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published: 2009-10-05

To learn through social media that her biological father died. Her, meaning my best-friend from high school. The word “biological” says it all. The best wishes on twitter, that his soul should rest in peace. A tormented soul he indeed was. Not many people met her biological father. Not many people know. That sometimes it is better to keep the past as it is, a fantasy, than to bring it back and make it real.

After she had recovered from anorexia, she came to live with me for a while. This is how she met the friends she still has today. She and I are not in touch, and so these days those friends are more hers than mine. I don’t really mind this. All I mind is their wrongful judgement. Do these friends know? No. They judge without knowing.¬†How it had been, for her to have never seen nor heard from her father in 15 years. And to then have been reunited with this man who had abandoned her. During high school, we always blamed her mother for standing in the way of contact with her father. It was easier to handle than the truth. Namely, the man lived as an illegal alien in the USA. He did not care for anything but himself. Not once had he tried to be in touch with her. His so-called bohemian artistic lifestyle, when in actual fact he lived like a tramp. His house was filled with clutter and things he had dragged in from the streets, filthy and stinking. A young Chinese woman scrambled through the mess of his home, like a startled mouse. And how he worked in a pizzeria in the Bronx, in the kitchens. He had lumps on his head, that stuck out from beneath his cap. I wonder now, if his death was caused by those lumps.
My living in NY was instrumental for her to reunite with him. I think she viewed meeting him as a necessary final step towards closure and healing. So when she came to visit, she had tracked him down and called him. He returned her call, it came to my office. He demanded to know where I was meeting her that evening. It was his right, he screamed. She was his daughter!
After work, I ran as fast as I could through pouring rain to the bar she and I were to meet. I was desperate to get there before she did. Or even worse: before he did. I was sobbing by the time she came as I felt she deserved to decide whether or not she wanted to see him. Right then, right there. She did
A few days later, we drove her to the airport, her biological father and I. To this day, I never told her what happened on the way back. He parked his car in front of the pizzeria which was closed. He grabbed me, stuck his tongue in my mouth. His breath stank. He started pulling at me, his excitement was rapidly increasing. As politely as I could, I tore myself away. I stepped out of the car and intended to not look back. I was in the middle of the Bronx, throughways crossed over my head. It was dark. The stories of the Bronx made me think I was in serious danger so I was afraid. I went back to the pizzeria and shouted through the door, “where is the nearest subway station?” He told me where and offered to bring me home. “No, no, I’m fine”, I said and “thank you so much.” After which I ran.
Truth is all about how one interprets the facts. She continued to see her biological father as the misunderstood, genius artist. She had to. And why take away a person’s illusions? In doing so, I risk looking vengeful when in actual fact I feel sad for her. I always have. Some might argue this is why our friendship couldn’t last. I disagree. There’s a distinction between feeling sad for someone, and feeling pity.

2 Responses to “Illusions”

  1. jur says:

    nice story, i can see it vividly, eventhough it might not be such a nice memory to you, you wrote it down well.

  2. alief says:

    @jur it’s like i said: truth (and therefore memory) is an interpretation. beware: facts are nothing more than a writer’s instruments, and not the other way around.

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