Thursday, May 14
We called our dad and asked if it was alright. His response was essentially, whatever you need to do. For my sister, meeting him was particularly important. It was something she'd always wanted to do, but never had the chance because we'd never lived so close. Yet here we were, in the same town after all this time, and suddenly it seemed stupid NOT to. I was excited but nervous as I jumped on board to accompany her. We navigated to the house, and left our husbands in the car while we walked across the street, nervously asking ourselves, "Is this the house? Are we sure? It's not that one over there? No, no I think this is it."
We rang the doorbell and expelled our breath. We hoped his family wasn't there. In the past, we had gotten the sense that the knowledge of my dad's existence had been disruptive to them, and our objective was not to add to that. We saw a figure get up from the living room and walk to the door. Just one person. "I think that's him", my sister whispered right before the door swung open.
Blue eyes. My dad's nose. My eyes, and my nose.
"Hi." We greeted him by asking if we had his name right. "Are you...?" He said yes and we introduced ourselves. Our conversation was brief. My sister did most of the talking, and I observed him quickly. He, this person who looked like our Dad, was just a normal guy. His eyes were kind. He was extremely young looking for his age - another trait he passed on. His handshake was firm and warm, and he didn't say much besides, "OK". Talking with him, it was obvious that he didn't think of us. That we were not a part of his story, like he was part of ours. It is strange to meet someone for the first time, when you know deeply personal things about their past, and what they've run from. In a strange way, it feels like a moment of connection. I know you on some level. I know you because of my Grandma, and I know you because of my Dad. I know what makes you human and I know, in some part, what you are afraid of.
It felt good to shake his hand.
As we were wrapping up the conversation, there was a silent pause. I couldn't handle it. I DO NOT HANDLE PAUSES WELL WHEN I AM NERVOUS. And, because I am a loser, I quickly blurted out, "Did you have a good Christmas?!"
He did have a good Christmas by the way.