The Weekly Visit | Teen Ink

The Weekly Visit

February 21, 2014
By BrittyMS DIAMOND, Fort Wayne, Indiana
BrittyMS DIAMOND, Fort Wayne, Indiana
51 articles 9 photos 10 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every time I make a plan, God laughs at me." - Jason Issacs

I can remember sitting at a picnic table when I was really little.

It was a typical shiny, sunny summer day. I was being silly, messing around with my sippy cup. I was pushing it back and forth, rolling it all around the bench seat. I pushed it too far and it rolled its way right over the edge and onto the ground. Mistakenly thinking that my pudgy little arms could reach down that far, I laid on my belly and stretched my arm as far as I could, my fingers twitching and straining for even the briefest of contact with the plastic. Inside of being reunited with my milk on the wooden bench of the table, with one fatal reach too far I, too, was rolled onto the dusty ground. Of course, being the two-year-old I was, I began wailing. I cried and screamed until my father walked over and picked me up. He hugged me to him, rocking me and rubbing my back as he tried to calm me down.

“It’s okay, baby,” he said. “You’ll be fine. It’s okay.” That is the last time I can remember him being there, smiling at me like that. The memory almost breaks my heart as I sit next to him, now merely a shell of what he was.
I cannot say exactly how many times I have gone to visit him over the years since it happened.
It has to have been at least once a year since I was five, but that is not including the times I snuck away without my mom knowing — she would be absolutely horrified if they she knew I went there by myself, all alone in the dark where anyone could snatch me up at a moment’s notice. Our visits were essentially the same; I would ramble on about school and friends, stupid things like the kitten I got when I was 12 or my life was going in general. Sometimes, I would even ask him questions. I would inquire about how he had been since my last visit, if anyone else had been to see him. Never once did I get an answer. He merely laid there and listened, never speaking, never moving; just listening as I spilled my mind out to him. And in a weird way, my dad has always been a huge part of my life in spite of that.
He was the first person I told when I lost my tooth (I even showed it to him). He was the first person I told after my friend Jacob taught me how to ride my bike. I made my best effort to include him in my life, even though everyone around me knew it was futile, maybe even unhealthy, for me to visit him day after day. I never cared though. They did not —could not— understand. He was my father. He was supposed to be there. And if he could not be there, then it was up to me to bring my life to him.
I was so young when he disappeared as a constant part of my life that these visits are the only memories I have ever had of him that are truly mine. I try to tell myself, sitting on the cold January ground covered in snow, that it was always better that way. Through the think silence in the air, I convinced myself that this way I did not have to live up to his expectations. What expectations could he possibly have of me now? He didn’t have any. He was just…there. He could not judge me; he could not criticize me, or badger any of the boys I dated. On paper, it all sounds so morbidly perfect and carefree. I should have been happy. I should have taken advantage of that. Instead, I spent my whole life doing the exact opposite. I strove to be the kind of person I thought he would be proud of. I wasted night after night after night studying, and trying to perfect and for what? To impress someone who could not be impressed? To disprove something that had never been said? I was trapped in a never-ending bubble of wanting to exceed the expectations of nothing.
Would he have liked who I have turned out to be or would he be disappointed in the person I have become? Would he still see me as his little girl who could not tie her shoes for anything? Growing up, I always heard stories about him not always being the nicest man in the world, sometimes dense, always opinionated, but somehow that has never changed the fact that I wanted the chance to know him. I wanted the chance to judge him myself, and not off of the words of others. I was cheated of the right to know the man who had something to do with my entire existence. I will never get the chance to know him like I should have. Stolen memories are all that I have to remember him by. Stolen memories and a rectangle of granite with nothing but meaningless letters and numbers, one small bouquet of plastic flowers held tightly together with a rubber band, placed by some passer-through who felt compelled by something to visit a man from their past who has been long forgotten by the rest of the world. I’ll straighten up the bouquet, stand up, dust off my jeans, and leave. I’ll put him out of my mind for the next 164 hours. Then I will come back and do it all again.

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