Monday, June 18, 2018

Happy Fathers Day

R: Milton Clarke (Father) | L: Ezell Clarke (Grandma)

I'll never know what a Father's love is like. I will never experience the love and comfort of a fatherly relationship, and I'm OK with that. I have to be. I am 32 years old going on 33. My mother reared me on her own--a semi-choice.

My parents first met in Jamaica and fate led them to meet up again 10 years later in the Bronx and *boom* I was born in '86. I never got the chance to meet him due to the extenuating circumstances under which I was conceived, and in 1993 that fate was sealed when a gunman murdered my father.

My mother shared the story with me about how she did not know he was married when I was conceived. She was deeply in love with him. When she discovered he was still married, she was heartbroken. I had been told for many years she chose to move to Florida for better education opportunities for her children--a stretching of the truth. She moved out of heartbreak. She had to get away and sort of "punish" my father for his betrayal. She wasn't even sure if she wanted to keep me, being a single mother in the 80's was still an unpopular circumstance. I am glad she made the right choice for her.

Everyday she reminded me of how much I looked like this man named, "Milton" having never met him, I attributed this to a comical anecdote. I spoke to Milton once on the phone when I was 6. I don't even remember what his voice sounded like or if I understood what a father was. I just remember he said he would be sending me a package for my birthday--then he died. 

I'll never know what a Father's love is like. I'll have to be OK with that. Im nearly 33 now, it's too late to lament or type a sad sob story--"boohoo". Don't feel sorry for me. I'm Gucci my nigga!

Due to my experience, the concept of fatherhood is a distant phenomenon I can't even fathom. 

I didn't know how to spell my real last name until I was 6. When I was 4 my mother dated a man who assumed the role of my father--a terrible circumstance. He was also married--and he also died. (Divine Coincidence?)

I didn't miss not having a father, it was my baseline. I didn't even say "Aha! Finally I'll have a daddy" after my mom remarried a man when I was ten years old. He was just "That church elder who bagged a woman 17 years his junior". He didn't even TRY to be my dad. Which was cool cause I didn't want some "crusty old man" telling me what to do. BUT, according to my mother, I still had to address him as some form of "Dad". I chose "Pa" cause that seemed like the most distant word from fatherhood I could fathom. 

I didn't know what having a father was like but I knew "Pa" was NOT it. I'm not bitter or sad about it. He wasn't a terrible person or mean or wicked. He just wasn't emotionally available to me. Some step-parents just don't have that kind of capacity. Because of his age it was like he had used up all his "fatherly points" 40 years ago and...

One bit. 

No, I didn't miss having a daddy until I got my heart broken in my 20s. That's when the correlation upended in my mind. Having a father or father figure is crucial to a young girl's development. 

Happy Father's Day

(Sorry this is belated, Im kinda bad at this Father's Day thing know.) 

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