I have a paper and two quizzes due by midnight tonight, so I decided to bring myself to Starbucks to focus. If I were at home I would inevitably take a nap that turned into hours. Sure, I would wake up with just enough time to get my work done but it would be less than likely my best.
This plan to focus has backfired on me and here I am sitting in the coffee shop looking at everyone walking in and out the place and I wonder what their story is. I drift off into thought and wonder and assume where their father is. Who is he, why are you here alone? Maybe their father passed away, maybe he was never known or maybe the name father lies within a man that did not father them but merely raised them. Then there are those blessed few who walk in with their dads, dressed in their Sunday best to get a coffee with the man who set the example of manhood for them, or the man who gloriously failed at pigtails. Maybe he was the man who walked hand in hand with you on Halloween in your princess costume because you thought you were a princess all while he new deep down inside you would always be his princess.
Fathers Day has always been one of my least favorite holidays because unlike St. Patrick’s day where green is the only requirement to celebrate, on fathers day, you are required to have a man to celebrate. I can’t pick and choose like Valentines day and unlike Thanksgiving day it is hard to find other things to be thankful for. Today I am reminded that my father left my life by choice but by some stroke of luck I was then granted a guardian angel who was much more than a father. He was my best friend, my confidant and the melody to my day. My grandfather shielded me from any harm that came my way. I loved him with all my heart and he has been gone now for longer than he was in my life and undoubtedly he will always have an impact in my life. My worse was always good enough for him and now that he’s not here my best is all I ever try for him.
So this is my story, for those of you walking in and out of the coffee shop taking a glance at me. Who am I ? Why am I alone? Where is my father? Well here goes. . .The man who fathered me is only 15 minutes away from me. I don’t know him from Adam. He went to jail when I was 4/5 years old and despite having forgiven him for what he did so that I may live peacefully without resentment, I cannot help but still hate the things I do not have because of his absence. I had no other alternative than to look up to my grandfather, who was more than willing to look after the little girl he left behind. I love my grandfather beyond measure and I am grateful that I was raised by him. . .but. . .I wish I had both. I wish to always have love for Spanish guitar because I spent many days on grandpa’s lap as he played. I still wish to love Christmas because it was my last holiday with grandpa but I too wish that my dad had been present during that last holiday rather than living out his last few years in the correctional facility. I wish that now that grandpa is gone, dad could tell me all about grandpa before I was born. I wish to know all the silly things and sad things that made him the most incredible man in the world. I only have 14 years of actions to prove to me who he was but those 14 years do not account for the woman I am.
I look like my father. I act like my father. I am smart like my father. . .but I don’t know my father. I have this birthmark right over my nose. . .just like my father. My eyes close when I smile really big, just like my father. I know this because I have been told by my mother. Those few and far in between moments when mom had nothing bad to say and decided to share little tidbits of who I am because I would otherwise never know.
My curly tangled hair, sun kissed skin and smile are unlike anyone in my home. My mother is a fair skinned beautiful woman who barely smiles, just like my sister. They both hide from the sun and live their lives in the shadow out of fear of being exposed. I throw myself out there while pushing back the crippling fear of being completely exposed and burned. I smile through the pain of never knowing and wondering why I have such the need to know the man who broke my mother and my family into a million shreds. I want to understand who he is because there is a possibility I may understand why I am the way I am.
I sit here and maybe I go unnoticed or maybe people do see me for who I am. I smile politely as they walk in for their coffee and I may be nothing more than a stranger they saw today at Starbucks but I know I am that fatherless daughter wishing he had never walked out.