Wednesday, March 30, 2011
BLOOD ISN"T THICKER THAN WATER
By Jennifer Orellana
I sat there with the phone attached to my ear, just waiting for this dream to end. This had to be a dream. No way could this be true. I tried to keep my composure and not break down crying because I could feel the anticipation of my mother and step father radiating towards me.
They wanted to know what was going on but I couldn’t tear myself away from the phone. Not for one second, because then I might just miss an important detail. Finally after twenty minutes my mother couldn’t take it anymore. She stood up and said,
“What has he done now?!” But I couldn’t hear her. My mind was drifting to someplace else, back to a time when things were a lot simpler…
“Um I want the six piece with French fries and an apple juice please!” I screamed into the drive thru order box.
“Are you sure you’re going to eat all your food Jen?”
“Yes dad, I’m not a little girl anymore I’m already eight and a half years old.” I said as a matter of fact.
“Okay you’re right I keep forgetting how big you are. I know your mom must tell you I’m a bad man and that I’m crazy, and she’s right. But even though I might not be the best dad I do love you very much. I now you’re young but I want you to know that no matter what bad things I do or say I am a part of you, and you are a part of me. My blood runs through your veins and you have to always remember that our blood is thicker than water.”
I looked at him extremely dazed and said, “Okay dad”. Then I grabbed my happy meal with such excitement and we drove off.
“Jen! Hello, what’s going on?” My mom started screaming, obviously getting tenser by the minute. I got off the phone saying goodbye and I love you to my aunt who lived in Virginia, my father’s sister.
“What did she say?” My stepdad asked.
I took a deep breath and looked at my mom and stepdad’s eyes soaked with concern. I had decided not to hold it in anymore, so I told them everything.
“Titi Madeline said that my dad has gotten married to some Italian lady. They had the ceremony in Italy two months ago and the whole family was invited, everyone but me. Oh and I forgot to mention, his new wife is pregnant, I’m going to have another brother or sister.”
My parents looked at me, shocked. They couldn’t believe the news either, especially since I had just seen my dad three months ago. He had taken me out to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant because everyone knows my favorite food is Italian food.
“I wanted to bring you here so that I can tell you that I want things to be different. I mean I look at you and I still see my little girl except you’re not so little anymore. I know I haven’t been in your life the way you’ve wanted me to but I want us to be closer. You are my child, my blood, and I love you.”
I had heard this speech many times before but it just felt so sincere. He was my father and I loved him very much. I wanted him to come to my softball games and I wanted him to be proud of me. But every time I looked into the crowd he wasn’t there. When I looked for him at my graduation, he wasn’t there. When it was my birthday I would sit by the phone and just hope that he would at least call to wish me a happy birthday, but he never did. How could I believe him now when we’ve been through this so many times? I guess I never really did believe things would change but I wanted it to with all my heart, so I clung onto hope.
My mom put her arms around me and held me close telling me that it would be alright and not to let it get to me. But how could I not?! He’s my dad and he didn’t even invite me to his wedding, he didn’t even tell me he was with someone. But that wasn’t even the worse news.
“Ma, he lives on New Dorp now.”
“What? He lives in Staten Island now?”
“Yes,” I said, looking at the floor as tear after tear slowly ran down my cheek.
All my life my father used distance as an excuse as to why he never got to see me.
He lived in the Bronx and I lived in Staten Island. My mom always told me that that wasn’t a logical excuse, that if a parent wanted to see their child there was no amount of distance that would stop them from visiting. But now my dad lived about ten minutes away from me and still I got no phone call or visit.
What was his excuse now? Guess our blood isn’t as thick as he said.
Jennifer Orellana is a junior at the University at Albany, SUNY, majoring in psychology. A student in the Happiness class this semester, Jennifer wrote this piece as part of the "Flip the Script" assignment. She has written a second version of the piece, "flipping the script" and telling the story from her mother's point of view; that piece will appear in the Happiness class blog shortly.>