Found, Again

We’re sitting in the living room, in the middle of a conversation when a familiar melody starts to play, to the point where we can’t even hear one other. The source, much like the caller are easily identifiable. All three of us jump instantly to grab my mother’s phone, to answer the incoming call.

My mother beats us to it and starts talking at the very instance the connection is established. They talk for a while, about usual day to day things, the usual concerns, they laugh at they joke as they have been doing for the past 25 years. I’m lying on the couch, phone in hand, probably browsing Buzzfeed and overhearing what they have to say. And feeling like my family is complete, for about five minutes.

She has to end the conversation because some housework is left, so she yells out, “anyone want to talk?”

And I jump up from the couch and reach out for the phone. I need to talk to him.

Well, I don’t need to. There’s nothing urgent. Just to hear the sound of his voice and make sure he is okay. I know things have not been at their best at his job, I know he has been feeling down because of his limited vacation days, because he’s gotten too tired of being away.

And I know, from my side, I have not been the best daughter.

When the phone rings everyday and my mother asks who wants to talk, I have a full list of reasons why not: I’m going to the gym, Ahmad’s coming over, We’re going out, I’m sleepy, I’m tired.

And my personal favorite: I have nothing to say.

How can someone have nothing to say to their own father? How could I come up with such a lame excuse to avoid five minutes of conversation?

In my head, I tried to justify. I have nothing positive to say. Because what I really wanted to say to him is Baba, I’m frustrated when I should be happy. But I hold it back, because my wedding planning concerns, my inability to find a wedding dress, my undecisiveness about the venue, my issues about the guest list are all nothing compared to what he is going through. I say to myself, if he were here, it would be so much easier to talk.

Because he’s not here, our talking time has gone down from once a day to maybe once every two weeks. He is no longer the first person I turn to because of the natural progression of life, because I’m with someone who takes up my time without me noticing it, because of a job that sometimes drains me of my positive outlook.

But that particular day, I do have something to say. And I will say it.

I hold the phone and adjust my seating so he doesn’t see how tired I look. I can tell his face has lit up, I can hear it in the way he calls me by one of my many nicknames. We chat for a while, about pointless random things: work, making fun of my mother and sister, what movie we last saw, before I take a deep breath and say:

Baba, I’m frustrated. I’m overwhelmed by this whole wedding thing and I’m scared of what’s yet to come. We’re doing so much for the house but it’s nowhere near done. And I don’t know if I ever feel like I will be ready.

And on the other end of the line, there he is, looking at my video feed, with a look of parental wisdom and guidance, the one that he always has on for these heart-to-heart moments. I have found him- even though his laughter is not echoing and his perfume scent is not lingering in the air

He pauses for a moment then replies, “I believe in you.”

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. HumaAq says:

    Omg! Best piece I have read..! Having parents at a distance is so hard sometimes. Very lovely father daughter bonding!

  2. Enjoyed reading this, lovely. Long distance relationships bring many challenges. My husband works away and my children are quite young so I worry about how this will impact on their relationship.

    1. TK says:

      I can’t say it won’t because it definitely will impact your kids. However, I do owe the great relationship I have with my dad to my mom, who always made sure we talked to him and never let him feel like he was too far away. At some point, she didn’t need to even remind us, it became a part of who we were. I am amazed by how strong they are when all they spend is 2-3 months a year together. Good luck!

      1. Thank you and thank you for sharing your story.
        I always encourage mine to speak to their Dad as well, although never force them if they really don’t want to. It’s just nice to know that there is a chance they will still have a strong, positive relationship with him. You never can predict these things though.

  3. This is a great piece with a lot of honesty in it! And, it seems that although far away he sensed your frustration, and he knew exactly what to say to give you confidence, and to let you know that all new brides go through this.
    Well done!

  4. Nice! As a “daddy’s girl” even at my age, I want to encourage you to stay close to your father.

  5. ninakimani11 says:

    Well Writen, Enjoyed it although made me miss my Dad. I know the feeling of being away from your loved one’s, it’s not easy at all.

  6. inidna says:

    Wonderful! In the beginning I wasn’t sure what you were getting at with the element of being ‘found’ but by the end that became very apparent. This is a touching piece and I really enjoyed reading it! Having a parent living far away is always difficult, I know because I went through that for 7 years, but nothing feels better than those moments when you find that connection again despite the distance. Great job 🙂

  7. artman413 says:

    Wow…that was an amazing piece.

    The anticipation that starts at the first ring, building to when your mother asks who wants to talk…I was hooked!

    I’m also much too familiar with that feeling when you realize you have nothing to say to someone you love, because the only thing you could say is a series of complaints.

    And that last line? Honestly, it gave me goosebumps. Just perfect.

    1. TK says:

      Thank you so very much! I remembered your comments on the first part of the post and wrote from there. I didn’t think much of what I was saying so the fact that I was able to create such a build up and end it with such a powerful line really makes me grow confident in my writing abilities. Thank you so very much for reading and commenting

      1. artman413 says:

        And thank you for providing such wonderful work to read!

        1. TK says:

          My pleasure! Knowing people are reading is what’s truly getting me going 🙂

  8. A.B Mood says:

    :’) “I believe in you” :’)
    These are the words every child longs to hear from their parents and I’m glad I’ve heard these for myself as well. You really got my waterworks going with this one :’) I’m actually sniffling tears right now.. Your Baba surely is very proud of the woman you’ve grown up to be! He’ll always be there for you ❤ May God give you and your whole family a long, happy and healthy life!

    1. TK says:

      Thank you AB! God bless you, your family, and all your loved ones! And keep you happy,always. Alhamdullilah that my parents and I have such a beautiful relationship and they have always been supportive and loving and truly the people I turn to through everything! ❤

      Sorry for the waterworks! I promise to ship you a box of Kleenex from Beirut to make up for that 😛

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