ignorance we can make ourselves ignore the past, forget it (although humanly impossible) or at least forget the emotions attached to mem’ries, then we’ll have our BLISS. We’ll be happy.
Forgive and forget go along together. Forgiving is a morally right thing to do, a divine skill. Forgetting (consciously) is the psychologically right way to move forward, a divine skill as well.
It is more noble to forget, even if it is impossible.
I am my Father’s child. I haven’t forgotten that, nor do I intend to.