I am a Jon Snow. No, not Northern, or even King of the North. Yet.
I am a Bastard. In the dictionary-defining sense of the word. Fatherless; raised by my Mother, Grandmother, and Grandfather, for those early years we lived with them, till my sister came along and prompted a move.
A fatherless, council estate boy of grey England.
I think often of whether this is or isn’t an issue; if I’m creating a drama, when there is need for none. I often ponder on the fact that, technically speaking, Luke Skywalker had more of a relationship with his Father than I ever did mine. (God what I wouldn’t give to have my hand cut off and rule an Empire.)
I have, in the past, lay awake at night thinking if I may ever meet him again, what I would say, or what would he say. Would he care? It would be awkward, sure. Although, after 25 years, one gets the impression that’s a guys way of saying, "Nah, I’m alright man. You do you."
All I know about him is that he looks like me, had an interest in the NFL at one point, and used to go to the gym. Weirdly, these have all been/are things I do too. I also look like me, dip in and out of the NFL (watching the Super Bowl yearly as if I, or any other Brit, have any clue), and did once, believe it or not, go to the gym. It was at the time when going to the gym for leg days wasn’t as important as it is perceived now, mind. I had my induction. A bored guy, much heavier and stronger than me, took little interest in how I struggled to lift 30 lbs on the weight machine or couldn’t (and still can’t) do more than a push-up without crying.
I went to the gym four or five times, and subsequently lost my wallet, along with my gym membership, which I took as a sign from the heavens, and never went again. I am prepared to die breathless and young.
I remember many years ago, when I was no older than 10 (I think, the dates are hazy at this stage) my mother set up a meeting with him, believing it was a good time for me to meet him. For me, it came out of the blue—having never had a father figure in my life (my Grandad was always my Grandad to me. I often helped him with the gardening. But by that, I mean I dug for worms whilst he tended to the runner beans and peas we used to grow in his garden) it never occurred to me that I might need a Dad. All I knew at the time was that he was a guy I had to meet. I remember being nervous when he came to pick me up one day, and that when I told him I didn’t like football, it kind of killed an early portion of conversational plans he must have hurriedly thought up in the car ride over.
I have to assume he thought I was gay. My girlfriend has since admitted she did too when she met me. She says it’s because I didn’t seem interested in her at the time, but my argument is that is an arrogant thing to say.
He took me to where he worked. I remember his partner was there, in the car. Whilst he left to go do something, I stayed with her. She didn’t speak to me. It must have been inconvenient for her. I got the feeling she didn’t like me. I wanted to get out the car, but didn’t. Awkward silence is my jam, bitch.
When he came back, he took me into a depot where he worked. I believe he was/is a mechanic, He used a tool on a bus, and also showed me that he could do a wheely on a mountain bike. To be fair, looking back, if I was struggling for ideas, I’d have done the same thing. The extremes the mind will go to to win back an audience.
On another occasion, he took me and a friend to Drayton Manor theme park. I don’t remember if he came on any of the rides with me, but I remember being in a mine cart ride, rushing past the park, seeing him standing with his girlfriend. Her face was one the said, "If the car came off the tracks right now, I wouldn’t be too upset." Tough crowd.
After that, I didn’t see him much. He dropped off a Christmas present one year, that was late. Typical bloke. And years later, I saw him in a shop. We made small talk, and we exchanged numbers. I admit I was always too afraid to call him. In my head, it would be an inconvenience, and nothing would come of it, so the phone remained undialled. He, too, never called me.
I haven’t seen him since, 12 or 13(ish) years later.
I wonder if he ever thinks about me, remembers he had me. All I know from Mother Edges account is that he got her pregnant, and disappeared off the face of the Earth when it was decided I was to grace you all with my pale skin and monotone voice.
Does he know the jobs I’ve had? Does he know I want to be a comedian? Does he know I got my A-Levels and went to University? Does he care?
I honestly don’t know. And I don’t know that I’ll ever know.
I have a fear that I could end up like him—running away from commitment and abandoning a child. Just moving on from one thing to the next. This caused one or two upsets during particularly drunken episodes at Uni, but for the most part it is on the back of my mind.
What if he’s had other kids and I have relatives? Brothers or Sisters? Has he been keeping tabs on the presents he owes me? Because I really want a PS4, DAD.
What I’m scared of the most, whether rational or not, is that the next and last time I see him would be at his funeral. If he remembers to invite me that is. I imagine standing there, around the family and friends he had, to agitated stares wondering why a man that looks like the deceased is standing about in black, like a darkly comedic service to help loved ones grieve. Would I get anything more than a handshake in the will, if I’m even in it?
Then again, it’s hard to mourn something you never had.
If we ever met again, I’d like to talk to him, if he had the time. I’m not angry at him for leaving. I’d like to know why, so that I had an answer at least. Get to know him. I don’t know that we could ever build a Father-Son relationship, that boats sailed a bit on that one, I think.
Like I said, hard to be too upset by something you never had or knew you needed till years later. I always had my family. A small family, who often bickers, but there was always love at the core, through it all. I wouldn’t be anything without their support and tolerance of my idiocy, even if I never give them half the credit they deserve.
In short, cherish the ones you have close. And don’t trust ginger men. We have no souls and will drain you of your life.
That’s a strong, Christian message to end on, right?