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The Absent Father

Gordon realized the minute he made the decision to not actively be part of his child’s life that it would set the tone for things to come. He didn’t arrive at the decision easily but felt it was best for all concerned—mostly for his son, who at the end of the day, should be the highest priority in his mind.

Absent

Absent (Photo credit: D.Munoz-Santos)

Theirs was a contentious relationship; passionate, yet completely devoid of any rationale, rhyme or reason to fall back on when things got dicey. Jen and Gordon would get along just fine when the good times were rolling. The raucous, partying nights out together acted like obliterating salve for the underlying current of troubled water that inevitably would rise and consume them.

They separated and got back together, the second time with even more disastrous results than the first. Gordon knew getting back with her a second time was a mistake about to happen before he agreed to give it another chance. It took less than 30 days for the relationship to implode this time with Gordon announcing he was leaving, showering and finding his meager possessions waiting on the front lawn for him after he was dressed.

Eventually finding his way to yet another of the very modest one-bedroom apartments that today have long since been razed, Gordon set about putting the pieces of his life back together. But the relative calm and order that was living alone once more was about to come crashing down three months later with the ring of his telephone.

“Hello?”

Yes, Gordon?”

“Jen?”

“How are you?” he blurted out wishing he had let it roll to the answering machine.

“I am fine, but I am pregnant.”

“Wow! Congratulations!”

“Gordon, it’s yours.”

He knew she was seeing someone else and quickly went on the offensive.

“You will forgive me, but I will press paternity on this Jen. I do not mind supporting my own child, but I will not be paying for someone else’s.”

“Fine!” and she hung up the phone on him.

She called again a few days later and with Gordon having had some time to warm to the idea of being a dad. He was still going to force the paternity issue with some blood testing, but he thought it wouldn’t hurt to see her again.

He met her downtown for lunch later that week, realizing in the space of minutes, stomach pit churning, that he had double faulted and she was serving ground rules once more.

Once lunch was over, Gordon withdrew to the sanctity of his apartment and the healthy distractions of working a day job followed by occasional nights playing in a band. Jen tried calling him, even showing up unannounced at his door. He told her their relationship was over, but provided the child was his, he would financially support him or her.

She was jilted and began acting irrationally towards Gordon. The morning Jen had arranged for two thugs to pay him a visit was the last straw for Gordon.

Absent gaze - Topkapi Palace (Istanbul)

Absent gaze – Topkapi Palace (Istanbul) (Photo credit: Guillermo Fdez)

Opening the door with a baseball bat leaning on his shoulder menacingly, the two men were taken aback.

“Um, we want to have a word with you,” the shorter of the two stammered.

“I don’t know you but I have a feeling I know who sent you. Walk away now and don’t come back,” Gordon growled.

The two men retreated obediently and Gordon slammed the door shut.

Gordon received a letter in the mail five months later. Pictures of his newborn son Aiden were enclosed along with birth date particulars. Gordon could not make out any resemblance whatsoever and sought about getting paternity testing rolling. He retained the services of an attorney.

The blood work revealed indisputably that it was Gordon’s child; well, unless you want to argue with one tenth of one percent uncertainty. His attorney facilitated the process of his paying child support and also for the medical care of Aiden and Jen while they were in the hospital.

Gordon agreed wholeheartedly with the arrangement. He knew Jen was involved with someone new, they were supposedly serious and he had heard talk the guy would like to adopt Aiden once he and Jen were married.

Jen and Gordon still couldn’t talk on the phone without it ending in argument minutes later. He thought it best to not utilize his visitation rights, not wanting Aiden to see his mother and father fighting. He casually knew the man Jen was involved with, quietly hoping their relationship would work so Aiden would have the father he never could be.

Aiden and Gordon finally met decades later through a serendipitous turn of events. Aiden had several of Gordon’s features, knew they were father and son and quickly went about the process of making up for lost time. Jen was very ill, never married, raised Aiden herself, but would die before Gordon would see her again.

The happy times for Gordon and Aiden were over all too fast as well. Turbulence in their relationship eventually ruled the day. Both men grew estranged before they had a chance to fully connect—the silence and absence of each Father’s Day passing leaving an annual, torturous reminder for what could have been.

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2 replies »

  1. What a touching, sad, sad story. It was so well written, and in just a few short words, you let us see the essence of a span of many years. Amazing work! 🙂 Thanks for following my blog, and I will return the favor with pleasure. I’ll look forward to getting better acquainted through the Bolgosphere! 🙂

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