Going to visit my father after years of seperation sounded like a good idea. Or a good sounding bad idea. It’s been years since I moved out of the house but even though the journey from my house was less than an hour drive, I could never bring myself to it.
My father wasn’t a perfect man. Not close. He says that often. He wasn’t the trophy winning father either. Our lives was a mess before I was eighteen when I moved out. We could hardly afford a 3-times meal because he rather spent the money on rum and alcohol.
Before he got into the alcohol addiction, we lived pretty well. He was a doctor but got his license taken away after an incident at the hospital. Since then, he literally tortured me. It was being wicked and not being strict. He controlled my life, school-life, picked the people I could hangout with and the times I could, he told me the subjects to take, would severely punish me for things as trival as spilling water on the floor. He tried to break me, He told me I would never measure up. He intimidated me into silence and made me the introvert I wasn’t and all my life, I’d tried proving myself to him. To show him I was better or going to be much better, to grow into a man a father would be proud of, even though we rarely spoke.
After moving out, I saw him a couple of times on the train but never made an attempt to talk to him. Still living closeby to my old apartment, few weeks after I graduated from studying psychology in college, I saw him walking down the road while I was driving to work and I did the craziest thing ever. I decided to give him a ride. I don’t know if it was to prove to him that I was more or because i just wanted to. The drive wasn’t awkward or nothing close to what I had imagined, he talked to me, and he let me talk back. He said he had changed. That he was sober now and then he did something, something I’ll never forget – he apologized.
Since then, I’d pick him up whenever I saw him and would drop by a couple of times. The house was cleaner than when I left. We talked about our lives and all that happened. He told me what made him change, said it was a church, or Jesus. I don’t believe in any religion or in a supernatural life but i was glad something made him change and gave me an opportunity with my father.
He made me promise to introduce him to my girlfriend and I did. He was funny and no longer a mess. He had changed and I knew that. We were beginning to have the relationship we never had and even more.
This afternoon, I got his call but I was in a meeting with a patient so I put my phone to silent mode, hoping i’d call him after the meeting. Unknown to me, he had called so many times, left voice messages for me saying I should please come pick him up from home as he was not feeling too well. I called after the meeting but he didn’t pick up. The last time he had called, he didn’t leave a voicemail.
The next time I saw him, he was lifeless. He died on his way to the bus stop. Shot in the head.
And I felt lonelier than I have ever felt. And responsible.