This I Believe

Breton - Irmo, South Carolina
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: addiction

Don’t be Afraid, Cause I Won’t Keep Track

I believe people are generally good; all we need is half a chance from someone to prove it.

My father, the epitome of the previous sentence. He may as well not exist for all I (or anyone else in the family) sees of him. In jail more than he’s out, and for the same things: drugs and/or alcohol, and whatever else he may be into at the time. A man who was a part of my life for maybe 2 years, not even really that long, truth be told. For almost thirteen years, neither I nor the rest of my immediate family had contact with him or his family in any way shape or form. The one day, after I came home from school, my mom, who was on the phone and sitting on the kitchen counter said “Bret, we found Charlie.” Charlie’s my father, you see. Ready for just about anything, and hearing the tone of her voice I sort of looked at the silver-wear drawer that was under her feet and almost timidly asked “Is he dead?” She laughed and told me no, he’s not dead. He just happened to be dating the sister of my Sunday school teacher, at the time. I think I may have been in the 8th grade because I remember being excited about going into master-class orchestra at the high school. She said, if I so wanted, that she could tell my grandma to tell whoever she had found out from to tell him to come to church next Sunday, and we could meet for the first time in almost 13 years. Having never really met him, I had no problem promptly replying that I would love for him to come so I could meet him. For the next few days, I was so anxious I could hardly contain myself. I just sort of bounced around excitedly until Sunday morning, when I went about my normal Sunday routine, and eventually made it to time to walk out to the sanctuary (I was a soprano in the church choir at the time, so I could see everyone from where I sat) and as we all filed in, my eyes scanned the room, and finally rested on a man, sitting in the pew where I would sit when I wasn’t in the choir. He was thin, missing a few teeth, relatively well-dressed, and grinning just as far as his mouth would allow for. He was my dad. After church, we really needed no introduction, for we had both realized who each other was, even though neither of us had seen each other since I was two. For about a month we hung out after church every Sunday afternoon, then I became more and more distracted with school work, other family affairs, and other things of the sort. Eventually he stopped coming to church, and then we lost all contact again.

Now (as I hear) he is back on drugs, or alcohol, or some combination of the two. He’s no longer with my former Sunday school teacher’s sister, and none of us are really sure where he is again. Despite all his flaws, however, this man is my father. He loves me, and he doesn’t forget that he does. I love him, and no matter what happens, I’ll always be willing to give him a second or third or fiftieth chance, because I know that deep down inside him, just like in the rest of us, there is something that wants us to be good. And we can be, we just need the chance.