I walk into the kitchen, open the fridge and grab the orange juice, dropping my keys on the counter. Drinking from the jug, a deep voice enters saying, “If you don’t get you a cup and stop drinking from the jug boy, you better. I know your mama raised you better than that.” It’s my sperm donor. The man who I haven’t seen in almost 8 years. The last time I saw him, I was a 9-year-old-boy. I’m almost a man now.
“Son I have something I need to tell you.” Son? Who is this man calling son? If he thought of me as a son why didn’t he do more to be in my life? I remember the last time…man. He doesn’t deserve to call me son. My mom told me how he never sent money or call to talk to me. He never sent me any birthday cards or gifts. Who does this man think he is to just show up like this? And how did he get in here? I must have left the door unlocked.
“What are you doing here?” I know he can hear the anger and aggression in my voice. His demeanor doesn’t change. “I need to talk to you.” After all these years what could he have to talk to me about? And where is my mom? I know she didn’t let him in, so I ask, “Where is my mom?”
“That’s what I have to talk to you about. Son your mother has been in an accident. She’s at the hospital.” My mom is in the hospital! All my anger is fleeing as worry overcomes me. “Is she okay?” I ask him humbly. “I don’t know yet. I got a call from your grandmother and came and waited for you to come home.” We gotta go. I have to go see her. “Last I know she was in surgery.”
We rush into the Emergency waiting room where my uncle and grandma are sitting, obviously anxious. “Grandma! Is she okay?” As we embrace, the water welling up in her eyes says ‘no’. “I don’t know, they haven’t finished surgery yet.” she replies. Oh my god. What am I gonna do? What will happen if my mom dies? Everything in my world seems to be crashing at this very moment. My dad walks past us and back out the door. Always what he did best, leave. Well I won’t make his departure so easy this time. My mom may be dying and all he can do is leave. That man makes my blood boil…I’m gon’ say what I need to say to him.
I reach the automatic sliding doors, “Hey!” I call out after him. He is sitting on the brick wall, lighting a cigarette; not leaving at all. My heart is beating faster the closer I get to him. “So you just gon’ leave like that?” He is calm. “I haven’t left, I am sitting here smoking a cigarette. If you came for a fight son, we can do that, but I prefer to talk to you. You ain’t too old or too big to get your ass whooped. I’m still your dad and you will still respect me.”
“Dad? Respect you!? You haven’t earned my respect. You have done nothing for me since I was how old? You walked out of my life and forgot I even existed!” I’m yelling at the old man, but I don’t care. He still hasn’t moved, just staring at me, blowing smoke in the opposite direction. “I have always tried to be in your life. You know as well as I do that your mother kept you from me.” Oh no he didn’t go there. My mom is on the operating table and all he can to is bad mouth her. “Like it or not son, I know you love your mother, but that is the truth.” He could have done more. “You could have done more. Tried harder.”
He never tries to calm me down. He just states his words directly, firmly and awaits my response. “No matter what you have been told son, I love you and have always wanted nothing more than to be apart of your life. Now I’m sorry, you’re right, maybe I could have tried harder, I don’t know everything, but maybe I could have got help. It’s a lot you don’t know and even more that you don’t understand. You have to put yourself in my shoes where I was at that time in my life and where your mother was. She is not a bad woman, things just got bad and never really got better. But that never changed my love for you.”
I’ve calmed down a bit. I can hear his heart. Maybe the guy is right somewhere. But I’m not ready to give in to forgiveness. I stand firm. “Whatever, where was that love when me and my mom needed it?”
“Edward, the doctor is here,” My grandma, emerging from inside the hospital, urging us to hurry. The man that calls himself my dad, puts out his cancer stick in the convenient stone ashtray and hurries behind me back inside.
“Doc, is my mom ok?”
To be continued…..