This is not my story. I knew my father, sort of. He took me and one of my brother’s fishing once. I remember it as being fun. A second time he came knocking on the door drunk wanting to see his family he’d long ago left. I don’t recall him ever living in our home, only the aforementioned events. I got a call while I was in college letting me know he had passed away. I thought I was supposed to feel something. Nothing came. But I digress because this is not my story.
I met a woman today, rather she met me as I did nothing to initiate the conversation. She was not black, not white, I’m more sure of the things she wasn’t than what she was but it’s not relevant to the story. I will add that I am apparently one of the few tall, big, black men in America that is not “scary” because nobody ever reacts to me that way. When I got to college at Fisk, I was 17 and do admit I looked young. My basketball teammates called me “Baby Huey”. Maybe it’s my calm demeanor which has earned me another nickname, “Still Bill”. But again I’m meandering because this isn’t my story.
The woman’s first words were, “I found out today I have a daddy”. She went on to say, “my mother had told me he was dead but I talked to him and am on my way to meet him right now”. There was a time I might not have been curious and wished she would go away but since I’m a writer now I have to become a better observer, examining human behavior and describing the fragility of our existence. Instead of ignoring her I asked, “how did you find him”? She said her grandmother mentioned him by name and referred to him as being alive. She later found him on Facebook and tried to friend him but he blocked her. She then went to Instagram and sent him a message explaining who she was. They talked by phone, he asked who her mother was and when she named her, he broke down crying saying, “You’re my only daughter! I was looking for you for years but your mother changed your name when you were very young.” They made arrangements to meet and that meeting was now about 15 minutes away in a public place.
I asked how she felt about meeting him? She said she was apprehensive. She said without judging, “he’s a man whore, his Facebook page is full of naked women. But I’m gay so he has to deal with that.” She was full of nervous energy and I felt like I should be offering some advice but I had none to give. I asked how old she was and she replied, “twenty”. Younger than my youngest daughter. She asked why I inquired and I told her I write about things I experience sometimes and she agreed to let me know how the story turns out. I did say that “it doesn’t all need to happen in a day”. She agreed and moved along to go meet her daddy. To be continued…