BY: JUSEPH ELAS
While some of us suffer from society’s unjust rejections, others from being dumped by their lovers after months of being together, some from a stain in their marriage and while a few from ordinary failures, Kristine Joy Mendaros, or simply Tin, suffers from a lack of concrete fatherly affection.
It’s not a secret to her that the father she grew up with is not her biological father. Mrs. Maria Dolores Juaton, her mother, never kept that from her because she knew that Kristine deserved to know the truth. Kristine would stoically shove the idea away given that, at that time, she’s still young and absolutely unaware of other stuff that would soon bother her. Truth be told, Mr. Maximo Babael, her step father, did all he can do to show her that she’s found a father in him. But Kristine would deadpan and say “no one can compensate all the things that I felt and I’m feeling right now. . .but my real dad.”
Back in the days when she was still in grade school, everything was okay to her; the fact that she knew her biological father left them and her growing up to find her stepfather filling up the shoe. She was even thankful for her stepdad’s presence. However, when she reached high school, she started asking all the possible “what if’s” – what if she was with her biological father? What if they were sharing the same house? What if she’s sharing the same meal her mother prepared before going to school? Questions left hanging in the air, questions left unanswered.
When she was in high school, the world was introduced to an innovative method of communication – Facebook. Moreover, it was that time when she first made contact with her father. She found who she was looking for, of course, and her mother corroborated it. When she first laid her eyes on her father, she joked that she looked a lot like her mother than her father. Full of what could only be hope, Kristine waited for her father’s response. Days turned into weeks and weeks into months but . . . no response. However, much to her surprise, she found out that her father blocked her on Facebook disabling her to communicate with him.
When she reached first year college, she found herself looking at a message sent to her by her father’s sister. “Are you my brother’s daughter from Zamboanga?” The message read. “How are you?” The thread continued. With hope rekindled, she answered back. However, much to her frustration, she got nothing after that. Her mother told her to give it up if that’s how it’s going to be whenever she tries to make contact with them (or vice versa).
“You don’t need him, especially his support. I can support you anyway.” Her mother told her, putting the case to a close. But Kristine is far from over.
Just this summer, she tried and tested the waters for luck. She found out that her father unblocked her on Facebook and she sent another friend request. As of press time, her request is still status pending.
One may see it as a stupid move to chase a ghost from the past, a ghost that holds the key for her to feel complete. But for Kristine, all that she ever wanted is for her father to recognize her as his, to know him a little better and ask her unanswered questions as they continue to gather dusts in the back of her mind.
Kristine admitted that she didn’t feel hurt to the point of suicidal when she was rejected by her father. But she isn’t a hypocrite not to feel the nudge; a pang of pain caused by a brush of a violent cold air on a hot summer’s day. She said that her not feeling hurt at all is tantamount to her being aware of the situation’s nature. Her mother did not tarnish her father’s name despite of what he did.
Taking it to the now, one may ask how she celebrates Fathers’ Day.
“I celebrate it the way it should be.” She answered rather enthusiastically. She said she greets her stepfather and uncles but it does not satisfy her. There’s still that little lump that would always make her want to greet her biological father, too.
Asked if what’s her message for her father, she said, “I just wanna tell him that even though he’s not with us, I still thank him for being my father after all. I don’t have sentiments or anger, but I hope he’ll also do his part and look after me. And hope someday, when I marry the man I love, he would be there.”