Thursday, March 01, 2012
"Dad, It's Too Late"
By Kyle Chittum
I stepped off the train and looked around in an anxious manner. I took a deep breath, and inhaled the New York City air just like I used to when I lived here in my earlier stages of life. I had been dreading this for a week. I saw the man that I came here to meet. He was wearing a sloppy-looking sweater, and if that was not how I knew it was him, then it was his hair that was nearly all gone that gave it away.
This was it, the moment when I was going to be standing face to face with the man that is known as my father, for the first time in over five years. His devilish smile started to grow bigger and bigger with every step closer I got. I finally saw his face. I could tell he thought I was going to be excited to see him. I wasn’t. As he saw my disgruntled expression, his smile gave way to a sneer.
He screamed, “Hey buddy boy! You happy to see me or what?”
His voice was loud, too loud.
I shook my head. “Oh yeah I am just jumping out of my shoes because I am so excited, can’t you tell?”
He crossed his arms. His sweater had holes in the elbow. Those holes, however, were not as big as the one that pierced my heart. I started to feel all the pain that he has put me through as I've tried to give him quite a few chances to change.
“You know I really don’t understand why you have to continue to be mad at me son. It really hurts me. I mean I am your Dad-“
Cutting him off abruptly I yelled, “Shut the hell up. Do not play that bullshit card with me.”
My father was shocked. His face froze, and his eyes narrowed.
“Let’s start by you apologizing Dad,” I said. “After all you were never there to watch me grow up.”
He finally gathered himself, and said, “I am really sorry for not being there for you Kyle. I really am. There is nothing I can do that will take that pain away of not having me there for you. I understand this.”
“Well honestly, you don’t because you are not in my shoes,” I said in response. “You don’t know, Dad, all the hard nights I have gone through with Breanna (my sister), Bart (my brother), and Mom. I had to go some nights without even eating because of you not being there to support us. I had to see my own mother nearly overdose on drugs right in front of my face when I was 12. So don’t tell me you “understand this” because you will never understand shit.”
Once again my father stood there looking puzzled as the subway smell of the city made me feel like I was home again. He was a poker player running out of bluffs. However, like a magician he was able to pull another card from his sleeve of deviance.
“Look, Kyle, you, your brother, your sister, and your mother ran away from me. I came home the day you guys left, and everything was gone. How do you think that made me feel? Can you imagine what a father feels when his wife, son, and his daughter move without him knowing?”
Suddenly I wanted to slug the deceiving bastard. I just felt like squaring him up, and connecting my fist with his jaw to knock him on the ground where he deserved to be. But then I had to admit my mother hadn’t handled the whole moving away from my father situation well at all; the thing was she had needed it to be done.
I turned my head for a quick second to gather my thoughts. I kept hearing the beeping of cabs, and impatient employees who were late to work in the usual New York City traffic jam. I was able to think of the next thing I was going to say in a very wise manner, like I was moving one of my pieces in a game of chess.
“Look, I came here to tell you face to face where we stand. There is nothing you can say to me that is going to make me change my mind about how I feel about you.”
My father looked hurt. “Well son I am sorry to hear that. I wanted to try to relive the good memories we actually had at one point. I am sorry how much I hurt you.”
I shot back: “Those memories we had were shattered by your selfishness, greedy acts, and your drug and alcohol abuse.”
That seemed to be the final blow to my father’s psychotic head. There was nothing else that he could say.
So I continued, “I will thank you for two things,” I said. “The first thing I thank you for is being part of the reason why I was born. The second thing I want to thank you for is showing me exactly what not to be in life.”
I was fighting not to start crying. My voice was edgy. I had to show him that I would not let him get into my head ever again.
“I have to go.” I said.
Upset, my father said, “Okay, it was nice seeing you at least this one time son.”
I started to feel the tears. My voice broke. Suddenly I was shaking my head in agreement. “Even though I am not satisfied with you at all, not one bit, I am glad that I got to see you as well Dad.”
My father said, “So this is it?”
I turned to walk away. I wiped my eyes. I was determined to enjoy the rest of the day with my friends, the friends I had come to the city to see. “I can’t answer that right now Dad. I guess that's something we have to wait and find out some other time.”
Writer Kyle Chittum, a student at the University at Albany, SUNY, was born in Queens, and grew up in Newburgh, NY. His major is communications and he aspires to be is a producer/artist in the hip-hop industry.