I do not have many memories of my father except for the ones when he came to pick me up from school. But I never liked it; the reason being so shallow I pity my 10 year self. My father was 17 years older to my mother and therefore being the last kid, the age difference between me and my father was unusual, an unbelievable 47 years. So when he came to my school, my friends would laugh at me, murmuring insults and taunting me about not missing my grandfather as I can see him in my father. Now when I think of it I have so many comebacks and an intense burning desire to protect my dad from their unwarranted verbal hurls; but it is too late now.
Similar incidents kept happening all my school life and therefore I never really shared a cordial relationship with my father. I always searched for excuses to avoid his company in public. And in a way God granted me my wish in the most heart wrenching manner. After two consecutive heart attacks, my father got bed ridden and with time started to show signs of dementia. My mother was devastated and so were my two brothers but the devil inside me heaved a sigh of relief. I cannot fathom to this day how I could have been so evil.
With time, his health started deteriorating more and once again the demonic voices in my head started making me hate him as my mother and I had to look after him day and night and I started insulting him when mother was not around, telling him such life is no better than death and that he is just making the family miserable. He kept listening and smiling with great patience which annoyed me all the more.
But then one day mother and I had just been to the market for an hour and on returning we found father was nowhere to be seen. We asked our neighbors, searched the locality, informed everyone we knew to start looking out for him on the roads and at public places. But there was no trace of him; he had just vanished in thin air.
It was now that I revisited my entire life till then; got each and every memory correct; the times when he took me out for short walks, he threw me into the air just to catch me in time and see me giggle, days when he sat awake besides me when I fell sick, the one time he yelled at mother for hitting me. Soon I could see the lines on his face turn darker when he felt betrayed and hurt from my behavior, when he smiled yet his eyes cried when I insulted him and the last time I saw him before leaving the house; his heavenly face shining with a new glow, peace resting on his smile as he big goodbye to me and mother.
I was broken at that moment, realizing what a pathetic and lowly creature I had been. I wanted to see him again, apologize, become the perfect daughter. I was sure we would find him in good health. We filed a police complaint the next day and there was an entire search party called out for him. But he was gone. We never found even an inch of his hair. My apology never reached him. His disappearance had been a tight slap by Karma to me which as mysterious as it was, I knew, would affect me for life.
And I was not wrong. It’s been 15 years since the incident and not a day goes without regret. I keep imagining making peace with him, saying sorry and beginning a new relationship. All the unspoken words, feelings and regrets will stay like that forever. And I would die feeling incomplete one day. Maybe in paradise we would meet again.