Shattered dreams

Never judge a book by its cover or maybe judge away…

… that expensively dressed lady – uses a stolen phone and moonlights as a call girl:

… that business-like man – drives a car financed by drug money:

… that respected surgeon in a major hospital – beats the crap out of her husband:

… that outspoken governor in your child’s school – is the neighbourhood’s peeping tom:

… that nice butcher’s wife who’s always friendly – is a people’s smuggler:

… that beautiful little girl who attends every Chelsea game with her dad – is a secret Arsenal supporter:

… that motherly woman who is always immaculate and poised – smokes weed in her garden when no one is home.

A few weeks ago, the BBC reported about a father who allegedly raped his daughter hundreds of times.  He has since been found guilty and jailed for 40 years… hooray!!

A few decades ago, researchers described such a father as a degenerate, intellectually inferior lowlife living in poverty, abused alcohol and drugs and had no moral standards.  Recent research, however, has found that anyone with a devious enough mind is capable of such atrocities.  Prison sentences for such offences range can vary depending on the age of the child – if under 13 it can be life.  This is the ultimate betrayal because there’s nothing worse than shattered trust.

The following fictional story is based on real-life events – names/places have been omitted to protect privacy and identities.

***

You took me to a high-end jewellery shop. As I flicked through the catalogue and looked at the prices in awe, you glanced at me with an acknowledging look and a smile. “You can have any design you want my love,” you said.

I was seventeen and had only just met you. You left mum when she was pregnant with me because you said the relationship wasn’t working. She moved away.

For years you searched for me, and any attempts to contact her through her family were unsuccessful. When I was fourteen my mum told me about you. I wasn’t interested, I was angry at you for abandoning us; and besides, I had a lovely supportive dad who loved me as his own.

Just before my seventeenth birthday, I came looking for you – it was daughter-father love at first sight.  We cried as we hugged.  No words needed to be said – there’d be time for that.  We met frequently and you bought me anything I wanted.

“Nothing can compensate for the last seventeen years, but it’s a start,” you said.

Since you lived far away, we decided to meet every three weeks for dinner and have a sleepover at least every two months. My parents agreed – you seemed genuine and regretful of the time we’d lost.  You wanted to be there for the next part of my life – the graduation, the wedding, the grandchildren etc.  I didn’t want you to miss that either. I loved you even though I didn’t grow up knowing you.

Sometimes though you seemed cold, I assumed it was nerves, and hoped in time you’d warm up to me.  One afternoon I came to your house unannounced. I wanted to surprise you. When you opened the door, you looked different.
“Hi, dad.”
“What the fuck!! What you doin’ ere?” I was surprised but smiled anyway.  Your wife came to the door, looking like a drunk Russian peasant.

“You shouldn’t just turn up at people’s home!” she fumed.
“This is my dad’s home; I think I can come as I please and …”
“NO! You can’t!!” you bellowed. I was confused and devastated at the realisation that you might have been faking affection the whole time. The glassy-eyed bewildered monster before me was not the man I’d come to love.  I fled.

I got home in floods of tears and narrated, between deep sobs, the incident to my mother. She hugged me tight, “people are messy baby” she whispered. The hurt in her eyes was as stark as the stabby pain in my heart. I never wanted to see you again.

Three weeks later, you crawled back in and apologised profusely blaming it on some medication you were taking. When I asked what medication, you dodged that question and wanted to know when we could meet. I wasn’t desperate for a dad, I had one, but I wanted to give you another chance largely because we were related. In my naivety, I wanted to understand why you behaved the way you did – maybe I could help you.

You suggested a weekend away. I readily agreed. My parents were sceptical, but I assured them the incident was resolved.  When dad asked about the incident, I explained it away – I lied for you.  Reluctantly they let me come to meet you.

On the last night after dinner, I was tired after a long day of roller-coasters and sightseeing. You wanted to watch the sunset in my room. I agreed because my room had the perfect view. The sun was due to set at 10.10 pm according to BBC weather, I didn’t think I could wait that long – I was very tired. You said you’d lock the door after you.

As soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out cold in blackness.  At some point in my unconscious abyss, I felt a weight on me: I felt a weird sensation between my legs: I heard heavy breathing: I smelt alcohol or stale fish. I woke up the next day groggy, half-naked and in pain.  My mind was as blank as a canvas.  My mind couldn’t comprehend what had happened, but my body felt broken. 

I joined you at the breakfast room and found you munching away a full English breakfast. You avoided my gaze.  We ate in deafening silence.  When you went to pack your stuff, I ordered an uber and left, leaving you and my belongings behind.  I was sure mum would understand.

Her hands flew to her mouth the minute I stepped in our house.  I was a sight.  I’d cried all the way home.  I told my parents everything …… well… as much as I could remember and how I felt.  Dad was on a murderous rage for days.

Anyone can father a child, but it takes real men of substance to be dads.

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