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Column: Strangers living in a world apart

‘No matter how far apart we are, he’s always putting me first.’

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"I didn’t blame him for how the past unfolded, I just blamed him for not continuing the communication between us."

Photo by Stephanie Rosas

Photo by Stephanie Rosas

"I didn’t blame him for how the past unfolded, I just blamed him for not continuing the communication between us."

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Wind rushed past as the beaming rays of the sun warmed my face. The car’s stereo system blasted to the tune of an oldies radio station. My mom and I were taking the usual car ride to my dad’s house for a weekend packed of bonding time. When we pulled up to his house, my mom abruptly told me to wait in the car; I was about 4 years old at the time, so her words flew right through my ears. After awhile, she came back and we drove away as if nothing had happened.

I don’t have many memories with my dad, because after that day, I didn’t really talk to him. Though we saw each other periodically, the relationship became non-existent. When I was 8, we packed our bags and moved from California to Texas. The lack of a connection with my dad only grew more divided, whereas now more than 1,000 miles separate us. Occasionally he would text to check up on me but the relationship progressed slowly.

We were strangers in a world apart.

It was hard talking to him when he did call or text because he wouldn’t text to wish me a happy birthday or on holidays. Sure we were a father and daughter duo, but we just didn’t really have the stereotypical connection most do.

After a two-year gap of no contact, when I was about 12 years old my mom finally gave me the opportunity to talk to my dad over the phone. Butterflies fluttered in my stomach as I struggled to piece words together, what would I say to someone who had become a stranger?

After reconnecting with my dad, I decided to try and figure out why our relationship ended so suddenly. With a million questions racing in my mind, I began to ask my mom why she made the decision to forbid me from seeing my dad. She told me he was on drugs and had a bad anger problem.

While I understood her reasoning, I just wish it didn’t cause the tear in the relationship between my dad and me. I was eager to ask my dad about his side of the story, but I was anxious he wouldn’t answer my questions or would just stop talking to me in general.

So I wrote him a letter, and when he called, I read every line to him. It took me so long to read it because I started to cry. But once I was done, his response shocked me. He told me he had ruined both relationships that he had with my mom and me because he was trying to get over his drug addiction. He didn’t bother reaching out because he was scared he would only ruin our relationship again. He told me he felt like I was better off without him because he said my step-dad was a better father figure than he was.

I was furious.

I understood his reasoning but still wanted to scream at him for distancing himself. I didn’t blame him for how the past unfolded, I just blamed him for not continuing the communication between us. He knew where we were and when we moved. He was also aware that my mom had the same number, but he still didn’t call.

The four years that flew by were precious time that could’ve been spent building up our relationship, yet he still didn’t try. In the end, I forgave him because he told me his honest reason for staying away. I’m so thrilled to finally have him back in my life. I appreciate the little things most people overlook; how he calls or texts me every day to ask how school or the day went. And no matter how far apart we are, he’s always putting me first.

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