Today I called the “semen donor” in Jamaica. The one usually referred to as, my “mother’s husband”, “that man”, “what’s his name again?” Yes, Mr. Noel Emanuel Walsh and the terms of endearment used to acknowledge an emotional void absentee father. Mom loved to irritate me by occasionally responding to those terms of endearment with, “You mean your father? “, overly emphasizing “father”.
In contradiction to my usually controlled, reserved way of getting things done, the placing of the call in itself was a spontaneous, spur of the moment decision. With the ringing of the phone line and the connection established, mi Alma (my soul) pulsated through bouts of hurt, happiness, pain and joy fused and twisted like a Twizzle licorice stick.
William, my eleven-year old half-brother, answered the phone with his Jamaican accented voice. Although my half-brother had yet to meet me, I have known him for years through bits of gossip on the semen donor. I knew what school he was attending, how he lived on the land, his features and his mother’s menopausal pregnancy by way of my cousin Joyce. Mom and Joyce would hold quiet conversations about Noel E. that included William and the hush tones fueled my curiosity through the years. Did he look like us, how was his personality? We’d have to meet eventually although I figured, the meeting would occur after my father’s death.
When my brother answered the phone, I asked to speak with Mr. Walsh and after politely asking me to hold he placed the phone down and called him. I heard his slippers shuffling towards the phone. “Hello” he answered in a voice strained with age. “I’m your youngest daughter, Elena. Do you remember who I am?” “Of course I know who you are”, he replied and the guard rail around mi Alma cracked and the residue of past wounds were comforted by recognition from a long absent father made everything okay. We spoke for an hour and made plans to meet during my travel to Jamaica within the coming week. I was an emotional mess at the end of the call and questioned what had the most effect: the shock of reaching out to Dad on Father’s Day or he remembering who I was.
“He remembers me,” I cried to mom.
“Why shouldn’t he?” she said.
“We’ve set plans to meet when I arrive in Jamaica”.
“You made plans to meet?” mom questioned.
“I’m going to see my Dad”, I cried.