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what we don’t know

published: 2014-11-07

Time for a heart to heart with my father. We spoke many times, but perhaps I wasn’t listening.
I ask him how things were when I was a baby. Between him and my mother and him and I and my mother and I. I need to know, I say, because I’m going through this phase, you know. Piecing things together and all.
He takes off his cap and leans forward somewhat, eager to give me what I need. He says I was very much wanted. He says they were happy, we were a happy family.
It can’t be that simple, can it? Why is it that I’ve become who I am today? Why is it that I look at the five-year-old me and see an outgoing and happy soul? Why is it that this soul has become troubled? Why is it that I fear abandonment?
He moves his jaw back and forth, clacking his teeth and thinking. This is not about right or wrong, I tell him, this is not a fight. I’m sure he thinks of the many times we prefer to forget. Of when he felt I was judging him and I felt he was judging me and so a talk would end up in a fight.
He tells me more things about our life, the things I already know. Father, I need to know the things I don’t know.
He thinks a little harder and then describes how I went on a trip when I was ten. I remember this trip. I wanted to go to my godmother overseas. I went alone. It was a ten hour flight.
What I didn’t know was that when I came back, I had changed. I had turned into a scared girl. They could not go anywhere without me. I wouldn’t let them. Something must have happened overseas and he doesn’t know what.
As I kiss my father goodbye and watch him leave, it seems his back is a little more hunched than when he arrived.
I realize then that it doesn’t matter. None of it does.
It’s about what you choose to do with it now, with what you don’t know.

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