Life. Parents. Mother. Father…
They all make sense. All but the last one. And here is the story:
I do not know who my father is _was_ he is dead. He died when I was around a year old. What killed him? It was his time. I know it was his time. Death only happens when it is time. How he was killed is the right question though. I have already said how in a different story, but this is another story. This is my side of the story. He died before I could have ‘a’ memory with him. Not even one single memory. It is not that I feel angry, no. I just feel burdened. Writing is the only escape.
How I feel about it is the only thing I know about him. I do regret one thing. I do hate one thing. I do feel angry about one thing. I have only four or five pictures with him. I have only one family picture for the five of us: Him, my mom, my two other sisters and me.
How does it feel like to grow without the one man you are supposed to trust? How does it feel like living your childhood listening to other children talking about how amazing their fathers are? And all you could say to console yourself is: He is a martyr. How does it feel like graduating from Tawjihi and not see him thrilled? Proud? How does it feel like to get an A at college and not have him there waving at you, smiling, taking pictures? How does it feel to wake up everyday and know that no matter how hard you try, he will not be there? How does it feel when the only thing you know about him is stories told by strangers and pictures, very few pictures to tell you how he looked like?
Well, it sucks. It sucked. It will always suck.
I admit that I love the person who invented the camera. If it were not for him, I would have never known. My loss would have been greater.
When I was a kid, I used to cry the second I hear his name- I still do that sometimes- But I learned to overpower the tears and let out a laugh. A laugh joined with words like, “It’s okay, he has been dead for so long.” Or, “don’t worry! It’s fine! It’s been more than 17 years.” Well, guess what? It feels like it were yesterday. I grew older, however. I try to busy myself with life or maybe life is trying to make me forget. Move on. Let go?
It is not easy. It is never easy. And there is nothing in the whole world I hate more than people who try to make ‘orphans’ like myself feel better. They sympathize. They tear. They show sorrow. They make it worse! They make orphans feel like aliens. Different. The other. As if they were whole and we, orphans, incomplete. We are. But you do not have to ring that bell quite often. Quite always.
I confess that I love him so much although I do not even know him. All I know is his name. His job. The color of the tie he wore the day he got married. The color of the shirt in the picture that has us together. I see him grabbing my hand in the picture and feel paralyzed. I stare at my hand hoping to feel the shiver, I am sure, he made me feel when I was that young. I see him, in the pictures, looking at me: smiling. I feel happy. I feel really happy. Then, I remember he is not smiling at me. He is not looking at me. He is looking at the camera. The cameraman. And not me. Not me. I do not know whether I should hate him for that or not.
I do not know how he sounds like. I do not know how he walks. Talks. Laughs. I do not know whether there is anything in me that resembles him or not. I do not even know how my name sounds like when he calls me. When he used to call me. And the greatest, the worst part\ loss is that I have never used the noun ‘dad’ or ‘father’ or ‘papa’ addressing him. I do not even know if I could speak when he passed away.
I confess that it hurts. That it really hurts. That it will always, always hurt. But there is nothing I can say but ‘El Hamdulilah’ for he is in a better place along with other Martyrs. And all I hope for is to be the great teacher he used to be and that I will make his memory live on and his legacy last. Until my children decide to be a great teacher like their mother or her father before her.
I miss him. I will always miss him. Until the very last breath. I will miss him and love him the most although I have never dreamed about him. Although I do not even know him. And I will never do. Never do.