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An open letter to my irresponsible and absentee father

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absent father

Dear father,

12 years ago you came back home after a week away on a business trip with a young lady in tow whom I presumed to be your secretary. You stormed into the house and in your terrifying voice demanded that we pack and leave. Just like that mom, siz and I were to leave what we called home for the last 10 years. Your reason was that mom had become ‘too much’ hence you needed to ‘teach her a lesson’. We only left with the clothes on our backs leaving all what you and mom had worked so hard together to get.

The next few months were very tough on us. We moved into a smaller house, enrolled into an ill-equipped public school and eating out on Sunday afternoons became a luxury. When I asked mom why you didn’t love us anymore all she did was cry. She would cry every night till her eyes were puffy. I could see the pain in her eyes even when she smiled.

Just how heartless are you to live comfortably all these years oblivious of your family; if we had enough to eat, went to school and never visited my elder sister when she was down with tuberculosis? I understand married couples get divorced every now and then but what surprises me most is how you never made the slightest effort to reach out to your own kids. Just how callous are you to abandon and completely cut off communication with your own flesh and blood?

Mother worked tirelessly, went back to college and got a MBA while at the same time raising 2 kids single-handedly. In a few years she scaled the corporate ladder and landed a managerial position in her organization. When I was in form 3 she met a guy who she fell in love with and remarried 3 years later. Stan* our step-dad, doesn’t get involved in our lives at all. I don’t blame him; he is only here for mom. Apparently he has never bought us anything, it’s mom who still provides us with everything we need. She manages to make our lives so comfortable that our college mates think we live with both parents who are so caring. Yeah, I haven’t told them of my ‘irresponsible father’.

I always hated when other kids talked fondly about their fathers while I hardly had any memory of you except the day you threw us out in the cold. Even when we were still living together I hardly saw you. How I wish you could spend just one day a week at home, help me with my homework, go to the parent-teachers meetings  or even teach me how to ride a bicycle. That never happened because you were too busy growing your numerous investments and when you had time off you would spend it all out drinking with your buddies.

You thought being a great father was just about paying all bills in time when in reality all I wanted was to spend time with my father. I wouldn’t mind if you were poor but was there to help me steer through the murky waters of puberty. You were emotionally absent and the truth is buying us fancy toys and taking us to exotic places never effectively substituted your much needed presence in our lives.

The pain of growing up without a father figure pushed me to seek solace in drugs and alcohol. I over indulged to numb the loneliness and pain but the ‘high’ only lasted a few hours soon enough I would be sober. I went down on the path of self-destruction for close to 2 years. One day it hit me. My resentment towards you was turning me to a selfish man just like you. You shattered mom’s heart into irreparable pieces and now losing her only son to drugs was too much for her to bear. So I got sober, promised her to always be there for her and protect her even if it meant losing my life in the process.

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