“Left to themselves, people remake their origin stories every few generations to suit present circumstances.”
― Jo Walton, What Makes This Book So Great
“Our dad is dead”, that is what the email said. It came from the brother she had never met. You, the man to whom she owed her mere existence no longer existed. The man who went away and never came back! Just like that, you were gone! But this time for good. So, now what? They say you become an orphan when you lose a parent. Did that apply to her? She had been an orphan her whole life, borrowing other people’s dads on her way to adulthood.
Was she supposed to cry? She did cry, just a little, not for him, but for herself. She had to let go of all the dads she had envisioned growing up. Did he know that he once was a “prison guard” for the tough kids who tried to bully her. Then he became an airplane pilot, so that he could take her to all these places she had been reading about in books.
Eventually, she got to know what kind of man he was. She got to see his picture, and the pictures of his daughters, and in their eyes, she saw herself. And it felt great! Somewhere, in another part of the world, lived a man who gave her her features! And as if that wasn’t enough, he gave her siblings to share those traits with. Lots of siblings, more than she could have ever imagined. And she couldn’t help but laugh, she laughed as much as she cried. Him being gone not only gave her a sense of belonging, but it also brought some relief: she finally knew where she came from, and so will her children.