Sunday Confessions: Rejection
As a child I was rejected by my father. A lovely man who felt no need to be a part of my life despite my mothers best efforts to get him involved.
I met him for the first time when I was twelve.
My moms friends and I took my mother out to a local festival for her birthday.
My mom and I sat down at a peeling green picnic table. We talked about our day for a while then sat in happy silence.
My mother began to look among the crowd, she is the person I learned my favorite past time from after all, people watching.
I was watching her watch others when her face shifted from its laid back state into a scrunched frenzy of worry.
I looked behind me to where she was staring intently at this man who was laughing and oblivious to anyone but his company.
He looked oddly familiar. Almost like I could see a trace of him when I looked in the mirror every morning.
I turned slowly back to my mom who was now crying and asked too nonchalantly, "Is that my father?"
She nodded her head yes and cried harder.
I excused myself standing up quickly.
My mother tried to clutch at my arm.quietly but fiercely stating, "This is not how I want you to meet him!"
I looked at her nonplussed and simply said, "If it was up to him, he would never meet me".
No matter how much I wanted to yell and scream at that man I would not embarass my mother.
Just like if my mother had told me not to go over to him that day, I would have sat back down and ignored him like he had ignored the thought of my existence my entire life.
But she didn't.
Her crying slowed a bit and I smiled as if I could somehow pacify her in this awkward situation.
I probably should have waited for my mother to dry her tears and fix her face but I needed to let the adrenaline march me over to him because I knew the minute it was gone my courage would wane.
He and woman he was chatting with were standing and talking.
I politely interrupted their conversation, asking if his name was "Peter XXXXXX". He looked bemused for a second, then he searched my face and found his fear.
His tan face blanched and his fist crushed the plastic cup his cheap beer was in.
He looked at me, at the lady he was with and scanned the crowd.
He nodded his head yes.
I asked him if he knew my mother, and he seemingly stopped breathing.
The lady next to him could feel the tension building and awkwardly encouraged him to use his words rather than just nodding his head.
I wanted to tell her to lay off him, that it must be awkward to confront the fear you've been avoiding for twelve years, but since I was the fear being confronted, I let it slide.
In a slow drawl, I said, "My name is Jennifer and I am your daughter. I want nothing from you but your medical history as you have never wanted to spend time with me I have no wish to spend it with you. Nice to meet you".
He dropped his beer. I walked away to my mom and her friends. The lady kept saying "what, what?"
The only thing I regretted saying was "Nice to meet you".
It wasn't nice. It was forced and obligatory. He did not deny me being his child. He did not say anything really. He was a man caught in the truth finally having to face what he tried to sweep under the rug for so long.
My mom and my friends talked with him, Tina his wife I learned, kept peaking around the group of people to look at me with genuine interest and concern.
I simply wanted to go home.
When you face someone who has hurt the person you love most, it drains you.
When that person stares at you and you catch a glimpse of their soul and you realize you will never see them again you know it's time not to accept their rejection but reject their lame excuses it's liberating.
I never did see him again.
For the most part, I was oddly okay with it and still am.
I don't need people in my life who don't want to be there.
If they cannot appreciate me in my flaws, beauty, ugliness, silliness, mistakes, or me just being me, they can go on their own way.
I lucky to have people who love and accept me for my weirdness, I have no time for those who would reject my existence and write me off as a mistake.