In Search of a Truth
The news I had expected yet feared carried me ever closer to the edge of my chair, and I choked out the obvious. My father looked at me, nodded, and responded softly with the confirmation. I felt myself surrender to the truth, as goose bumps soared up and down the back of my neck. My feeble attempts to rationalize my thoughts had been viciously crushed by my father’s words, and I had to admit, it hurt.
The dining room of the up-market hotel where we had been residing fell silent and all the eyes in the room fell upon our table. As I left the room I could hear my dad calling after me and the reassurances his new love interest gave, that I would be okay, that he needed to give me some time and that I would come back when I was ready. By the time I had reached my exit my vision had become clouded from the tears that were now streaming down my face. I made the short walk through the rustic Calabrian seaside town towards the desolate beach. There I sat on the sand watching the sun set through the blur of tears. It seemed a metaphor for my life, but the sun would rise again in the morning and I didn’t know whether the sun would shine once more in my life. At half past eleven I staggered through the rocky streets finally reaching the hotel, only to be greeted by my father and that man.
The rest of that evening was spent in my dank hotel room face down in a pillow sodden with my salty tears. I didn’t sleep that evening. Nor did I go through any particular stage… maybe shock, I don’t know I cannot recall that night. The next day I composed myself and without looking my dad in the eye I expressed my wish that he contact my mum and arrange me a flight to England. Admirably, he respected my wishes.
My mum knew not of my discovery and upon my return I was greeted with stern words for running away five days earlier. I didn’t run away for all the usual reasons teenagers run away for, I ran away in search of a truth You see five days ago my mother’s lover, Steve had been getting drunk and picking fault with the rest of the imperfect world; especially the gay community, making specific references to my dad and how he and mum had “saved me” from “a life like that.” This comment combined with many unexplained recent events between my dad and his new best friend only pointed to one thing. Believe me when I say this I had painstakingly been over every other possibility yet there was just one that fitted. You must understand that yes, I did bring the turmoil upon myself in many ways but only to prevent it from being yet another drawn out secret between dad and myself.
Alone in my room I began to process the wealth of information. I drew conclusions by reading and writing poetry, by writing letters and listening to music. Anything I could think of. Nothing had a profound effect. I had unanswered questions that I couldn’t bear to ask so I wrote them down and put them in a draw along with the rest of the stuff. I wrote comments in my journal filled with all sorts of different thoughts, just to try and arrange them or empty them out of my head.
Dad’s words…reflect his commitment to a specific destiny. He has made a purposeful statement declaring he is not going to deny his feeling any longer. His decision is a conscious, calculation of the consequences stating that for him, the freedom to be with Rob is worth any price. Whatever the cost, my Dad has chosen to surrender his life for this relationship and to this new community.
(Extract from one of my journal entries.)
Don’t get me wrong I have not put this extract in because I am proud of this. It is simply to show that although the malign comments it contains are hurtful. They didn’t even begin scratch the surface of what I was feeling.
At this point one would be forgiven for thinking that I’d had previous bad experiences with my dad. In fact it is the opposite of that is true because prior to a custody hearing four months earlier, I barely had contact with my mum and resided with my dad and whoever else lived with him at the time. I now know that Uncle Jerry, the doctor, who by coincidence just happened to be gay, could afford his own house and that he was living with us by choice. I’m not that naive to think otherwise. But all my life my Dad had been there for me. Fair enough; his work takes him all over Europe but he has helped me through the important stuff and I have always been fully aware of his unconditional love for me.
This event is one of the biggest that has ever happened to me not because of what it represents and the particular hurt it caused me. But because of the positive consequences that it has brought about. It meant that in time I was able to go back to my Dad in an atmosphere that, although uncomfortable at first, was at least honest. From the initial first months of unease has sprung a family I am now proud to belong to. I’m proud because of how it functions together and, in particular, how it has helped me to function as a member of it. It may be a little drastic to say that the events of that summer changed my life but what I can say is they certainly affected the course of it for the better. They halted me just as I was heading off the rails. I am now living full time with my dad, his partner and his partner’s son. I have the stability to be the best I can be and to develop as an individual in a way that is unique to me and beneficial to everyone else. Although the contents of that drawer is still in my possession, it’s doesn’t serve as something to dwell on but instead it is there for me to remind myself, not often, but every now and again how fortunate I am to have come out the other side with what I have