Empty seat: growing up fatherless
It is crazy how I can go seventeen years without seeing someone, but his face still appears in all my dreams. Though the memories fade, that face still haunts me. I question myself constantly, wondering did I do something wrong? Is there something I could have said to make him stay? Maybe if I was a boy his love for me would be stronger.
My dad left when I was two. I still remember the last time he ever told me that he loved me. The way the word “love” slipped off of his passionless tongue. I remember the last hug I ever received from him; it was hard for me to let go of his cadaverous grasp back then. I also remember the way he talked to my mom, screaming at her, throwing things in an attempt to validate his irrational point. I remember hiding in my room while he slapped my brother because he forgot to take the trash out. I remember my father for the ferocious man he was, but I also remember the love I truly felt for him.
The day my dad left he decided I would never go to a Daddy/Daughter dance. The day my dad left he decided there would be an empty chair at my graduation. He decided to never walk me down the aisle. He decided to never meet his future grandchildren. The day my dad left he made 1,000 decisions, but he did not take into account that he was leaving a child who would grow up to be a woman. He decided to leave a child who looked past him leaving, who forgave him for the mistakes he made. He decided to leave his child, who despite growing up with a single mother, grew up strong.
As I got older, I figured out that it was never my fault my father left. I did not do anything wrong; there is nothing I could have said, and being a boy would not have changed a thing. My father left because of his own pure selfishness. Taking on a life with a child, a wife and a family was not what he envisioned for his own lifestyle. His life consisted of drugs, alcohol, and partying. Having a daughter was only a burden for his self-serving desires, but one would think after having two children in a previous relationship, whom he also abandoned, he would not have procreated any longer.
As I am approaching my eighteenth birthday, I have realized how lucky I actually am. Yes, my father left me, but because of him leaving I transformed into the woman I had always hoped to be. I transformed into my mother, who all her life got the short end of the stick, whose husband left her with two small children, who would go days without eating dinner just so her children could. My mother is my father, and I could not have asked for a better childhood. Sure, growing up without money was hard, but we got through it. I created a life for myself beyond my depression due to growing up fatherless.
I am a fierce woman, and no father, no man and no human being could change my optimistic outlook on life. I now thank my father for leaving because maybe if he stayed around I would not have found my place in this world.