I do not have a father. It has been fourteen years, and not once, have I seen or heard from this man. You may want to give me a hug, thank you, but I do not want or need your pity.
I was five when I was told of my past. I felt an outbreak of emotions and feelings from anger to solemn guilt. I felt different from the rest, which I was but for many reasons. Although, as time passed, I realized something.
June 18th, 2009
“Noor, come on, it’s time for lunch!” called one of my friends with a huge grin plastered onto her face.
“Coming!” I yelled under my breath as I sprinted back.
That day was like no other for various reasons; it was the last day of school. The arrival of the annual summer kick-off barbecue, complete with an array of fun activities and colorful bounce houses was guaranteed to cause a crowd of screaming, jubilant children. This joyous occasion was a welcoming entry into a relaxing vacation. It was also the mark of new beginnings and journeys to embark on.
I had stealthily grabbed the last popsicle from the dessert table and made my way under the white, carnival tent alongside a mob of my peers.
“SO, what are you doing for Father’s Day, Sue?”
“My dad and I are going to a fancy restaurant for dinner on Sunday.”
“Lucky! We are going to the Townsend Plaza,” said Raina, her voice
raising with indirected scorn.
“We are going to…” I cannot recall the rest of what one of my friends said because I was too occupied in trying to come up with an excuse.
A deep pit of guilt, shame, anger, and sadness had begun to accumulate in my body like hot, sizzling lava roaring in a volcano.
“Oooh! My dad is taking me to a Tiger’s Game. GO TIGERS!”
“I’m going to Chicago along with my parents and two brothers.”
“Regina, where are you going?” Their attention immediately turned to me. I sat there motionless-not a word to say. I choked under pressure.
“Uhh, nothing much really.”
“Oh, come on, you must do something special with your dad like the rest of us.”
“I...I...I don’t have a father,” I said ashamed of myself. They were left flabbergasted-frozen in shock with vacant eyes.
“Uhhh…” Trying to change the subject to avoid any other questions,
I rapidly concocted a distraction and drove my friends away to the necklace making table.
Phew. Having heard my friends’ extravagant plans with their loving fathers made me feel small- weak even. Logically, it is not that I do not have a father; I do have one, but he doesn’t live up to the name; he left me due to the fact that I am a girl! He didn’t even bother to show up for my birth. I might have been named after a queen, but I did not feel like one.
Soon after, as the sun began to fade, we said our farewells, and I had made my way home. Was I jocund, melancholic, or furious? How about all three? I was certain that I had felt a mixture of all rollercoaster emotions throughout the few hours I was at school.
In the car, I was delivered wonderful news. How could I have forgotten? The annual fishing trip!
Every year since I was two, my grandfather would drive me up to the lake near our house on Father’s Day where we would spend time together fishing. The endless fits of laughter, the excitement I would feel through birdwatching… my sweet escape-my getaway from reality.
Now, it may sound bewildering or uncanny, but it brings me pleasure. The pleasure of spending quality time with my grandfather who has always picked me up when I was down; helped me find the light and feel strong. Most importantly, he always cared for me and my well-being.
On our trip a few days later by the sparkling, blue lake as the sun went down, my grandfather told me, “I want to live to see the day where you shine and help this turn this world into a better place. Remember to always show kindness to everybody even if they had hurt you. If you work hard and use good moral behavior, you can change the world.”
At that moment, I knew... my grandfather is the only father I need.
This is my life, and I am proud of it. It had its challenges as nothing comes easy, but that is life-rebuilding a kingdom no matter what battles one would face. How I learn from these battles is what truly matters.
This was my journey.