An Open Letter To An Absent Father
I'm here to say I finally know I'll never try to contact you. I'm here to say I'm happy you've never been around. I guess I'm here to truly say goodbye like we never have.
I have few memories of you, the main one probably being seeing you without a moustache for the first time. But the only thing I really remember of that encounter is feeling that something had changed. I vaguely recall something about having not seen you for a while. Maybe it was the beginning of the end already. I don't know, I was about six. To be honest, I can't even picture your face.
Then there was the time we nearly met after years of not seeing you. I think I was eleven by then. I wasn't even sure I wanted to see you, I think I felt an obligation. You made it easy by not showing up and then shouting at my mum over the phone, blaming her for stopping you seeing us. It was a relief and a disappointment at the same time that that meeting never happened. I know now it was definitely for the best.
Those are my memories of you. That's the bulk in all honesty, with a few scattered about that are more vague. They don't add up to much, I guess that's why I'm not upset by them. I guess that's why it's hard to describe to other people how I've not missed you. I don't think I've ever felt hurt by you, or angry at you, or broken because you weren't there. That's just me, I can't speak for anyone else who's got an absent parent.
I often thought, when I was in my teens, if I was ever getting married I would feel the need to seek you out. I'd find you easily, ask for a meeting which you'd agree to. I'd tell you about the wonderful person I'd met. We'd catch up, and then leave each other alone again. I did think such a life event would mean I'd care. But it didn't. I got married this year and you were never part of my plans.
Now, my new husband and I have spoken about children. Not yet, but in a few years. Adjusting to the idea and sort of mentally preparing ourselves for it. It's scary and exciting, and the thought of you popped into my head again, but not with a yearning for a father - for a more detailed family medical history. I want to know how much I take after you genetically. But I won't even contact you for that because I can get genetic testing done for £150.
This train of thought made me finally realise that nothing will bring us together. If anything, the idea makes the distance even more stark and more real than I ever really considered. Soon, I might know what it's like to be a parent, a mother. My husband might know what it's like to be a father. The idea swells my heart because he's so kind and so full of love, and intelligence, and gentleness that he's going to fucking nail parenthood if and when we get there.
You never did. You never will.
I'm not angry about that, it's a pity that you never had it in you. Parenthood is an act of love and courage beyond what I know, at least we have that much in common. So, this is where I truly say goodbye. We have no reason to meet and neither of us have any desire to do so.
Goodbye, Tim. Never has an absence been more peaceful or more welcome.