Yes, I know, it must be sad to lose a father; yet, I can’t help wondering, how much sadder to lose a son? Or, how is it to have a father and not to have one at the same time? Or, to have one who is still alive but who is not quite a father at all, the way a classmate’s father or a friend’s father is, even if only taken for granted? It wouldn’t really matter, would it? As long as he is there: mad or angry, friend or a foe, someone to rebel against or someone to follow; as long as he is not someone living a separate life totally different from your own.
How is it to have a father that way? You don’t know how it feels, Ma, because you have had a father all your life. Do you know how it feels to be me?
Before the news came about the passing of your father’s father, you woke up one morning, saying you dreamt that your father was dead. Were you sad? I asked. Why were you sad? I asked again when you nodded.
Because then, he would no longer have the chance to know me, you said, speaking as if you were still a work-in-progress, soon to be completed in some future time, like some deadline for your architectural plates, before being offered to some distant, unworthy god. You did not ask who fathered me when I grew up. I would have told you it was my mother.