The Lost Years
The Lost Years
Nostalgic...is all I could feel. My mom had, out of the blue, decided it was high time that I change homes and spend the last few years of my school somewhere else. And what could have been better than my dad's own house!
He had called me the day before yesterday...asking me when I was to reach. One word from him and my vision were blurred. In a breath, tears were rolling down my eyes as the memories of the past days fled through my mind. I choked and kept nodding at every question he asked. The only words that escaped my mouth before I even realized were " I want to see you". When we wished each other good night, all my mind could think of was, Dad...Dad...Dad!
I just could not get myself to believe that I was meeting my dad after 14 years. That last day with him was still very clear and etched in my memory. I was just two then and my mom and dad decided to part ways for reasons that remain unknown to me. My mom took custody of me. My dad half-heartedly kissed me goodbye and turned to leave when I spoke my first word, Papa. My dad, so overwhelmed, grabbed me out of my mother's clutches and hugged me tightly. It was one of the warmest hugs that I'd ever received.
And everything after that seems like a bur...
As a child, I often wondered why only I had a single parent, while the rest of the kids would be accompanied by both their parents on the day of the Parent-Teacher Meet or on Annual Day. It was only after I was old enough, I realized that I belonged to a broken home.
Yesterday, when I woke up, I took a look at myself in the mirror. Messed up hair, stains of tears on cheeks and bags under the eyes. I hadn't slept well last night. I was too busy thinking of all those questions that I'd ask him when I would meet him.
I had a thousand questions to ask. I would ask him why he had left. Did he not love me? Was my first word also not enough to hold him back? Why had he not contacted for all these years or at least tried to? Today in the morning, when I was leaving, my mom hugged me and said, " Please miss me." I thanked her for all this. For letting me live a new life. For letting Dad now take her place in my life, even though I knew how much she has hated him.
When I neared dad's house, I sensed butterflies in my stomach. Thankfully, I had his number so I kept looking at his Whatsapp profile so as to register his picture in my mind. The car came to a halt at around the corner of the street and I noticed three people standing at the doorstep. A man and a woman in their mid-forties and a girl who looked like the same age as mine. I got out of the car and recognized the man as none other than my father.
Although I had decided that I would not shed a single tear, the moment was too much to bear. I ran towards him and embraced myself in his arms. It seemed like I had been brainwashed. We were so involved in the moment that neither of us pulled apart. No one spoke. We stood there in silence, with my arms wrapped around his torso and his around my shoulders. I realized how much I had missed him and why my life had felt unfinished. I had missed his hugs. When we pulled apart, he cupped my face into his palms and lifted it so I was looking straight into his eyes. I could see that he wanted to cry too, but was only holding back his tears. Maybe, he wanted to stay strong for me.
It was he who broke the silence first. He raised my hands and kissed the back of my palms and said, " You have grown up to be as beautiful as your mother. You remind me of her when I'd first met her." My lips soon curled into a smile. It was evening when I'd arrived and it had started to turn cold. My dad dropped his hand around my shoulder and said, "Come, let's get you in. It is starting to get cold out here. It is warmer inside." I nodded in response and followed him inside. I noticed that the woman and the girl, who had been watching us all this while, followed us too. I wondered who they were.
Once inside, I turned towards my father and asked him in a whisper, " Who are they?", glancing at the woman and the girl. My dad introduced them to me. The lady was my step-mother and the girl was my step-sister. They both were surprisingly very sweet and welcomed me with open arms. My step-mother let me call her by her name if I felt uncomfortable calling her 'mom'. My step-sister squealed with joy as she tightly hugged me. She had my father's eyes...just like me. I laughed. A genuine laugh. One that I hadn't had in several years. One that comes out of sheer happiness. I looked around the house. It was very much similar to moms. Mom and Dad indeed had a very similar taste. My dad came up to me and asked if I'd like to see my room. We both went upstairs and I was taken aback by what I had set my eyes upon. It was a beautiful teal and black bedroom with a marvelous chandelier hanging from the center of the roof. It was a perfect bedroom, a kind that I had always dreamt of Photos of my childhood hung around the wall. " We had always kept one room for you. I knew you would come to me", my dad said. " I hope you like it." "No dad, I simply love it!" I exclaimed with joy as tears of happiness seamlessly rolled down my cheeks. "Although, you shouldn't have put up that photo", significantly pointing to one photo in which I had my whole face covered in chocolate sauce. My dad and I chuckled. He asked me to freshen up and come downstairs for dinner and then I could use Ashley's (my step-sister) help to set up the room. After he had left, my heart sunk realizing the fact that my dad had a completely new family, that he had moved on, while I was still holding onto my past. But a part of me as still contented to see my father as happy as he was sad when he left 14 years ago. How much ever I'd wished it was me, my step-mom and step-sister were the reason my Dad had smiled. But now...
I was determined to bring back all those years that I had lost with him, and do everything that it takes to make it right!