Paternal Holes

Bastard. Bastard. Bastard.

Although I had only heard the word directed at me twice in my twenty-four years of life, it had followed me long before I even knew what it meant. In my early years I had never suspected that there was anything strange about my family. My mother, my grandmother, and myself lived a comfortable life in a spacious house far more than big enough for the three of us. We had food on the table, I had plenty of clothes and toys, and we were happy.

It wasn’t until I started kindergarten that I first suspected that there was something missing. The other kids in the class would be talking about their parents and I’d tell them about my family. They would always ask me about my father but I always told them I didn’t have one of those.

“But you gotta have a daddy, everyone’s got a daddy.”

“I don’t. I never had one.”

For weeks the other kids’ words haunted me. I had never known a father in my life. Did everyone truly have one? I never even dreamed to think that I had a father somewhere. Finally I made it a point to talk to my grandma about it.

“They told me that everyone has a daddy. I told them that I don’t but they don’t believe me.”

“Well of course you have a daddy.” My grandma’s response shook the foundation of my little child life, tossing everything into a sudden chaos and uncertainty. My young mind had difficulty grasping the concept.

“I do? Then where is he? Why isn’t he here?”

My grandma’s face was suddenly a little sad. My grandma was never sad. “He has some problems, your daddy. He had to go away.”

It would be years before I finally learned the truth of where he went. My father had been an alcoholic and my mom had sent him away because she was afraid he would get drunk and hurt me. He never put up much of a protest and has never again made any attempt to contact me.

“What’s his name?” I managed to ask hopefully.

“Bill.” Bill; a faceless, empty name that is always hovering in the back of my consciousness.

Bill. Bill. Bill.

Bastard. Bastard. Bastard.

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