Nay_ho_tze's Medicine Musings

Nay_ho_tze and JJD
Nay_ho_tze and JJD
Nay_ho_tze and JJD

Father’s Day,
or, a firstborn's POV

it’s always been for someone else’s father that i’ve celebrated -
a caretaker’s husband, the father of my children, his father …
i own not a single memory celebrating Father’s Day with my own father
(or, at least the one they told me was my father)
and by the time i was old enough to understand what a holiday was,
he wasn’t making his twice-yearly visits to the landlady anymore, 
busy with the Navy and his single life –

he was my hero just the same – and how i adored him!
i waited my second, third, fourth year for the sea to bring him back -
and i asked for a very long time, is daddy coming today?
until one day frustration demanded that i “not ask that anymore” –
my question may have been silenced, but i kept on waiting …

and then paradox of paradoxes when he’d arrived:
i was so very intensely shy
that just thinking of the livingroom where he sat 
brought breathless, heart-racing panic -

i'd manage to hide myself behind the couch he was on -
when i would inevitably hear the landlady say,
‘no, you mustn’t go get her – she has to get over being shy –
she’ll come out on her own eventually!’

truth is that’s all i wanted, needed – my father to come get me …
i was in torturous hell, frozen into paralysis 
so close to him, to hear his voice 
all the while my brain screamed run to him …
but yet not a single muscle moved…

i remember once it took me 3 days of a 5 day visit …
it was my rude awakening to the illusion of time 
and how it can steal what does not exist  …
i was three

shortly after i started first grade, the decision was made
for me finally to live with him … and his new wife –
six years later, he sent me back to the landlord –
it was supposed to be temporary –
he’d come into hard times, 
having been recently laid off, 
and the car wreck -
and his wife newly pregnant (#3)
all this had happened in a matter of weeks,
and i was old enough to understand the implications ...

so when he asked if i’d like to visit the landlady 
just until he got back on his feet, he said, maybe a couple months –
i trusted him – and i agreed – 

destiny can be so cruel

in Boston’s North Station, the landlady had a different story –
she said, while i was en route, a conversation between her and my father had established new rules, and that they involved adoption –
and that i was to agree right then and there -
or else i was to turn around and return to my father – 
helluva decision for a 10 year old –
i knew i was an extra mouth for him to feed – 
i ‘accepted’ the arrangement when permission to write him was granted
of course, you can write to him

adoptions, even when insidious connections speed things up 
and even bypassing legal requirements altogether,
adoptions take time  –
and during that period i wrote to my father every day –
after all his daughter is a writer; so what else would she do?
he never wrote back ever …

in my 30s we had an unexpected, awkward and brief encounter –
out of the blue (because i had no intention of bringing it up), 
my father asked me why i’d never responded to any of his letters  -
shocked, i asked him the same before recognizing destiny again -:
the landlady had obviously intercepted sll our letters –
that’s why she’d always offered to mail my letters to him -
and incoming mail was delivered before school let out –

intercepted letters, i tried to explain to my father,
but he didn’t believe me –
he died convinced i had rejected him –
when in truth his own guilt over his firstborn’s lot
had blinded him to a daughter's unconditional love


…how did i find out he’d crossed?
the internet when one night his obituary, dated 6 months earlier,
just popped up on my screen -

he'd crossed right before the previous Christmas ...
apparently he'd died ‘surrounded by his family decorating the tree.’
the
list of survivors was incomplete 

like James Taylor,  i guess i always thought i’d see him again 

NHT
©2014