My father is 6 ft 8 in tall. He towers over everyone awkwardly, slouching over so that he can fit into small spaces and draw attention away from himself. He has a grey beard and a quiet voice, and wears a hat all the time. The hat is his thing, if anyone had a thing, it would be him. If he were a sitcom character, jokes would be made about how he never loses his hat.
He turned 51 this year, he lives with his mother and he owes her a lot of money. He’s notorious for taking money from family members for mysterious reasons, and not paying them back. However his family still loves him, and tries to make him feel included. He hates his family, save for me, his only daughter, and refuses.
He is afraid of commitment. He was married to my mother for roughly two years, before he left her for a younger woman. He left the younger woman when she wanted to have more babies, one was enough for him. He then became a bachelor. Married women, young women, but never anyone serious. I never met his girlfriends, but I heard about them. Even now when we’re in town together, people mistake me for one of his many young girlfriends, and it’s always a hassle to explain that he has a daughter.
He has an older daughter too, that he never see’s because he’s not sure she is really his, and no one could be bothered to get a DNA test in the 27 years this woman has been alive.
When I was younger I spent 3 afternoons with him a week, and the occasional weekend. This was the legal agreement. When I reached 6th grade he stopped seeing me as much because he married a mystery woman I met all of 2 times in the 5 years they were together. I was not allowed at their house while he was married to her.
So this meant in high school we rarely saw each other. He would give me money for school and food, and make sure my mother’s antics hadn’t gotten me killed. He would call my phone, that he paid for. He saw me every six months at the most. I often went to see my grandmother more than him.
When he and his wife separated, he suddenly wanted to be in my life again. I had no idea what to say to him after years of not knowing him. But we tried. I spent half the summer with him between my junior and senior year. I got to read books and watch stupid movies all summer, while eating frozen pizza and ice cream. I was in teenage heaven.
When I was 17 he and my mother decided to get back together for awhile. I fought against it, but alas I was not successful. They lasted all of two months.
After college I ended up moving in with him and my grandmother. He tried to spend time with me, making up for those “missed,” years.
Did I mention that when I was 17 I snapped at him and told him he was nothing more than a ghost in my life?
But now I was 23, working full time, and trying to live my own life. He kept asking me to hang out when he was free. He never actually took into consideration anything I wanted to do. It had to be on his terms. He only wanted to hang out when he didn’t have a girlfriend. I felt like a distraction or a toy. With my own father.
Then it came time for me to move for a new job, and he decided he would give me his old car. The car that always needs work and will definitely die on me before fucking Christmas. He decided to give it to me, and that he needed $400 for registration fees and other things. He lied. He took my money and spent it on his lady and some marijuana. I was livid, and broke. And moving into an apartment. And moving.
He is my father. I know he loves me. I know he is selfish. I can never have a conversation with him, it’s to difficult. He doesn’t like that I’m involved with someone and that I spend time with them. He keeps trying to get me to come back “home,” and only see him. I hate it.
I’ve always had an easy relationship with my mother in terms of conversation and honesty. Though there is underlying tension in our relationship, there is also an easiness because really we both know that tension is there, and love each other in spite of that tension. My mom is the only person who I’ve seen sacrifice as much for people, including myself and my sister. When my father left me broke, who paid off my bills until I got paid again and gave me food until I could get it myself. Who fills up a grocery bag with misc. food items when I stop by? Who lets me do laundry, using her detergent, and cooks me food just because I stop by? My mother. I hate fighting with her over stupid stuff. She’s a mixed bag, but she’s one with support.
My dad loves me, he really does. But I don’t trust him at all. I hardly like him at this point. He’s disappointed me and I know I should really try to have a relationship with him, but I don’t want to only on his terms. He’s not evil, he doesn’t resent me.. he’s never had to take care of me enough to resent me. My birth and life had no affect on him, not like it did my mom. He had to pay child support but that is it.
My mom got into a horrible car accident 3 or 4 years ago. I remember because my sister called me at 3am crying, she was with my mom in the car when it happened. No one would listen to my sister, and no one else would come get her. I had no car and I was at my dad’s. I tried to get my dad to bring me down, but he said, “no, my car won’t make the trip, your mother can wait Rebecca,” and left it at that, shutting the door in my face. My exes grandparents made the trip down super early to get me in that stupid small town, to bring me to my mother and sister so I could take care of them. My father’s car could’ve made it, he’s the one who picked me up in the first place.
I never forgave him for making secret trips into the town I went to college in, just so I wouldn’t know he was there, so he could get his beer and pizza and then go fishing undisturbed. I caught him and he said hello, looked sheepish, and then left. I didn’t hear from him for a month.
Now he wants me around. But I just can’t do it. He’s never done anything for me. He’s always managed to abandon me at the most crucial of times. He doesn’t like to talk to me about hardships in my life. He thinks slipping me $30 is enough to make up for years of cold shouldering his daughter.
But, that’s life.