I don’t really know what this is but I thought I should write this down somewhere or talk about it. But for the first time in over a decade I went and had a coffee with my estrange father. It was Wednesday June 3rd 2020. The last time I had any real form of relationship with my father would have been when I was in Year 4, 2005 around the age of 10 or 11. I remember that I didn’t even cry when I was first told, while my younger brother and sister where bawling there eyes out on the couch next to me. I rang my best friends mum, Matt Newman and asked if he was allowed to get on world of warcraft because I couldn’t voice what happened. I told him in the games text messenger that my parents where getting a divorce. The first time I actually cried about it was when two girls stole my hat a week later and I broke down because I couldn’t hold it in anymore. After that I found out lots of the kids had parents who had been divorced but that didn’t really make me feel much better at all, as I cried for almost the entire hour of lunch.
My father left my family for a young asian bride Jing who he married in secret a few years later. Seeing my father in those years was tough as he would try his best to be a good father but he was emotionally incapable to relate with me anymore. The first time I decided I didn’t want to see him was after I had found out that he had married this woman and asked me to come meet her. I was angry and bitter and it wouldn’t help that I would see my mother crying on the phone for him to come back. It felt like a personal betrayal to me as well, that he would not even tell us about what was going on. I would begin to refuse to go see my father until it got to the point that I hadn’t seen him in about a year or so.
When I was 14 I decided to try and reach out to my father on my own accord and ignore his new wife. All I wanted was my own Dad back. I couldn’t deal with seeing this new lady. But every time my father would try and force me to come and meet her. Until it got to the point where my own father was refusing to see not only me but my brother and sister, unless I went and met his new bride. He organised to go to the footy with me and my brother without telling us that he was bringing Jing. Some how before mum dropped us off I found out and refused to go. I spoke with my Dad on the phone and told him I wasn’t coming anymore.
Eventually I collapsed under the pressure and I gave in, going to met this lady for the sake of my own relationship with my father as well as my brother and sisters. I would begin to see my father less and less again over the next few months. One of my last encounters with my Dad was at his house in Frankston where he drank himself to a point where he thought it would be appropriate to try to explain what had happened with our family. But he couldn’t follow through with it either. He just gripped me by the shoulder and repeatedly talked about how “when I was older I would understand and he would explain everything”. My memory of this is foggy since it was happening inside the dim lit garage because I used it as an excuse to search through all the tools and junk as not be in the house with Jing. This was one of the last times that I really interacted with my father as again I distanced myself.
It got to the point where Jing became pregnant with another child. But my father didn’t tell me about it until the point where the child was about was due. But it wasn’t him that told us, it was my Auntie who came over to our house and told my mother. They then spoke with us. So I knew that I would have another brother soon. Then my father took us to La Porchetta in Mentone. I knew he was planning on telling us because he had dressed up and Jing was in attire only for such a fine occasion that La Porchetta could provide. Instead again he never spoke of it or brought it up. The entire time I sat there nervous waiting for him to finally tell me. But he never did. I came home and a week or so passed and the child was born. The last time I spoke with Dad was on the phone where he had the audacity to ask why I hadn’t come and met my new brother yet. I told him that he never even told us about the kid and then he began to yell at me that he did. I just continued to cry and yell that he never told us and that our Auntie had told us before hand. I threw the phone and continued to cry while Dad would yell at mum to put me back on the phone and I refused to speak with him.
And that was that. I never spoke or talked with my father again. Every now and then he would try and talk to me when picking up my sister and brother, or messaging me happy birthday over Facebook messenger. But I never spoke with him or saw him again until just recently. I have a lot of mixed emotions about it all now but I decided to just go and speak with him. I didn’t feel angry or resentment anymore and any notion of yelling at him or even talking about these past events. My youngest half brother is now in primary school and again my father is divorced. I don’t really know to what extent my relation with my own father will be going forward either but I thought that it was about time to move on from the past. I have had my cry facing these emotions alone and it was about time.
Of course there is more to all this and it may come across as almost emotionless but this is about all the emotion I can put into this while writing before coming to tears. I shed tears while writing this, I cried alone for 45 minutes before sending off the text organising to see my Dad, I cried alone throughout high school unable to come to terms with my emotions. Yet I feel a coldness and a shame to my emotions that I cant account for. But now after only seeing my father for a few hours, my mix of emotions made me laugh. The man that I had all these emotions for was not the man that I went and met last week. The person in my head that I cried for is long gone, a 10 year gap separates the two men. The man I went and met is a shell of his former self and is a drunkard and a fool, killing himself with the bottle. I did feel genuinely happy to see him but at the same time I saw the man he was crumble in front of me. I’m sure after getting to know him again after multiple meetings he might want to open the can of worms that is what has happened between us but at the same time I think he will be too weak to engage it and I am happy with that I think. You may also think why don’t I bring it up and maybe you are weak as well, but for many years my only vision of seeing my father was to come and talk down to him for his actions, to yell at him and make a scene. Thinking I would be able to shame him into an apology was immature and naive and it was only born from my own weakness and insecurities. The fact that I finally came to see him in a neutral fashion took all the emotional strength I could muster over the past few months.
If he does try to bring it all up I am fine with that as well but either way I think I have already consolidated the two men in a way.