“You are for her and many I imagine, a senex perhaps…”
Hmmm. The old man. Well, the last time I saw my father was in 1986, when I graduated from Moravian College as a "non-traditional" student, meaning I was 40 and working full time as a corporate magazine editor. Anyway, when he showed up unannounced I could see there was nothing old about him. Which is to say absolutely no diminishment of his desire to deny my reality. "You look like a little kid in that outfit," he said. Ha, ha, ha. Beneath his surface cordiality he was as formidable and aggressive as ever, and I got the clammy feeling that he would outlive me and triumphantly piss on my grave. (Note to self: Locate the cemetery where they buried the miserable bastard, so the next time I'm in America I may go piss on HIS.)
As the old man myself I think about my children. Lara, born in 1970 and Stephen in 1974. I did not abuse them as my father abused me, rather I tried to give them as many loving affirmations as I could because I understood the permanent psychic wounds that come from never being unconditionally accepted for who you are. But nevertheless both were severely damaged by the unforgivable betrayal of my loving booze and writing and photography more than I loved them.
In 1982 I finally quit drinking but writing and photography still are with me, are indeed central to my life. Sad to say they stopped communicating about three years ago, and both their phone numbers and emails don’t work anymore. I fear they don’t want me to know what’s happened to them. Every month or so I Google their names, but nothing ever shows up. They know how to reach me, and also know they are always welcome.
I also think about another old man, Ernesto, who presumably reads this LiveJournal. Not too long ago I posted a particularly revealing photograph of Maria. Beneath it I addressed Ernesto directly. Just in case he missed the message, here it is again:
Look deep into the eyes of your daughter, Ernesto. This is how she looks at her lover, her best friend, now her substitute father. It is the way she used to look at YOU.
When Maria learned she was adopted three years ago she suffered a profound trauma. Her pain has not gone away, she feels it every day, and it breaks my heart. As it ought to break yours.
You could have helped her heal by telling her the details of the adoption, how it came about, and who her biological parents are. She repeatedly asked you for this information, because it’s the only way she’ll finally understand her true origin, and who she really is.
But you refuse. You say coldly, “We raised you. That’s all you need to know.”
But unless you put aside your heartless refusal to speak, Ernesto, she will continue to suffer. In your stubborn silence there is no end to her suffering.
Is this what you really want?