Confident Bastard – By B. Collette Davis
I introduced my co-worker to a prying website dubbing itself as a public search engine. The virtual nuisance supplies addresses and telephone numbers of almost anyone who is unknowingly in demand. My co-worker began her exploration: a lost class mate, an ex-boyfriend, finally, her father. She delayed her enthusiasm, saving the person she desired most in this world for last.
The website humiliated her. It provided the general public with information she had never known about her father. She scribbled his number down on a yellow post-it. Not his name, not Daddy– just the number.
“I’m going to call him and curse his ass out” she forewarned. Her tone, however, suggested she was not ready for the broken conversation. She folded the small note, and the post-it sealed itself with the number divided in half. “I’m going to let him have it. My father has been in Ohio all this time. I need to do this,” she declared. I nodded in agreement.
“You should look up your dad as well,” she suggested. I looked at the small, crescent crease on the side of her eyes. It illuminated when she was determined. Her mission now appeared to be connecting fathers to their abandoned children. The crease became my focal point. I’d imagine that is where I’d probably hit her when the moment was raw enough. Still, I nodded in agreement.
My father’s name scaled the screen many times showing various addresses in Florida. He was alive and repositioning. My co-worker picked up another post-it and scribbled all the telephone numbers that my father may have, or had. “Four numbers updated since 2001. You have some work to do, many call to make,” she ordered.
I closed the website. I was not going to allow more pain to result from a search engine. My co-worker was ardent and I, annoyed. I could not support her at this time and felt my connection to this other bastard was flawed. The webpage exhumed absconded paternal warriors. It birthed more questions and uneasiness than its rival: ignorance.
“Trash that post-it. I’m not calling that man. Our paths crossed, then ended.” My colleague laughed, and I began to retrace what I said. ‘What was wrong with my comment?’ I contemplated my words and released this: “I am happy with where I am now with my father and that is nowhere.” She stopped laughing but still looked at me as if I was out of place. “He is your father, not an ex-boyfriend. He is your dad. Without him, you would not BE HERE.” Her voice lifted volumes. This moment was now as tender as can be.
“I know the laws of creation. I have terrible vision because of his eyes and supposedly, I hold his creativity. I am so, so grateful for that, FOR HIM. However, I don’t like my father. I never really did. I enjoyed the freedom he gave me compared to my mother’s rules. I loved that he took me to Disney World. I didn’t like his choice in women, or that he was docile, too docile. He likes the heat; I don’t. He’s mobile and rarely consistent. I never laughed with my father. However, my dad is who he is and I appreciate that. He won’t change for me, and I for him. I am HIS CHILD.” My thoughts roared at the same time, ‘Blood relation does not assault us with automatic connections.’
“I am glad you are comfortable with that. You are one crazy chick.” I smiled and let her exit. I had enough talk of family reunions. I resumed thinking that I am not odd or even camouflaging resentment. I value the serenity of deprivation. I left work that day a confident bastard.