Its been 10 years
“Its been 10 years at least since I’ve heard from my father,” she said.
She was in her late twenties by then. More successful than most if not all of the people she grew up with. Not that she kept in touch or checked. Or particularly cared except for the handful of mean girls from elementary school. One especially awful twat ended up a single mom working at a gas station.
Not that single motherhood was anything to be ashamed of. Her mother had raised her and her little sister alone and had done so with power and grace. She knows she reflects on her raising with an intense bias but her mother was her idol if she had one. Her mom who had survived abuse from the man she loved, her own family and herself never understood herself to be a victim and never acted like one. In fact, her mother thrived. Her mom was beautiful and honest and opinionated. Her mom had raised and home-schooled two girls who were active in community sports all while running a successful business. Her mom was practically a caricature of a modern self-made woman.
She wanted to be just like her mom and she was except of course she was only single and not a single mother. She wasn’t sure if she was single actually. She was dating a really nice man. She thought they were kind of casual though he always took her out on Saturday nights and he always bought her girlfriends drinks and stayed the night after. But he had used the word boyfriend in passing and now she wasn’t sure.
He wasn’t like the other boys she had been interested in. She had a definite type before him. She rejected completely the notion that her dating preferences had any connection to a “daddy issue” because of her absent father. They had been nothing like her father. But they hadn’t ever liked her back for long. They too had been absent in a way. Giving affection then rejecting it. But she had many friends with many different fathers who had similar challenges.
Her father though was nothing to her.
“I was just a kid then. Now I’m old,” she said remembering the last time he knew anything about her. “I should feel sad.”
She would be unrecognizable to him and he to her. Entire lifetimes and worlds had passed since they last encountered one another. She had a masters degree. She had two cats. She had an apartment where every time people visited they’d exclaim “wow your place is huge.” Last she’d seen him he’d been doing okay which bothered her because of the injustice. And she had been a teenager so she had nothing but a sweet boyfriend she loved and a favorite black hoodie. She didn’t even have the same personality anymore.
But she wasn’t sad. She was hardly even angry. She wasn’t angry actually. There was another feeling there to replace whatever emotion it was. There was an empty sort of burning. An active apathy.
Some people are just so far from God. Her mother had once said that when her father was young he wasn’t so far. But the distance grows. And then there are mountains between. And the saddest part, the part she thought she should feel sad about, was that God makes it so perfectly easy to come back. He doesn’t even see the mountains. He’d move them right aside. But these people, her father, so far from God don’t see it. They’re too busy building mountains.
She didn’t think about it being 10 years since she’s seen him very often. She didn’t let this part of her story define her in even the slightest way. She preferred to allow her mother to define her in every way even her flaws. And she was so flawed. She had terrible body image and she obsessed about diet and exercise sometimes. She was really bad about tidying and she was always late for everything. She liked to stay out a little too late and drink a little too much on Saturday nights and she placed a lot of value in what her friends thought of her.
But those are mole hills not mountains. And in ten years she would not have a child thousands of miles away realizing they hadn’t spoken for a decade. In ten years she wouldn’t even realize the significance of that accomplishment. Ten years was a long time.