It Happened To Me: I Took the Advice to Call My Father Before it Was Too Late, and He Told Me About How Cocaine Makes Him Horny

Every year around father’s day I hear the message either directly or indirectly that you should call your father before it is too late. Well, I did that and we have not talked since.

Jun 17, 2013 at 4:30pm | Leave a comment

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I wanted to know where I came from. When I was younger, I used to look in the mirror and identify the parts of me that looked like my mother—but there were so few. I used to imagine that my father had become a great success, wherever he was, and he was very busy being important. Because as a little girl I wanted to believe that if he wasn’t with me there was a good reason.
 
I never really knew my biological father. I never saw a picture of him until I was 18. I collected snippets of information from my mother and I held them close to my heart, I knew he liked pizza. I knew his favorite movie was the Rocky Horror Picture Show. When I developed a huge crush on NSYNC’s Lance Bass and my mother told me he looked like my father I felt pretty creeped out about that.
 
My father, Ron, doesn’t have the same last name as me. He isn’t on my birth certificate. My mom ran away from him when I was 11 months old, and until about two year’s ago my father never heard me speak.
 
My mother didn’t raise me either. From the time I was five years old the mother of one of her boyfriends raised me—my grandma. I’m sorry, I know it’s a pretty hard-to-follow story. I’ll save the whole thing for a memoir.
 
Anyway, my mom once told me that she was pretty sure my father was dead. She didn’t do this out of malice, but because she honestly thought he was. It made sense. He used a lot of drugs and had been in and out of jail. He was actually in prison when I was born, and got a special day pass and a police escort to the hospital to see me—there are no pictures of this.
 
When I was 24 I got a friend request from an aunt—my father’s sister. My own sister texted me in nervous excitement because my aunt had friended both of us. When I messaged my aunt about a week later, I nervously asked about my father—and if he was well (by which I meant alive). He was, but they were not close and she had to track down his number.
 
When I finally got it I couldn’t call right away. My sister did, and she asked when I would, but I was stuck. I went for advice to a man who has been close to me, although not a father figure. My English teacher from college—when you’re fatherless I think you tend to develop all sorts of weird relationships with mentors. He gave me the best advice that anyone had, he told me to wait. To wait until the anger of abandonment that had been stirred up abated, and to wait until I no longer had any expectations. It took six months until I was ready.
 
I first called him on his birthday, which was a mistake. He was drunk. He started off right away telling me how much he loved me and missed me. I wasn’t happy to hear this. I was nauseous.
 
You see, I have no memory of who this man is, he was just a strange, drunk middle-aged man telling me he loved me. I didn’t know how to love him back. I still don’t. He asked me some normal questions like what I did for work, but the conversation grew progressively stranger.
 
He told me he would have loved me even if I was a crack-whore pushing a shopping cart on the streets. Then he asked me what kind of drugs I did, and he told me about his drug use. He told me about how coke made him horny and I had to swallow the bile that clogged up my throat.
 
What was probably the most painful were the stories about how much money he used to have when he was younger. My sister and I grew up dirt poor once living in a friend of my mother’s cabin in the winter. We had to use a wood stove, and get up in the middle of the night to add wood so we didn’t freeze to death. We lived in a trailer in the country with no heat or water. So to hear him talk about how well he used to do made me feel further from him then I already had.
 
Every year around father’s day I hear the message either directly or indirectly that you should call your father before it is too late. Well, I did that and we have not talked since. Unless he calls we probably won’t.
 
So here’s a message to the fatherless girls out there. You do not have to listen to that advice. Reconciliation is not always possible and if it leads you to feel worse, or if they have abused you it is ok not to jump on the forgiveness train. I don’t hate my father, I understand the justifications he needed to tell himself over the years to feel better about abandoning his children, but those are not my problems.
 
It was his choice as an adult to do the things that he did, and it’s mine now as an adult not to have a relationship. This makes other people, those who watch too much daytime television, uncomfortable. So many people tell me I should forgive him, to move on, or because he feels bad.
 
His bad feelings simply don’t amount to the same as mine. As a child, I was a victim. I suffered a lot because there wasn’t a father in my life to help protect me. Hearing about drugs, and him being horny triggered some memories of abuse I have suffered in my lifetime. I left our conversation needing a strong drink, a long cry, and a hot shower to feel clean again.
 
So fellow bastard children: You don’t have to forgive him, or if you do forgive you don’t have to stop being hurt. What is important is not letting that hurt destroy you. I will always have a pang of longing when I watch any show where there is a strong father-daughter relationship. I will always tear up a little, for myself, when I watch a dad scoop up his daughter and kiss her, or tell the world how proud he is of her accomplishments. There’s always going to be a little pain.
 
But I am totally OK. I am a graduate student; I have a loving boyfriend and two adorable dogs. I write, and I have a day job that allows me to live comfortably. The time I needed a father has long passed, and I am no longer that lonely little girl looking in the mirror wanting her daddy—even if on Father’s Day I can still hear that little girl crying.