The list of those who could likely claim his genetic parentage, though, is rumored to rival the list of those who know. But the list, as far as I know was never found after he died, and then the wife he had been with died. So is it fact or fiction? I will quite possibly never know for sure.
But the tale of my father, and the story that results, is one that often seems to intrigue and entertain those I share it with. There are those in the family who are horrified, and aghast about it all, quite possibly embarrassed. Me? Not in the least. I didn't do what this man did. I barely even knew him.
It wasn't even until I was around 13, and kinda going insane (another story), that I even found out that this man I called "uncle" was actually my father. I had known him as a friend of the family, a friend of my mom's. He lived in Florida, and every now and again he would come up to New York to visit.
For years I wanted to know who my father was, but it was some big freaking secret that no one wanted to reveal. I had visions in my head of who the man could be, and when the time came and I found out who he was, he didn't measure up. I was disappointed.
Even on his visits, I do not remember spending time with him. I remember he brought jeans once, but they were too much of a skinny fit for my build. I felt embarrassed that they did not fit. I am not sure I was a "fat" size back then, as a I now look at pictures and wonder why comments were made about me being chubby. But, needless to say, that did not go over well.
He visited once (that I remember) after I knew who he really was. I hid out in the bathroom, and wouldn't come out. Not sure why, but I could not face him. They tried for quite some time to coax me out, but I just wasn't gonna have it.
At some point, we wrote letters when I was away at boarding school. Not sure how many, or over what length of time, and I think I threw them out at some point thinking there was no reason to save them. I was obviously unaware that my future self might one day want to pour over them like a detective might for details.
I am not sure when we stopped writing, and I got a call one day at college that told me he had died. I did not know what to make of it. Any opportunity that I might have had to ask about his side of the story was now forever gone. I never once saw him face to face after I knew that that "uncle" was actually "father."
In its finality, everything felt different.
I think about him on and off. I wonder a whole bunch of "what ifs?" I suppose that is inevitable in a situation like this. Today, though, was the first time I found myself wondering if I would have actually liked him, had a I gotten to know him. Would he have charmed me, too, if I had given him a chance? Or is it possible I did not like him on some core level - which is why he never got that chance?
Of course, these are questions I will never have answers to.
I find myself thinking things I never thought before recently. "Funny" how you get in a groove on a track and don't even realize it. To be thinking these things is pretty wild, and also not an easy thing. When you can be so convinced about something, it is best when everything around it substantiates it. When there start to be questions, then there can also be stuff like regret. We all know how much THAT sucks. If we learn new information, then we wind up questioning ourselves. It can get rather ugly, especially if we are willing to be responsible for whatever role we played in it all.
When it comes to my past, I know I am far from perfect. But I also know that the situation I was dealt to deal with was pretty messed up. I did the best I could within the context I was given. It is really hard to grow up in a world that only shows emotions in unhealthy ways, that is secretive, that is judgmental and come out unbiased/untouched by those things.
Feeling really emotional at the moment, but not entirely sure why.
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