My dad was an awful father. I have no love for him. I do not visit his graveside and lament for lost relationships. Most of the time he is barely a blip on my subconscious.
I imagine that as a younger man he had something to sell. My mom is a smart woman so she must have seen something in him to have married him and had two adoring and wonderful children.
Once mom chided me for my disgust and dislike of my dad. Feelings which I have harbored within since I was a teenager. She told me that before the age of five my dad and me had been inseparable. I had adored him.
As a child, parents seem infallible. They are godlike and can do no wrong. Until they do. Until a child’s world begins to expand and they are able to assess their situation in relation to others.
I loved my dad until I was a teenager. I attempted to rebuild a relationship with him as an adult. I wanted his approval. Just once I wanted him to see me. Just once I wanted to have a dad.
I fluctuated for a long time with a love-hate relationship with my dad. I would have benefited from Al-Anon that is for sure. I may have been able to let go of the unrealistic hope that he would finally put the bottle down and become a dad.
For an alcoholic he was. My dad loved his rye. An affinity he passed onto both of his children. This is a man who would start the day off with a glass of rye because he could not find the gumption to face his day without it.
Do you see what happened there? Suddenly my dad is no longer this disgusting pathetic excuse of a drunken man. There is a glimmer of sympathy possibly shining through.
This revelation hit me as I am driving into the city with a friend. I am writing not driving. My dad would make a great character, everything written above a preface to a back story, to his story.
I began to wonder; how do I write my dad into a sympathetic character when I myself feel so much disdain? And I am going to take a chance. I am going to fictionalize my dad and see where his story takes him. And I hope some of you will come along for the ride.