It’s not hard for something to bring a smile to my face. It takes a lot more finesse, though, to bring one from so deep within me that it brings tears to my eyes. It takes a lot of love to feel a warmth so strong I have to let it out of me like that.
I got a text message while I was on the Dinky on my way home tonight. I was expecting it to be that guy I’ve been talking to. So imagine my shock/surprise/rush-of-joy when, instead of being him, it was GREG!!!!! Out of the blue! [Those of you don’t instantly make the connection with the name, click here.]
He just texted me to ask how I was doing. He asked about school and the summer and reminded me that if I ever need anything, he’s there for me.
And you know, with a lot of people, statements like those should be taken lightly. They don’t really mean much, they’re just things you say to people you once had some sort of substantive protector-protected relationship with. From someone you felt cozy and safe with even in the middle of the most heated debates. From someone whose arms and scratchy stubble still feel like home. From someone who made you feel valued and respected as an adult, on a we-are-equals level, before anyone was supposed to. From someone who teased your 8th-grade-dinner-dance date and tormented your first boyfriend. From someone you would have given the world to call Daddy.
It’s strange how I’ve managed to compartmentalize how much losing him hurt me. My sister and I were more depressed than my mom about their breakup. I remember sitting on the shore at the beach with my friends and hearing the news (via text message or voicemail or something) and totally shutting down, just crying and not having any fun at all. I remember my sister and I commiserating up in our room alone for weeks, not wanting to push a sore issue by revealing our sadness to the rest of our family. But now it has progressed to the point where I rarely even think about him, unless something triggers a memory–then
missing him feeling emotionally heavy about him overtakes me like a big wave in the ocean, tossing me around like I’m weightless. I can’t really call it missing him, because this feeling isn’t primarily one of sadness; I get taken back to all the wonderful things he did for me and all the ways he made me feel and while not having that anymore does hurt, all the beauty of it is what remains.
My mom was always worried that our relationship was too close for the not-actually-stepfather-daughter thing we unofficially had going. Given that my only other stepfather-daughter relationship was with The Spawn of Satan, I can’t really comment on that–I can only say that this FELT the most like what I imagined a normal father-daughter relationship would be like. In a way TSoS never managed in 9 years [longer, really], I felt that I was undeniably his and he was undeniably mine even if we didn’t have fancy official titles in each other’s lives. I understood what it was supposed to mean to be a daughter. I wanted him at events in a way I hadn’t wanted my mother since I was a little girl and had never experienced having my father at.
I wanted Part of me still wants my father-daughter dance at my wedding to be with him. I read him my poems and he listened. I talked/argued with him and he listened. He tried to teach me things and I let him.
It means so much to me to know that he still cares. I mean, who does that? Who keeps in touch with their ex-girlfriend’s daughter two years post-breakup? [At the end, I think he and I were closer than he and my mom were.] Who continue to gives love and concern and a desire to protect long after it’s not socially warranted? Someone who loved me as much as I loved him. Hold on, make those present tense. Someone who recognizes that the family you choose is the family you will never lose. Someone who came into your life for a reason. Someone who MATTERS.
I don’t even have any pictures of the two of us. Part of me very strongly wants to meet him for dinner and/or drinks when I go home, just so I can experience being around him again. I want to whoop his ass in Scrabble again. He and my mom have been friendly recently…they might not be good for each other, but I will always have my fingers crossed that their hanging out might someday lead to our hanging out.