Last night I dreamt that my dad called me up and said my name quite clearly. But after that everything he said came out garbled, as if he was a mental patient or a drunk in the last stages of alcoholism. I wasn’t even sure he was speaking english. The scene switched to his apartment, which was a grimy hole in the wall. I opened my arms wide to give him a hug, and he merely stood across the room, muttering something darkly beneath his breath, and shaking his head.
I’m always glad to awaken after such a dream and discover that it’s not real. Still, I felt quite shaken. My dad was such a vital part of my life, even during the 8 years during my childhood when I was forbidden contact with him. Probably especially because I lost him for those years, he became larger than life in my imagination. In my mind’s eyes I saw him charging unexpectedly into my crabbed little world, with all the fervor of a Knight in Shining Armor. I saw the gorgeous white horse he’d ride in on, and felt the heat of its breath creating goose bumps on my skinny bare arm as I stood tippy-toe to pet the area around the soulful chocolate-brown eyes. If horses can flare their nostrils, this one would definitely have flared nostrils in righteous indignation over my mom and stepdad’s outrageous treatment of me!
I used to lie on my bed, after having been banished to my room yet again for nothing, and think hotly, “If dad was here, this wouldn’t have happened! If I lived with him, he would never ground me to my room for nothing!” Oh, I couldn’t even properly imagine living with him. What would that be like, anyway? All I had was memories from the first 7 years of my life, and I knew of course how priceless they were. But I was older now. Would he feel the same about me if he were to see me at 9 or 12 or 13?
Some of my parts have never really recovered from the pain of those orphaned years. When my dad died about 7 years ago, it was a double mourning. I had to grieve not only the termination of his physical self, but those 8 lost years when the father-daughter bond was shattered nearly beyond repair.
Today I’m thinking of my dad and missing him with nearly the same fervor of heartsickness I experienced as only an abandoned child can.