Let me preface the rest of this by saying that I’m not making excuses for my behavior or his, but I do want to paint a picture of this time in my life in order to provide a better context for this tale. That being said, I went through a period of a few years where I didn’t talk to my father. It started either in late 1996 or early 1997 (the most I can narrow it down is that school year, my last before high school), and if I recall correctly (which I’m probably not), lasted until after I had completed high school (my junior year).
That would put our reconnection somewhere around the year 2000 at the earliest, more likely in the 2001-2003 range.
The year leading up to…the incident…was not exactly the highlight of my life. In the summer of 1996, my parents divorced and my maternal grandmother died. I went into the eighth grade with drastic changes at home, and losing a person who meant more to me than words can ever properly convey. Needless to say, I was not what one could consider “well.” Looking back, though I thought I was doing fine at the time, I can see now that I was not handling events with any semblance of grace. I was unreasonably difficult to my mother (for which I carry a deep regret), reactionary to my father (for various reasons), and I didn’t care about school in the slightest.
It’s this last bit that sparked…the incident (oooh, dramatic!).
My father was a teacher at the magnet school I was attending (he still is). He pulled me out of my advanced algebra course and into his classroom during one of his planning periods in response to a notice he had received from one of my teachers (I forget which). Our conversation became heated, and I said and did some things that I am not proud of. However, both of us being of stubborn stock, neither of us would apologize for our behavior, and thus began years of silence between us.
When we finally reconnected, I discovered that he had remarried during our silence. His high-school sweetheart, Pam, was the lucky lady, and a mother of three; I had two step-sisters and a step-brother! I had met her and the youngest of her children sometime after my parents’ divorce, and had interacted with them on occasion (mostly while playing Hearts with my father’s duplex neighbor), but I never met (or I don’t remember meeting) the others.
Did I mention that by the time my father and I had reconnected, he was no longer married to Pam? That’s right, folks; for a year or two, unbeknownst to me, this only child had three step-siblings.
Crazy world, huh?