A few nights ago, I dreamt of you in my fuzzy state and the aftermath of eating truffle drenched in Curacao. Now, marks the start of Formula 1 in Singapore – and I can’t tell you about it. I miss you more than ever. I dreamt of the good things – when I was still the apple of your eye. Of course, I was mad at you, for not listening, for not caring, for not being the father, or rather the dad I knew you to be. As the anger died down, it started to settle in – my dad is not in my life anymore. I’m not one for showing emotion, especially telling others how I feel 99% of the time. I like things to seem OK, I don’t like it when people try to pry me open like a stubborn mussel and I react, badly. Maybe it was your doing, because I hated it when you did it on me, and now when I’m much older, and more resistant, it’s harder for me to crack. I don’t like to cry either, but I find it harder and harder to not talk about you without a lump in my throat, or my eyes beginning to swell.
2015 was the worst year, for both of us surely. For me, shocking. I’ve found out things about you, kept hidden from me for my entire life. I’ve seen you at your worst, if it got even worse I don’t know how I would have handled it. Handling stress from you + A-levels + expectations from myself + financial stress + “how are we going to manage” stress + worry about living below the line + worry about your health + worry about ____. I honestly don’t know how long your list was, but I think that was pretty much it. At times, I felt like rubbing salt into your wound and telling you I told you so or see what you’ve done. Of course, I had more sense than that – and I had better things to do than create more stress for myself. Yes, I was there, and I’ve seen it all. I exactly know why we were in that mess, why you were in that mess. I tried to be a team player, and did my best to keep the peace – tolerated you and your outburts, gave/lended you money I knew you couldn’t give me back, kept you company when I knew you needed someone to talk to you when I really needed to finish that essay on my desk. It got to a point, where I couldn’t take it anymore – and you didn’t seem to care. I know, and I don’t expect an apology, but I’ve been hurt enough.
Yes, one year was enough to do the damage it did. But people that knew me before 2015 (or 2014, quite frankly), knew me as daddy’s little girl. In every conversation, there would always be “my dad …” or “OMG you know my dad and I”. I think people got the message when I talked about you, that my dad would be there if I ever needed his help. Growing up, most of the time it was just my dad. I remember coming home crying when I was unjustly yelled at, humiliated and made to stand and face the wall when I didn’t do anything wrong (by everyone’s favourite discipline mistress in that primary school). Dad was there to the rescue, called the school, demanded to speak with the DM, and showed them who’s boss. What a smile it brought to my face when I saw my dad standing up for me and putting them in their place, more importantly, had my back. It still makes me smile from time to time. How he let me stay at home on important game days, oh, how can I forget – Formula 1. How he let me stay at home on Monday when the race was late, and told the teacher that I was unwell.
Of course, he had to be the parent. I couldn’t make a lot of the choices in my life, like how I couldn’t make the choice to go to which secondary school. He had an entire plan drawn in his head, which didn’t go to plan towards the end. He tried to make it up in the end, by supporting my bowling ambitions (which I gave up). How I cheekily ‘rigged’ my interviews so that I could go to the junior college I wanted to, he relented in the end and let me go since he couldn’t stand me in a losing team anymore (haha). I think he knew, and now he should know that that was the best decision I’ve ever made – because it was the school that took care of me and made sure my wellbeing is being kept in checked. And, there were times, he had to talk sense into me. For those who know me from way back, I wanted to be a Formula 1 engineer. And to be that, you needed to do Additional Math + Pure Physics in order to do the right subjects at A- level in order to even meet the requirement to do engineering in university. As some of you would know, my math is not the best. My dad was there to stop me and told me straight “you can’t do math to save your life, don’t be stupid, and do what you are good at [ie art]”. So I knew not doing math was going to be hard, so I relied on pure physics which – well, crashed and burned the same way. Sigh, my dreams. So, that’s how I wanted to do law instead. Anyway, I digress.
In many ways, I am like my father. In many ways, I’m not. Like my father, I support the All Blacks, the best rugby team in the world. Like my father, we love the same music – the same head banging, garbage can banging, loud screaming rock n roll melodies. Saturday nights were spent at Hard Rock Cafe listening to the live rock band. Like my father, we have strong opinions, and no one is going to bully us because we won’t let anyone. I thought of my dad, how proud he would be if he knew of the guy I stood up to at work for making inappropriate comments at me – how he would do the same. I honestly thought my dad was the boss, the man people knew better than to mess with him. As a young girl, living in a world where people think it’s alright to make remarks about how I dress, I learnt from my father how to stand on my own two feet, especially when it comes to mysogynistic pigs. Ah, the amusement. My father once told me, “when dealing with Wolves, men must be tigers.” I never knew what it meant, until I started working part-time at Uniqlo – when I saw how unfair, how subconsciously some of my colleagues treated others.
I don’t know what I aim to get out of writing this, neither do I know what reaction I will get from this post. One thing that I know, for sure, is that I miss my dad. It’s settling in, how much I’ve missed seeing my dad. I feel like I no longer blame my father for the circumstances that surround us, for he did do his best, but I guess the demons in him/issues he never tackled got the better of him. When he said he would be there for me, every step of the way, supporting my dreams and ambitions and making it possible, he came crashing down on it, and slowly ripping them slowly and painfully apart. I know he didn’t mean to, I know he wanted the best, but he couldn’t provide anymore. I know he feels hurt, anger, and disappointment that he couldn’t anymore, and how I had to push myself away to get better – I know the hurt he went through, for I did too. I know there may be never a time we can get back the father-daughter relationship we once had, and my only hope is that we start talking again, and I get to hug you once more. Oh, the cold wind blows once more, the cold cold wind. And once more, I go to bed without your goodnights.
Ah, I miss you so.