I Called A Man Whom I’d Never Met.
This wasn’t entirely random.
He’s the legitimate son of my father.
The Father Who Wasn’t.
Which makes me The Bastard Who Is.
A RIGHTEOUS BASTARD
Or, possibly, and unremarkably, merely an ordinary bastard.
Meaning, there may be others.
I suspect, a small conclave of reasonably similar looking bastards may be found roaming the streets of Here and There.
Wherever The Father Who Wasn’t laid down.
BACK TO THE MAN
I Called With Nary A Proper Introduction.
Announcing in the most forthright manner I could summons, that his father and my mother – both deceased for over ten years – had a thing back in the day.
Just. Like. That.
Making the call to his office.
On a Tuesday morning.
I doubt he’d ever expected to hear from his father’s illegitimate son.
I Question My Motive No More.
Innocuous in reflection.
I persisted, numb and stoic, factual as I could.
Leaving no latitude for misinterpretation of what I had to say.
The truth would be heard.
When finished with my pious proclamation, my emotions drained from me.
I had nothing inside save for the residue of relief lingering.
IT WAS A HORRIBLE RELIEF
This Mess Wasn’t His Fault.
He deserved none of it.
Despite his disbelief, I sensed the news didn’t come as a shock.
Perhaps, he knew one day a call would come about his old man.
“Catholics and Confessionals, Amen.”
The Father Who Wasn’t sharing the burden of his sins and unbearable guilt with his trusted son …
To save from a slanderous epitaph.
WE HUNG UP
After 4 Minutes And 37 Seconds.
There was silence.
It wasn’t golden.
Broken by words.
Fragmented, and laced with apprehension, fear and pain.
Not before regurgitating my hasty soliloquy about how I’d found him.
Once I put a keen mind to it.
Muncipal voting records paved the path to connecting dots with data.
I Believed He Should Know The Truth.
I sought closure by sharing.
There was no intent to shame.
Yet, I did.
I WANT NOTHING
From him or his family.
None of it.
I let him know.
I MEANT NO HARM OR MALICE
Only To Share What I Knew.
He’d never hear from me again.
I wondered why I’d bothered.
Then it hurt.
As it should.
LET’S GO WAY BACK …
Dearest Papa Lothario Had Himself An Affair.
Quite convenient, really.
With a woman that lived up the street from his home and his family.
The same woman I called Mom.
Introduced her a while ago in “Happy As A Pig In Sh!t”
SEARCHED FOR PAPA LOTHARIO
In All The Wrong Places.
It’d taken me a while.
Okay, a half century.
To find him …
It happened one day.
MOM BEQUEATHED ME
A Handy Clue To His Identity Before She Passed …
The truncated spelling of his surname.
Not Kuch, and that’s okay.
Though she claimed to have told me all about him when I was much younger.
Suppressed it, I did.
GENEROUS WITH THE TRUTH
The way she could be.
Like how The Father Who Wasn’t had a daughter.
True, if not for a little shy on details.
Mom was special in so many wonderful ways.
“A gifted equivocator and deflector of indisputable facts to suit her fancy and deferral of blame.”
She believed it, so it must be true.
Her motto, not mine.
ANOTHER LAYER REVEALED
By A Family Member …
The Father Who Wasn’t’s first name being gender neutral.
WE’RE ON TO SOMETHING
About His Occupation.
He worked with hands.
As opposed to his feet?
Okay, mechanically inclined, smartass.
I come from a long lineage of Vague-at-best.
And, deliriously sarcastic infidels.
Fractional Half-Truths is our Lifeline of Sustenance.
Not much to run with until God filled in the blanks with Fate.
THEN ONE SPLENDID DAY
I Treated Myself To A Smartypants Ancestry DNA Kit.
For my birthday.
Best $149 I’ve ever spent.
Ancestry, I’m talking to you.
In my inner Jodie Foster voice.
Never mind for the moment, but I haven’t forgotten.
THE SISTER WHO WASN’T
Called Me The Very Next Day …
Because the higher Einstein In Me didn’t block my phone number – why would I? – when calling the Brother Who Wasn’t.
Nothing to hide, Sherlock.
Nothing to be afraid of … except fear.
Unlike You Know Who?
FUN FACT CONFESSION
The Sister Who Wasn’t …
Was less pleasant than Half Bro.
With an indefensible, accusational slant to boot I found nearly admirable.
We must be related.
No natural sibling bond here.
She didn’t like me.
Not my favorite flavor either, Sunshine.
I prefer nice and reasonable.
ON THE DENIAL TRAIL
She Went Not So Merrily.
Espousing to vain, Papa’s saintly virtues.
Wait for it …
“He was a good father.”
Compared to … Adolf?
I hear Manson was good with kids.
