He was like the moon: present, but not always visible. Aloof, mysterious and often hidden by dark clouds. Impossible to look away from and even harder to fathom. My father was a real scientific mystery. And it seemed as if he intended for it to stay as much.
For years on end, I found myself puzzled by his indifference and rigid nature. I would lay at night, the endless questions stabbing at my side, hungry for answers, yet never fed. Who was this stranger that I called Dad? Who was he internally? Emotionally? Physically? I yearned to unravel him, like string from a ball of yarn, but he gave away nothing, speaking no words from his past.
“Always looking to the future, that father of yours,” my mother often joked.
So much so that he missed the present.
Though I would never dare say that outloud.
Yet, I recognized the respect in my mother’s eyes as she tenderly gazed at him, although I could never mimic it. How could I admire this man who wore as many masks as there were phases of the moon?
This man, who had never embraced me or delicately tucked me in bed, how could he walk into a room and command its attention? Willing even the walls to bend at his command. This man who rarely smiled and still possessed my mother’s tender heart. This man, who had failed me and triumphed with others.
Still, there was a trace of compassion to him. On occasion, I catch glimpses of it, just fragments, before it abruptly disappates, making me think it was a mirage. Then, as suddenly as it vanishes, it reappears, slipping in as he strokes my mother’s hair, or just now as he affectionately turns the page of the newspaper.
Unaware of my probing eyes.
Or my silent thoughts.
That was his way. Present, but never within reach.
I began to regularly find myself constantly at war, occasionally drawn to his reservations and other times repulsed by it. At times, I craved to unearth even the dullest of his interests, the smallest of his desires. To fully be aware of his presence and to experience the loss of it in his absence.
Most often though, I wished to switch roles and finally witness the Moon orbiting the Earth for once. Like it’s supposed to.