Not Everyone’s Father Is A Hero

 Sylvain Reygaerts
Sylvain Reygaerts

I wonder what makes us mark a few days with labels and commemorate them as special even when the celebrations are social media centric. I remember when I was a kid celebrating mum’s birthday was more about going to movies with her or make her a cup of tea and a beautiful handmade card with a childish poem scribed on it but the price of those collected smiles on her face is still embossed profoundly in my heart.

No, I am not just ranting about a trend of celebrating Father’s day to Friendship day and every other relative day for that matter but it makes me drown in thoughts, have we not squeezed our definitions of efforts and compromised on our language of love and time? I would any day prefer to go on a walk in the rain with my father where petrichor fills my heart with oodles of love, splashing small puddles of rain water and listening to some nostalgic stories.

A few days back when the world was busy posting photographs with their fathers and I was questioning the significance of all this it pinched me hard and what about daughters like me?

Everyone’s father is a hero and mine? A flesh of egoist manhood who never called my name with affection, never hugged me rather killed my childhood, the grief of which has stuck in my life like black tar; it never goes off.  I was nine or ten when I became this child full of anger amidst small little bundles of joy in everyone’s playful lives but mine. I was fearful of a man whom I looked upon with utmost hope. He was my first hope and my worst battle where no one wins, the red simply bleeds off for a lifetime.

While everyone posted a heroic story by the end of the father’s day I ended up writing something like this:

Not everyone’s father is a hero.

They kill childhoods with whisks of drunken nights and sullen, hollow homes. 
They never gift doll houses, sketches or books. 
They never remember birthdays as celebrations; rather it’s a day embarking a sorrow.
There are no summer holidays together, not even a Sunday brunch.
They leave imprints of violence, abuse and several nights of suffering and tears.
Their children never see galaxies and stars and rainbows, not even their favourite cartoon films on TV. They crush under the silhouettes of dominance, ignorance and lies, a daughter’s dream tale, her voice and desires.
Their children never know the touch of love, lullabies that bring peaceful sleeps.
They roam escaping family, an absent figure.
They are not the ones children wait for, I always felt so free when he wasn’t at home.
His room and work place took no space when he wasn’t there, quiet like a lonely song, how well I could empathise with them.
They are unknown and unheard.
And yet the grief for a lifetime remains: it’s irreparably painful to forget them, abandon them.
Give them the same pain back.
Their children grow up with a heart full of rage and rebel and do you know whom do they wound the most?
Themselves.
Not everyone’s father is a hero.

While some tales are written sans hero in real life, may be that makes me anti one day celebration for our fathers or mothers or friends who make the pages of our stories look vibrant enough. What would you love to look back at after years? Facebook memories or an album full of snaps, yellow pages full of words you once wrote for them, souvenirs you brought for them, labyrinth of memories and some laughter bubbles to cherish forever. TC mark

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