When the latest friend, beaming in her overpriced wedding dress, gushes over lace and obsesses over rhinestones and imagines that coveted first look, I miss him. When I sit at a table, my fourth glass of wine in hand, and watch as she dances with a man who would give his life to make her happy, I miss him. A look of love and admiration and pride is shared between the two and I realize I will never experience such a serene moment.
When a new someone comes barreling into my life, dominating my weeknights and securing my weekends and inhabiting every picture I take, I miss him. It’s inevitable that I will draw parallels and hold comparisons and seek out similarities and differences between the two. The addition of one man highlights the subtraction of another and I cannot accept an equation that equals disappointment.
When a movie highlights a love and connection and respect that most seem to understand thoroughly, I miss him. A character feels safe around him when I was always scared and a character can rely on him when I was always unsure and the only word that can adequately describe my longing is “unfair”. There isn’t an optimistic thought or well-intentioned word or comforting platitude that will relieve the painful void.
When he reaches out to me only to relay a message to the child he favors, I miss him. My existence isn’t worth his humble brag, my accomplishments not worth mentioning or admiring or a spot on a wall in his office. I wasn’t made with what he values and wasn’t stitched together with what he respects and I leave only a sense of longing in his spine. An annoying tingle of potential wasted.
There won’t be a walk down a decorated isle or a dance to rival all dances or a grandfather proud to hold his grandchildren. There won’t be family vacations and epic stories and welcoming meals, passed down from generation to generation.
His fists made sure of that.
His hurtful screams and hateful words and angry punches solidified that. When he put my mother in the hospital and when he hit my brother over and over and when he choked me for simply disagreeing with him during a football game, he made what is possible for so many impossible for me.
It isn’t my father I miss. That man robbed me of happy holidays and a safe home and a secure relationship. That man robbed my mother of true intimacy and self-esteem and a support system she could safely rely on. That man refused to guide my brother and give him respect, only teaching him what not to do by example.
I miss the father everyone else has. The father who looks at his daughter with an endless love as if she had just been born twice. The father who would do anything to protect his children and values them for simply being his own and loves their mother with every fiber of his being.
I miss the father I’ve never known.