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"I met my father for the first time when I was twenty-four years old."

When meeting a parent for the first time, it’s hard to know how to feel or what to think.

I met my father for the first time when I was twenty-four years old. He was wearing a light blue flannelette collared shirt, oil stains were on the ends of the sleeves and it was obviously a fashionable number in the early 90’s. Even so I could tell he had selected his best. This best was then tucked into some brown cargo pants and pulled up to a sensible height. His long mattered hair had been combed back nicely, his shoes were missing, his teeth slightly yellowed from what can be assumed to be cigarette from the smell in the air and his skin was sun kissed from hours of laborious work outdoors.

Man in blue shirt
“I could tell he had selected his best.” Image via iStock.

As I nervously stepped out of the car I busied myself with something imaginary on the floor whilst my Aunt and Uncle performed the general greetings. They then turned around with beaming smiles waiting for my similar enthusiasm. Begrudgingly I slapped a ‘Colgate worthy’ smile across my face. As if greeting an old mate from down at the pub that he hadn’t seen in a few months, my dad embraced me, ‘G’day Mate, great to see you.’

Turns out he wasn’t Brad Pitt as I had hoped. No extraordinary fortune was awaiting me. No luxurious mansion. Instead, it was a dwelling close to being a boat shed with a tin roof, mattered furniture and eighties carpeting. However, none of this mattered to me. I was ready to forgive and forget. With some persuasive words I was ready to go running into those arms screaming ‘Daddy’ as quickly as I can. Unfortunately, those words never arrived.

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“Turns out he wasn’t Brad Pitt as I had hoped.” Image via Getty.

We exchanged pleasantries for a while. The usual questions such as, ‘Where did you go to school’ and ‘What sports did you do,’ were rapidly being fired off in a hope of dispelling the awkwardness surrounding the situation. It wasn’t long before he introduced his son to me. He was a boy called ‘Jack’ and was only six years old. He had shaggy blonde hair and tanned skin, adorable. Adorable, that is, until my father proceeded to explain to me, in an attempt to impress me, how much of a great father he is to young Jack. How much fun they have together and how hard it is for him being a single parent. I couldn’t believe the insensitivity of it all. How dare he say these things to me when I spent so many nights crying myself to sleep wondering where he possibly could be? However, I smiled and ahh’ed and oo’ed as any respectable person should do.

Jessica’s meeting with her father didn’t turn out as well as when Annie and Hallie conspired to switch places in The Parent Trap. Post continues below. 

Video via The Parent Trap

My Uncle stood up proudly and nodded to my Aunt, ‘ We should let them have their chance to catch up.’ While he smiled and winked at me. My Aunt looked at me while my eyes bulged from their sockets trying to say,’ Pleeeease don’t leave me.’ She hesitated and my Uncle insisted again feeling confident the day was a hit. After they left I plucked the courage to ask him, ‘what happened between you and my Mum all those years ago?’

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Having spent the better part of my life hearing horror stories of alcohol and physical abuse, I knew what had happened but to hear him tell it and apologise for his past, as it was just that – in the past and people change, would change the world for me. He looked at me and scoffed. ‘I caught your Mother kissing another man so I kicked her out.’

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‘Right,’ I said.

I could sit and listen to a man boasting of how good of a father he is to his abandoned child however to then hear him lie about the only person who stood by me and cared for me was enough. I coldly agreed, feeling nothing inside. Feeling numb inside.

The meeting came to an end. I posed for a ‘happy family’ photo; me, him and Jack – the perfect family. I waved goodbye and walked to the car with my head held high. As we took off in the car my uncle happily called behind him, ‘ So how do you think it went?’ No longer able to hold my rage and pain inside any longer I burst into tears. They patted my legs, comforting from the front seat.

My father was in the rear vision mirror, to stay that way forever.

Jessica is currently a travel extraordinaire exploring Europe and Asia living the beach lifestyle one novelty coconut cocktail at a time. Jessica loves reading, large bottles of red wine and has terrible resting face which makes it difficult to make new friends. You can find her on Instagram here.

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