How It All Began   7 comments

When I was seven years old, my father lived with his girlfriend and her two children.  She had a daughter and a son, 5 years and one year older than me, respectively.  They lived together for a little over four years and even though his relationship with the three of them caused me a lot of emotional turmoil, that time of having siblings (even under those circumstances) was probably the closest to a typical, healthy childhood I had had before or after.

Not too long after moving in with them, I started spending every weekend at their house.  My dad would pick me up either after CCD classes on Friday night or sometime early on Saturday and then bring me back after dinner time on Sunday.  My dad’s girlfriend was really strict with her kids and I wound up spending the first part of my Saturday helping them clean the house I didn’t help them dirty and then on Sunday mornings we would all go to church together and get home just in time for the kids to be picked up by their very fun dad.

Every weekend he had something fun planned for them while I had to stay behind in a house I didn’t feel at home in.  My dad’s girlfriend would go shopping or out to a bar with her friends while my dad had to read every page of 3 local Sunday Newspapers and, if in season, watch anything and everything NFL.  I wasn’t allowed to bother him because that was his day off to enjoy himself.  It seemed like I was really the only person who didn’t get to have a weekend.

Since I had no friends in the neighborhood and hardly any of my personal belongings with me, I would use my imagination a lot.  My dad’s socket wrench was a gun, his rowing machine my pirate ship, my step-sister’s bedroom was my jail cell.  I used to take paper and draw schools, towns, jails, amusement parks, anything to make the time pass.

My father never seemed to realize how lonely I was.  It was strange because whenever anyone else mistreated me, he saw it in blaring, flashing, neon colors.  But it never registered how cruel it was to make me wait for hours just to speak with him.  Don’t get me wrong, he was like a big kid sometimes and we would laugh and have a great time.  But it always had to be when he was ready for it, when he wanted to do it.  I would sit still and quietly, watching his war movies and documentaries.  I didn’t care if I even understood what they were talking about.  I just wanted to be near him.  So I never spoke up, I was always so helpful and unassuming.  I made myself a ghost because I could tell he wasn’t afraid of them, but being around a kid made him feel so bothered.

My dad loved books.  He read all of the time, so I read too because I wanted to be just like him.  Not because he was my hero, which he was, but because I wanted to find as many ways as possible to bond with him.  I was as observant as I could be, trying to find as many connections for him to stumble upon so that he wouldn’t find me a nuisances.

Around the time my dad first moved in with his girlfriend, my grandmother showed me some of my dad’s pictures from Viet Nam.  He was thin and tanned and looking so tough, I was so proud of him.  And then she took out a notebook and let me read his poetry.  She told me he always had a thing for writing and that he had even wanted to go to school for journalism before he gave up on college.

Most of his poems were about mythological subjects or love poems.  My dad was quite the romantic and he enjoyed wooing the ladies.  I read what he wrote and something about his words tugged me in a new direction.  To this day, I can’t really explain it, but I knew that I was going to try my hand at it.

So it was at seven years old, while at my dad’s house for the weekend his girlfriend’s two kids and I somehow devised a poetry contest to be judged by our parents.  I still remember the paper and what it looked like.  It was a legal pad and the poem was titled Love Is.  Along the side of the poem I drew vines flowing up the page and under the title.  My dad read the poem and nearly stumbled.  He gave it to his girlfriend, who was no fan of mine and even she had to admit she was impressed.

It was the first poem I had ever written and it was a success.  And from that day forward, I was a writer.   But more importantly, I was my daddy’s little girl.

My father went on to become my biggest fan and my dearest friend.  He actually stopped being like a father, we were ruthlessly honest with one another about sex, drugs, family drama, life.  By the time I was 19 we were doing large amount of cocaine together and sharing stories about sexual exploits that no daughter should ever exchange with her dad.  But I just longed for acceptance, I wanted to be important and not just the burden he would drop off at his mother’s house so he could live his life.

I wish I could say I regret having the relationship with him that I did, but the truth is that without the sex and drugs we wouldn’t have bonded at all and I don’t know if I could’ve lived with that much longer.

My father passed away on August 17, 2004, with his hand in mine, the two of us alone together as it always seemed to have been throughout my adult life.  His dying wish was that I have a kid so I could know the joy first hand that I brought into his life, but I told him he’d have to settle for me dedicating a book to him.  He smiled.  I think, deep down, he preferred the idea of the book, but custom dictated he say what he did about kid.  Either way, I know I was his best friend.  And for a man who only wanted to be loved the way I do, who only wanted to be the center of someone’s universe the way I do, I can honestly say I am honored and content to have been that for him.

Quite sincerely,

Jen Czahur

Posted December 17, 2011 by reclaimingtecla

7 responses to “How It All Began

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  1. Merci pour suivre mon blog. Ayez un grand mardi! d–0.o–b CIao!!!

  2. Hello my dear friend. You Are Loved! Thank you so much for your constant support and following All About Lemon and as a token of my gratitude, please accept my gift for you here:
    http://allaboutlemon.com/2012/06/24/more-awards-and-you-are-loved/
    Enjoy it and cheers!
    Dolly xoxo

  3. Hello dear, another VBA awaits you 🙂 Congratulations! I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award, check it out here: http://allaboutlemon.com/2012/02/06/whew-more-versatile-blogger-awards/
    Enjoy and have fun 🙂 You deserved it!

    Dolly

    • Oh, I certainly appreciate it! I’ll have to work on that later today or maybe first thing tomorrow. It’s my birthday so it comes as a special little present between us. Thanks again! 🙂

  4. Glad to be of service!

  5. Perhaps now would be the time to start telling the strory behind yor pen name?

    • Ah, Klextin, thank you for offering up that suggestion. It means a lot when someone asks and I am often confused as to why more people don’t. I will make it the subject of a post ASAP. 🙂

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