My Father’s Day

A few weeks ago, the entire universe gave a grand salute to all fathers, father figures, even would-be fathers and mothers who fulfill the roles of fathers. While I did the same, I refused to greet my own father, whether it be on social media, or even my thoughts.

For reasons I dare not unearth, my dad left our home for a supposed meeting one dreary evening almost 39 years ago. That was the last time we saw him. It was a few months after I started first grade and just turned 6. And at this age, grown-ups would either discuss amongst themselves, or if they were within earshot, they would speak in ways only they understood. If you picked up bits and pieces of the discussion, they would make you feel you have no say in the discussion, because kids are not allowed to meddle in any grown-up conversation.

Daddy’s untimely departure left Mama and us all like fish out of water. Mama was quite young. Am sure she was perfectly clueless on how she was to care for six kids, the youngest of whom was a month old. Tatang and Ima came to our rescue.

There was no doubt in my mind they would do that. There was no question as to how much they loved us. Other relatives went on SOS mode as well. Young as I was, I realized how awkward it was to be dependent on relatives, no matter if they didn’t seem to mind.

The years would then pass us like a swift blur. In-between years, I would hear bits and pieces of the why and how Daddy left. He was supposed to have been part of some movement fighting for some cause. To this day, I never dared dig up on the details of any of that. Quite honestly, I see no point in doing so.

Whatever his reason for leaving, whatever group he was connected to, and whatever cause he was standing up for, I convinced myself that it was okay not to know. Come to think of it, Dad’s involvement in whatever or with whoever may have been the reason why I decided NOT to follow suit, as far as joining groups with a cause were concerned. Lest I end up staging a disappearing act of my own, I felt it was best for me to steer clear. I have backed fraternity-sorority groups and student organizations, but never really joined. It was enough for me to stay in the sidelights and be friends with them, rather than be one of them. Was that the safety net I established for myself? Maybe so.

I definitely wonder how different life would have been for all of us had Dad not made a French exit. People within and outside the family would describe him as someone who is extremely protective of his loved ones; one who would not give ferocity a second thought once it is called for. Yet, he is also described to have a gentle, compassionate heart. He was, by Mama’s account, a loving husband. I think the few years I got to spend with him would prove him to be a caring, pampering dad.

I would like to say that I miss Dad. I probably do. But I think my anger outweighs my longing for him. I am angry with him. I wish I could tell him to his face how angry I am about his unannounced, unplanned disappearance. Sadly, there is no opportunity for this… at least not in this life.

I long for the day that I would miss him. I would like to be able to tell good stories about him to my children. I know his grandchildren would love to learn about him someday. I hope to be able to talk about him. One of these days, I will. One of these days, I should. One of these days, I would.

Daddy would have been 78 today.