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Missing in Action This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Father's Name? Father's Occupation? Father's Address?"

What am I supposed to write? These questions are on every one of my college applications. Maybe I don't really have to answer them. I move on to other questions and hit another tough one.

"Are your parents divorced, married,single?" I check divorced.

"What is the date of their divorce?"

I have no idea. "Hey, Mom!" I shout. "When did you get your divorce?"

"November 1982," she replies after a pause. One year after I was born. "Let me show you something," she says.

"I don't wanna see anything," I shout back.

"Just come and look at this."

I walk into her room; the hope chest is open and I smell mothballs. When it's open she's walking down memory lane. She thrusts a paper in my face.

"This is what I got in the divorce." The hope chest is on the list.

"That's great. I don't care!" I say and walk out.

I don't care about the stuff, but I do care that I've never met my father. These college applications must be getting to me. Most seniors filling them out aren't pondering their father's name and address. They're worrying about the essays while I'm stumped by simple questions.

I pick up the Profile Application. I need to apply for financial aid, just like everyone else, but I need it badly. My father never paid child support and my mother has worked hard to support me. But hard work only goes so far and definitely doesn't come to $30,000 a year.

I'm bitter about that. I should have money coming to me; it would ease a lot of worry. But I'd rather be in debt than take his money. I probably will be in debt for the rest of my life.

I don't really want to meet him.Part of me does, but I could never love him the way I love my grandfather, my father figure. Seeing my father would just make me remember all the times my mother has cried. My life has been filled with talk about him. His supposedly unmentionable name is mentioned everyday. There is always a comparison between him and me, especially if I'm fighting with my mother. "Oh, you are just like him," she'll say. "He did the same thing." It's not like I can help it. I do have 23 genes from him! Every time his name is mentioned, my grandfather gets angry and shouts, "I never want to hear that name in my house." I don't blame him.

My grandfather really loved him. He took him to baseball games, bought him presents and treated him like the son he never had. And my father betrayed him. Thinking about that I'd like to spit in his face. I'd love to kick him for all the nights he has made my mother cry. I'd love to hurt him because I've never had a father.

He left my mother just after she had me, at Christmas, and he didn't care. He picked up his life and moved, supposedly. Everything is "supposedly" because all I have are stories.When we looked him up on the Internet once, we found his email and home address, far from where we live. I've never tried to reach him.

My father's father died a few years ago. My name wasn't listed in the obituary as one of his 11 grandchildren.Supposedly, his wife (my other grandmother) was a beautiful woman, a really good housekeeper, who brought up five children. But not well enough, as far as I'm concerned.

My mother did the best any single parent could do. I turned out better than okay for someone without a father. It's not really a big deal; I know a lot of people don't have fathers. I'm just glad I had my grandparents, who really love me. I've had everything I ever wanted and am probably spoiled, though definitely not a brat. I hear I have my father's love for computer games and music. Apparently he was a good musician and could play many instruments and sing. I wish I could have heard him.

I hate his pictures, though. He doesn't look like a kind man. There is one picture in my house of my parents together. I wish someone would take it down.It doesn't belong here. He doesn't deserve to be in my house, or my life. I'll take it down one day. But somewhere deep down I want to meet him. I wonder if he ever thinks about me?

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Tanay said...
Dec. 21, 2010 at 9:59 am:

Stop thinking about him, it will only make the matter worse, and decide as to what you want in life, your well wisher:)

 

 
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