His letter to me in 1980 was in response to a letter I’d sent several months prior. He makes mention of this. I gather that in my letter I mentioned the plan to “hook up” with the man who would become father to my son and daughter, he makes mention of this as well, advising me to “be careful.” This communication in 1980 would have marked the first such communication in several years—on either side. I was trying to get past an intense hatred I felt for him. I don’t know what his motivations were. He said he loved me. I had a very difficult time believing he felt anything akin to love towards me.
Since 1980 there have been perhaps ten letters between us—his to me were usually in response to one of mine to him, always several months or years after the fact. Since 1980 I have seen him twice, talked with him on the phone perhaps a half-dozen times—the last time maybe 3 years ago. He did call and leave a message on the machine a year ago. When he didn’t call back like he said he would, I called him—got his machine, left a message of my own. I’d resigned myself to his silences leading into this exchange of messages. I’ve had to all over again. The silences really don’t bother me that much anymore. I prefer the silence over the lies.
In the years since 1980 I’ve come to feel something other than intense hatred for him. In all likelihood it wasn’t even hatred I was feeling. How could I hate my father? I didn’t even know him, not really. Further, what I’ve come to realize over that time-line was I don’t want to know him. Really, I don’t.
Still, he’s been on my mind a lot lately. Perhaps the letter, perhaps the birth date that recently passed, perhaps my younger brother—his spitting image—kicking up dust these days, is bringing him to my mind, perhaps.
The last time we talked he told me he loved me. I still have a hard time believing that sentiment. How could he love me? He doesn’t know me any better than I know him. Further, the realization has finally settled into my head, my bones, my soul-he doesn’t ever want to know me. Really, he doesn’t.