I haven't talked to the man I think of as my father for nearly thirty-five years. I should wonder if he cares, but honestly the years have worn away the care. Now, it is nearly bore.
That is what I will tell you. I am loud out here so you cannot see me in the quiet.
The man my mom married was not my biological father but for as much as it mattered, he was. I had aunts, uncles, cousins, a grandmother. A whisper. When the marriage ended, the relationships carried on for a while. Then days and distances and no more.
They are my family. But then, too, for as much as it matters they are not.
And all the accoutrements of family -
the comfort and taste of my aunt's food
the familiar ripple of my uncle's gold chain against his neck
the laugh that shares and shakes cousins on a couch too small for all to fit
those are for dreaming days in a waking world.
And there's no one to blame and no tonic but your own.
I'm currently on a path to reconnect with my father's family, a ride on an un-beckoned wave. For what purpose? Really, I will not know.
I'll say I go to show my children. I do not urge them past their own fears or deepest weakness capriciously. I travel in the direction of my hurt as I would point them in the direction of theirs, to face it. When for them, I hold them firmly against me so my heat can be felt through whatever armor, so they know they are loved. We walk together.
Still, I fail in that I do not believe it for myself.
That is the damage that cannot be undone.
Most people look at the family I have made and think it's idyllic. I am cured with that irony and laugh for its deliciousness. It is real. And then, despite my wanting not to, I brace for the hurt and return to the quiet.