I have a different perspective.
“Oh, my, you are delusional by choice, darling.”
PILE ON THE ACCUSATIONS
- It’s impossible …
- I was mistaken …
- How’d I know?
ON THE BLAME GAME
I Stayed The Course.
Schooled The Sister Who Wasn’t well enough about The Birds & The Bees.
She became more indignant.
I referred to him as her father.
Not in the most complimentary way imaginable, but I wasn’t mean.
She’d mentioned her father and her brother were close.
I slowed clapped twice …
The Sister Who Wasn’t called to tell me Golden Boy was deeply upset.
I’d hurt him.
He already knew.
Its called a reminder.
I WAS ORDERED
Not To Contact The Brother Who Wasn’t.
A salient point I’d proffered verbatim to him the previous day.
The ordeal tanked hard and fast into the Sh!tstorm of Idiocy it was destined to become.
I repeated my oath.
I was done.
fifth third biggest regret of my life.
Didn’t care to hear from any of The Familia Of Wasn’t’s.
FOR 13 MINUTES
Too Damn Long.
The Sister Who Wasn’t … couldn’t shut up.
She mentioned money.
Like it was the Elephant in the Room.
Got right to it.
As in … if that’s what I wanted, because there wasn’t any.
Shame on her.
“How conveniently ignorant, a pathetic ploy to distract from the reality of a lifetime of unfathomable denial, irresponsibility, shame … lies, deceit … fostered by Papa and propagated by the Darling Daughter of Delusion?”
ACHTUNG: REALITY CHECK ON AISLE 4
The Father Who Wasn’t … Just Didn’t … Bail On This Bastard Child, Honey.
Or, suffer from an incurable case of Fiduciary Amnesia to support said bastard.
He lived life on the lowest rung as a fraud of a man.
A Misogynistic Cad.
As a Coward perpetuated through decades of lies …
To his wife.
To The Keepers Of Ignorant Bliss:
“Consider The Material Blessings Of A Good Home, Domestic Comfort, Food and Shelter In Your Lives, As Provided So Sanctimoniously By Dear Papa …”
It came at the cost of another’s plight.
Mother and child.
Whatever gets you through the night, sleep well, Bella.
Your Father – The Father Who Wasn’t – Was Precisely The Shallow Man He Died.
I offer this as The Footnote That Wasn’t on his epitaph.
ALL I WANTED
Was To Reach Out …
I started something I probably shouldn’t have, but couldn’t help myself.
So, perhaps a little slack is in order.
I’m just saying,
”Was It Really A Bad Idea Calling The Brother Who Wasn’t?”
I didn’t give myself a choice.
For four minutes and thirty-seven seconds.
MY LIFE ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE
I Had No Expectations Before I Called.
Thought maybe we could’ve at least been amicable.
Left judgement behind.
Talked about it.
Sunday dinners together?
I’LL NEVER MEET
The Father Who Wasn’t.
In this mortal life.
The unbearable emptiness and shame of growing up fatherless doesn’t seem so catastrophic any longer.
Because I don’t care … about him.
Once Faith pointed me in the right direction.
Perhaps we’re not meant to know everything until we are …
ONE LAST TIME
All The Way Back Like It’s 1962.
Sam Cooke’s singing Bring It On Home To Me on the radio.
I’m not yet conceived.
My mother is juggling five older siblings–to–be in a shitty flat two stories above a corner store in Toronto’s west end neighborhood of Parkdale.
The Father Who Wasn’t is living comfortably enough two blocks down the street.
Across from the park where he brings his children to play in summer.
On the swings.
In the big sandbox.
By the kiddie pool.
OLD SCHOOL REACH AROUND
You Could’ve Paid The Piper, Papa.
At the very least, made it less of a living hell on my mother.
She gave you a child.
You didn’t want.
It didn’t take much to raise me.
Right or wrong, either way.
Couple shekels or liras in your pretty pockets.
Nothing to do but hide in disgrace was the best you could do …
THIS IS WHERE I SAY
Hey, Man, Thanks.
“This Life’s All On Me, Pops.”
You don’t deserve that title, but you’re getting it this one time only.
And, no more tears.
I doubt I would’ve turned out any better or worse with you in any part of my life.
I could’ve used a positive male role model a couple times through the years.
Like a real father.
To teach me a little something about how to be a man.
“Don’t fret … I wasn’t looking for cowardice as a requisite quality in any of the prospective applicants.”
I found what I was looking for.
So, not knowing you wasn’t so bad after all.
One Day, I Know
For a talk.
About what might’ve been.
And, what was.
“You Selfish Bastard.”
Is all I need to say.
You’ve earned it.
I was born one.
Fate is Good.
This ends here.
With My Forgiveness.