One phone call was all it took. He didn’t even have to tell me anything for his once bright, blues
said everything I didn’t want to hear.
“I don’t understand, Dad. Why help the very people who have proven time and time again that
they are only using us?” I said, hatred consuming my voice.
My father, Justin Watson, purposely avoided looking at me. He knew as well as I did, if not,
better as to what had happened in the past.
The man slouched in his chair and said what he had been saying for years, “That’s no way to talk
about your relatives, Sydney.”
I felt my anger rising. Anger that I had suppressed for years. An anger that I had thought no
longer abided in me. Relatives. A word I abhorred, yet at the same time longed to use. It was the very
word that had caused my family and me years of pain and agony.
My father was a generous man and helpful to the point of gullibility. He would give up
everything for the sake of his family. He would sell everything if it meant comfort for his siblings. His
heart of gold differed greatly from that of his siblings’ rotten one.
His younger brother was a spoiled man, wanting everything with a snap of his fingers. He
committed crimes and was thrown in jail multiple times. Each time, he called my dad, begging and
pleading for him to pay his bail. My father’s soft heart caved, and he paid the bail each and every time
without fail. However, these acts of kindness did not strengthen their bond. In fact, it caused bitterness to
consume my uncle’s every thought and action. It got to the point where he forged my father’s signature
and took over his inheritance. The very inheritance my dear grandfather had left for his beloved older
son, my father. Still, my father’s love for him changed little.
My aunts, my father’s sisters were, if possible, even worse. Greed showed in their eyes and tone
all the time. They flattered him and guilt tripped him into giving them thousands of dollars. Yet, when my
father needed their help, they stabbed him in the back and didn’t look back. Still, his love for his sisters
It was a wonder my father turned out to be such a different man. It had always been a mystery to
me that my father was so different from his siblings. They all grew up in the same house. They learned
the same things and had the same influence from their parents. What factor evoked such a great difference
between my father’s and his siblings’ character and personal moral standards? The answer wasn’t deep or
thought provoking. It was simply the difference in heart. Everything my father learned, he took it to heart.
He learned the value of love and family from his father and never dismissed his father’s wise words from
his mind. His siblings, on the other hand, put on a facade of understanding and brushed off all they were
taught. They took for granted all the opportunities of repentance presented to them and walked into
the darkness, never looking back.
These were the stories I heard as I grew up. In school, I was known as the girl who had
everything. Everyone knew me as the girl who had a loving family and received the highest grades in
class. They envied me for all the right reasons but failed to see what I desired above all else, relatives.
Oh, how I envied my friends who told amusing stories regarding his aunts, cousins, and uncles! And, how
my blood boiled hearing them taking it all for granted!
My father cleared his throat and that brought me back to reality. I took a deep breath and tried to
get my emotions under control. I had promised myself long ago that I wouldn’t revisit these thoughts ever
again. I looked at my father’s face and saw the hint of lingering love he still felt for his siblings in his
eyes. It pained me to see him so desperate to keep his falling family together. To see him fulfill his
responsibilities to his family. To see him clutch onto even the slightest glimmer of hope that he could
“Why, dad?” I asked while I tried to choke back my tears. “Why do you insist on talking to them?
They betrayed and used us. You have experienced that time and time again! Then, why? Why?” I
screamed, finally letting tears roll down my cheeks.
The weight of all the varying emotions I was feeling overwhelmed me. It was too heavy. So
heavy that I fell to my knees and cried my heart out. I felt two strong, warm arms envelop me. I buried my
head in his chest and listened to his soothing heartbeat.
“You know as well as I do the reason why I help my siblings. They are the ones I grew up with. I
can’t abandon them. No matter how appalling they are, they are the only ones I have,” He whispered so
softly that I felt as if I had imagined them.
I knew exactly what held my father back from cutting all ties to his siblings. Years, ago my
grandfather, on his deathbed, just minutes away from the gates of death, made my father promise that he
would care for his siblings. My grandfather, a perceptive father, knew of his other children’s deceptive
and lofty actions. My father’s expressive, sapphire eyes welled up with tears that he had suppressed for so
long as he promised that no matter what happened he would honor his father’s last wish and keep their
family together. That was the day I saw the shine in my father’s eyes leave forever. An anguished look
remained in its stead, haunting me for the rest of my days.