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

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   The last and only presents that my father bought me were a bike and a Barbie doll ... when I was six years old. I remember them very well. The bike had a purple banana seat with unicorns on it. On the side was printed FANTASIA. The Barbie doll was a Wedding Barbie. She was the first black Barbie I ever had. She wore a white iridescent gown and clear shoes with silver sparkles in them. This was the first and last time I saw my father. And until this past June, it was the last time I had any contact with him.

When my mother met my father, he was 19, five years younger than my mother. He didn't treat my mother very well and was immature. When my mother told him that she was pregnant, she says that he jumped up and down on the couch in excitement. I find this difficult to believe because he soon left my mother and unborn daughter. I never knew much about my father except his name, that he was in the Navy and from Florida.

Last June, my mother found an old phone book, one containing my father's phone number. It didn't take much longer than five minutes for me to decide to call him and when I did, the woman who answered said that she was my father's ex-wife and that he was in Cuba. I told her my name and that I was Derrick's daughter. She didn't seem surprised and said she'd give him the message.

The next day there was a message from him on our answering machine. He said that he would call back later. I was excited and nervous at the same time. I didn't know what I really wanted to say to him. The worst part was wondering what he was going to say to me.

That afternoon he called, and I answered the phone. But he didn't talk to me; he asked for my mom. I talked to him, and it was nothing like I expected. I started crying as soon as I heard his voice. He told me to stop, but I couldn't help it. I asked him why he hadn't called or been in touch, and he didn't really answer me. He told me that he would call the following week and also would send me a letter with some pictures.

Surprisingly, he called the next day and talked to my mother again, telling her how excited he was that I had gotten in touch with him. The call was disconnected and he didn't call back. I didn't get the answers that I had wanted, but I did learn more about him: he is divorced with a son and two daughters. The son is a little younger than I. He is stationed in Cuba and will be receiving his 20-year pension in June and return to the United States. I guess that he just moved on with his life and forgot about his first daughter, who wondered about him all the time.

When I was little, I used to tell the other kids that I didn't have a father because I thought I didn't. I didn't realize that I had a father; he just wasn't around like one. I still don't understand how a father could treat his daughter, his first child, like that. My mother always told me that he was just young and irresponsible. He never proved her wrong about the irresponsible part. In my whole life, I never received a birthday card or a letter from him. Until June, I had never talked to him on the phone. I don't understand how he could live without ever having contact with me.

I'll never know what it's like to have both my biological parents living together and raising me. I have another father who has raised me and taken responsibility for me. When I need something, I go to him. When I do something good, he's the one who's proud of me. He taught me the difference between right and wrong and how to take responsibility for my actions. He's been more of a father to me for the nine years since he's been married to my mother than my biological father could ever make up for.

I still wonder about my father, and talking to him has sort of enhanced my curiosity about him. He told my mother that he had been waiting for my phone call for the past sixteen years and wants to establish a relationship with me at any time in my life. But I think I'm the one who has been waiting for the phone call or the letter. He has two other daughters with whom he can have relationships and they can probably make him forget all about his "missing daughter." No matter what a good father my stepfather has been to me, he can't ever make me forget about how my "missing father" deserted 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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