daddy dearest…

i just read a post over at cathjenkin’s blog  which amounts to a love paean to fathers. it’s left me feeling rather wistful. and thinking that she’s really lucky to have known and know amazing father figures.

it leaves me  with a mix of gratitude to know such men exist and jealousy that i personally never knew such fathers. father’s day has never really featured in my life and when friends have spoken about their fathers with affection and love and longing, it’s always left me with a sense of wonder. such men are the equivalent of the unicorn, or the phoenix. magical fantasy creatures.

even when my (half) sister talks of our father and of missing him, i can’t reconcile the person who essentially abandoned me, with the person she remembers. and i’m a little jealous.

i met my dad for the first time when i was 14. i was standing on the stoep of his house in the bo-kaap (one of 3 connecting houses he owned and which were later sold for pittance) when i saw this fair, red-faced, sandy-haired, pot-bellied man come ambling up the road. he looked at me and said, “don’t tell me you’re sandra” and i, expecting a hero, but meeting merely a man, looked him straight in the eye and said, “no, i’m not”. those, literally, are the first words i remember exchanging with my father. from hearsay, i understand that i get my love of crossword puzzles and words from him, but i have no first hand experience. what i do remember is on the few occasions i did see him after that, him saying things like, “why must your hair always stand on end?” and at the time, i guess it did. even now, from time to time, it still does.

and my step-father? i won’t even start on the hell he put me through from the ages of 4 to 16, as well as the damage to my adult psyche i’ve only recently felt mostly healed from.

pen sketch i did as therapy circa 1994

so when i read posts like the one mentioned above, i can’t help but feel a little envy.

one of exmi’s fb updates today  was a quote which read “It is much easier to become a father than to be one.” ~Kent Nerburn

all i can say about my father and my step-father is that they epitomized that statement. from the one i got no attention, from the other, i got the kind of attention no child should ever get from an adult.

i forgive them. may they rest in peace.