Dude was definitely snorkeling in Cancun when his children was back in Brooklyn struggling on Tuesday nights eating egg salad sandwiches after bible study lessons. One of us was running the streets getting slashed by gang members looking for his father. The marks on his black skin twenty years later bears the pain that he never found what he was looking for at the age of fifteen. My mother turned out the light that night, she jumped in the tub and looked through the bathroom window to look for her son that was looking for his father. Begging with a heart of faith to just bring him home. I saw it, I was there. And I remember looking out that window too.
His brother, two years his junior. Lifting weights trying to build up the muscle that made his bigger brother look strong. He never learned until two years ago when he bore his firstborn that the strength of a man comes from the time spent at home. He never saw this himself but he has learned how to use the bass in his voice. And that as the man of the house when it is spoken in love instead of in screams it has more of an effect in gaining the respect of your household.
His sister, clinging to the mother that was her entire existence learning how to smile through big crusty pink lips being made to feel important and valid through the constant reassurances of her mother who needed to hear the very words she spoke in that child’s ear. This little black girl, she is no daddy’s girl. Because daddy’s girls are the ones that caused us to seek love outside of ourselves and into the hearts of others looking for what every child rightfully deserves. We skipped that chapter in my house or it was half studied because mama tried her best to love us completely and individually. But she too was broken. How do you make your children whole from the glass pieces of the fight the night before and to explain to them that it’s not them? that mommy loves you and so does your father. But daddy was too busy coming home at 3 AM bringing home White Castle burgers for himself after his night shifts at work. He sure did put in overtime. And over time, a child begins to realize that living in the city that never sleeps, daddy sure did sleep a lot. Not on the job and certainly not at home. But mama made us feel as safe as possible in our broken home. We played games, we laughed, we went ice-skating, we learned to swim. She made sure we lived as happily as we possibly could. But at night we slept on the cushions of our couch while daddy enjoyed his timeshare. Because well … he liked to share. But for the years that it took for mama to buy me my own bed through the grace of one year of income tax, she painted my walls blue and yellow so that I could have my dream room in Bikini Bottom because she knew her little girl loved Spongebob. With her, I was safe in the midst of chaos. But the title of this piece is called Father’s Day and so at this point, my father was living on Cozine Avenue preparing to get married again and create a new life of love that I know nothing about because the man he is now is different from the man I knew. And deep down I can tell through our surface conversations that he is sorry for the pain that he’s caused. And as I look at him in a much more humbled manner, I can’t seem to force myself to un-know the man that has taught me everything I should run from as I desperately try to love another. But it’s okay now, really. Because life happens and we learn and grow through it all. I just had a flashback of Tuesday night egg salad sandwiches while dude was snorkeling in Cancun … Lol, no seriously, I’m good!
HA! But wait, for real though, how that look?