When I was born, 23 years ago, my dad’s father passed away. Yes, Francisco, my grandfather whom I never got to know, passed away the very same day I was born. Rumor has it that he forgot to take his pill for the heart and he had some sort of cardiac arrest that, well, he couldn’t overcome.
I’ve never really asked my dad how he felt that day. I’m pretty sure I’ll never ask him that either, what’s the point, right? My mom never knew her father-in-law, so I guess she didn’t feel much either. My dad’s mom passed away when he was 16. She died of cervix cancer, in times when cancer wasn’t even such a familiar disease to the people in Peru. “Now cancer is an every-day thing”, my dad said once.
My dad and I never really talk that much. He hasn’t been able to economically support any academic-related activities in my life, never gave me any monthly allowance -like the rest of my friends back in highschool-, never asked me if I wanted a sweet fifteen party (which of course, I didn’t even want anyway), never asked me if I dated any guys or gave me the “sex talk” that you see parents doing on TV. He has no idea whether or not I’ll finish school this year or the following. Actually, when I didn’t get into university the first time I took the entrance exam, he told to me to try a state-funded university. I hated him that day.
But when I was a kid, he drew (because he used to be an expert at technical drawing) Adam and Eve for me as part of my homework, and taught me that men and women are different just like them. He would pick me up from school every freaking day in his car to make sure I wasn’t going to be smoking pot or engaging into any gang’s fight (yup, that was my highschool).
He would buy a newspaper -sometimes two or three, good and bad- every freaking day and let it laying in our dinner table so everybody would read it. That’s how I learned about “the news”. He gave me his Marxist books from the 70s when I was 15, which opened my mind to a leftist world that I sill admire and criticize so much.
When I was nine, he enrolled in a computer class which he used to take me to. He didn’t learn shit (he can’t even turn on a desktop), but I did, and I’ve developed that knowledge to the point that I actually get paid for it now.
Last Christmas, we all got into an awful fight about something stupid, which was mainly my fault. At the table, when we calmed down, he thanked the Lord for having given him a child like me. Yup, that Lord that he once told me it was a merely human creation to fulfill the eternal void of its existence. Today, while we’re still together, we will celebrate one more of this traditional Father’s Day thing, even though he’s in bed recovering from a surgery.
I guess this is my way of saying that even though he hasn’t and doesn’t give me much, I learned how to take advantage of the little things I did get, which ended up leading me to greater things. That has become my philosophy of life.