Sunday, August 31, 2014

the one not taken

My Facebook feed is filling up with joyful photos of happy people on vacation in Germany. My siblings--three sisters, a brother--along with others--cousins, other relatives--are touring with my father, who spends a lot of time these days in Europe with the company that he and my other brother (who is home preparing for his wedding) own. It's a spirited, electric family vacation, as can easily be seen in the many photos and posts, each more alive and memory-filled than the last. And, of course, I am nowhere near it.

When my father planned this vacation, he announced it by saying that, with the inclusion of my sister Kathy, he would "finally have taken all my children to Germany." In his mind, I am sure that is true. In the real world, though...not so much. There is one of his children whom he has not taken and will never take. There is one of his children with whom he severed ties for years and, though he pretends nothing is wrong when he sees her these days, it is one of the facades he has been so good at keeping up since the days when he was having an affair with a neighbor woman while we all went about our family business, oblivious. There is one of his children he likes to pretend no longer exists, no longer matters.

Because that child is transsexual.

Before I came out to my father, we had a good relationship. Despite the fact that he had broken my mother's heart, I thought it important to keep him in my children's lives, so we visited him in Florida every year. His vitriolic and hypocritical reaction to my revelation, though, made it clear that things were going to change.

"When you have children," he yelled at me in the parking lot next to his condo, "you put aside your own needs. I did not love your mother the last ten years of our marriage, but I had brought kids into the world and I needed to raise them."

Yeah, I wanted to say, you just walked down the street and got it on secretly with Mrs. ---. I don't exactly have that kind of option. I can't just be a woman when I feel like it. It doesn't work that way.

For years we did not speak. When we did, and since then, he made it a study to act as if nothing at all has changed, nothing at all is unusual, nothing at all ever happened between us. He also has never once acknowledged me as his daughter. My children? They do not know him; he has made no effort whatsoever to keep them in his life, and he wanted nothing to do with me. I think it is terribly sad: he is a living grandfather that they simply do not know.

And he is a living father that I no longer know.

The Facebook pictures keep flooding in: all of them sitting around a great table in a restaurant, enjoying a meal, walking down a quaint German street, enjoying each other's company once again as stories are formed that I will not be part of. I have not been part of family stories since I left for college, but I've only been excluded from them since I transitioned. I do not begrudge my sisters this experience: I hope they are enjoying themselves; it is indeed something to be enjoyed. But I feel more and more another thing that is terribly sad--horribly, awfully, frighteningly sad. I started feeling it years ago, but as time passes it becomes more inevitably true, more irretrievably horrendous to say. It is this:

I will not feel any pain or loss when this man dies. And I cannot even imagine attending his funeral; I could not stand to hear my siblings praise him. There is certainly considerable time until then, but the way things are going and have gone these last sixteen years, I doubt that anything will happen to change things.

Meanwhile, I'll settle for my brother's wedding for family memories. At least I'll be there for that. So will my father, who will be perfectly civil to me.

As if nothing at all is wrong.

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it's your hair that i notice first
streaked with morning
it frames your face
you lying there eyes closed
soft breath not quite there
i follow its path as it bends the sheet
and i can touch you there
touch what i feel is you
in the spark of daylight
you'll rise
pull on the wrinkled shirt from last night
say something you think is beautiful
drink some coffee
from behind my paper
and drive away,
leaving a kiss on my lips
and a hole in my heart
where a fire ought to be

Favorite Films

  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Amelie
  • The Princess Bride
  • Casablanca
  • Annie Hall
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • All That Jazz
  • Citizen Kane
  • Love Actually
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Big Fish
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Almost Famous
  • Bull Durham
  • Notting Hill
  • Apocalypse Now (Redux)
  • Magnolia

All-Time Favorite TV Shows

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Gilmore Girls
  • M*A*S*H
  • The West Wing
  • The X-Files
  • The Daily Show
  • Ally McBeal
  • Picket Fences
  • All In The Family
  • Seinfeld
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show
  • Star Trek
  • Firefly
  • Wonderfalls
  • Northern Exposure
  • Get Smart
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show
  • Twin Peaks
  • The Larry Sanders Show
  • Monk
  • Felicity
  • St. Elsewhere

Current TV Shows I Enjoy (in no particular order)

  • Perception
  • Major Crimes
  • American Horror Story
  • Louie
  • Suits
  • The Newsroom
  • Falling Skies
  • Franklin and Bash
  • Veep
  • Scandal
  • Fairly Legal
  • Girls
  • Don't Trust the B---
  • Justified
  • Portlandia
  • Psych
  • The Middle
  • Person of Interest
  • Happy Endings
  • Hart of Dixie
  • Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Nikita
  • Raising Hope
  • Castle
  • Drop Dead Diva
  • Covert Affairs
  • Elementary
  • Rizzoli and Isles
  • Revolution
  • The Last Resort
  • Alphas
  • SNL
  • Revenge
  • Community
  • Suburgatory
  • New Girl
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Grimm
  • Nashville
  • Downton Abbey
  • Smash
  • Homeland
  • Fringe
  • Glee
  • Haven
  • Community
  • Warehouse 13
  • Modern Family
  • Vampire Diaries
  • The Daily Show
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • The Colbert Report
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Leverage
  • Rachel Maddow Show

xkcd - A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and