(A Continuation of the Post-My Teenage Self…)
My father called me down to the basement that afternoon, fresh out of his shower with his usual white, Velcro towel wrapped around his waist. He stood in the doorway of the bathroom, still wet and heated from his shower, and informed me, with a grin on his face, that he had went to my ex-boyfriend’s house to, “Have a talk with him!” This caught my attention immediately. I was eager, based on his bold personality and the gratifying tone of his voice, to hear what he had done. My father was intimidating and said things without any fear of repercussion. The boy’s mother was an alcoholic and my father noted that when he knocked on the door, she did not move from the couch. It was mid-day and she was passed out, so there was little chance he was going to be able to discuss his resentments with her. This left one option available in my dad’s mind; he would have to discuss the matters he came to protest directly to the young man, while standing out on the front stoop.
Over the course of our short-lived, month long relationship, my dad never actually ended up meeting my boyfriend. This meant when my father showed up at his door, he did not know who he was. Since he did not have any warning about who or what he was confronting by opening the door, there was no hesitance. My dad said first he persuaded him to come outside and then divulged who he was. The boy instantly turned pale, “As white as the towel I am wearing,” my father laughed.
The conversation was very one sided. It was more of a dictating proclamation by my father. He candidly threatened him by stating that he better watch out because he would be watching his every move, and if he so much as looked at me wrong, or said anything to me again, he would kill him. He went as far as making an intimidating suggestion that he drive around in a bullet proof car. He gave him clear instructions to not go anywhere near me and showed him the line, on the sidewalk, he was to never cross unless he wanted to be hunted down like prey. He nearly made him piss his pants. All in all, he confronted him, warned him, and made it clear he had messed with the wrong guy’s daughter.
At first I was pumped and excited to hear this story. I had not known about his plans to do this, but it showed how much my father loved me. Since the words of the letter were still deeply troubling me, like an open wound, I now felt vindicated. Yet, once I returned to school, everything changed. I realized that the boy, even with the hateful things he had said, was still an obsession of mine and now he was terrified to even go near me, or look at me. I should have been grateful, but I was a fourteen year old girl whose first relationship had led to pain, regret, and self-consciousness.
All I could think was, “Who is going to want to date me now?” I do not like being told someone or something is off limits and that is what my dad had done; banned this boy from me. In retrospect, the boy did it to himself, and I am forever honored to have such a poignant example of my father’s unconditional love for me. Regrettably, I felt very differently then, and my teenage hormones and defiance took over. I didn’t talk to my father for weeks and the tension lasted for months. This was the first serious dissension of our relationship.
My mother told me after he died that she, too, was extremely grateful we had resolved our issues. She also divulged that my father had a very difficult time with the tension between us and sought advice from her on how to handle the situation. He had never encountered this type of behavior from my sister, and it caught him completely off guard. He had expected my initial gratitude to last, and when it didn’t, he was confused and clueless on what his tactics should be to restore our relationship. My mother told him he needed to, simply, go and talk to me.
I spent most of my time at home during this period, in my room, listening to music. Not just listening to any music, but putting the song, “I Alone,” by Live on repeat and singing it over and over again. Yes, this is how dramatic I was. I was depressed, hurt, and confused. I just wanted my father to tell me it was okay for me to see this boy again or at least be in his presence; I am sure this broke his heart. When we talked, he withdrew his initial ban and revised it. He decided it could be my choice to talk to him if I wanted, and he would consider letting me see him if it was at our house, supervised. I remember being relieved. We forgave each other and vowed to start spending more time together, and he made me swear to never put him through another silent treatment.
During this time of our life, my dad had been busy with his new business and repairing our house, and we had not been spending a lot of time together. During our talk, we discussed this and promised one another we would make a date soon to go golfing. We agreed that our relationship had been growing more distant and golfing was our special pastime. It was something we had neglected for too long, and I looked forward to doing this with him again.
Golfing was something exclusive that only my dad and I did together. He trained me and bought me my first set of golf clubs. I was his partner from then on out, and I loved it! When I first started I was 10 or 11, and the tradition was, once we were out of view of the registration office, he would let me drive the golf cart. I thought this was the coolest thing ever! I still regret that we never got to go and have this one-on-one bonding time again before he died. This is an activity I have never been able to truly enjoy with anyone else, since. I hope to one day again, with one or both of my children!