All I have are his name on my birth certificate and two fuzzy pictures from 1971.
I keep those photos in my copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. I have for years. There’s no significant reason for keeping them in that book. It was probably the thickest book within arm’s reach when I decided to put the pictures in a book to prevent them from curling up.
Because I’ve been listening to D.T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, ol’ DFW and Infinite Jest have been top of mind. And then Anonymous decided to take down Go Daddy and in the process half of the Internet. So there I was with three minutes of free time and the random urge to see if my biological father had a Facebook page.
He doesn’t. What he does have is an obituary. He died in 2010, survived by a wife and two beloved cats. There was no mention of children. Just the cats.
So now I’m left in the weird position of mourning a man I’ve never met before. A man who is responsible for my very existence and not much else. I’m also mourning the fact that I’ll never get to meet him and see what that was about. I feel a little like I squandered my opportunity, one I was never entirely sure I wanted to take advantage of.
I didn’t seek him out for a thousand different reasons. I could never really define what I wanted out of meeting him and I could never quite imagine how I would handle it if he denied me. My daddy issues are legion and the thought of adding to them did not appeal to me. Plus, the people I know who were adopted as kids had really bad experiences with meeting biological parents. All of them. Granted it’s only three or four people, but still. . . it was enough to let my fear keep me from seeking him out.
And now I can’t and that makes me sad. The whole fucking thing makes me sad and a little angry, but mostly really weird. I kind of wish I hadn’t ever typed his name into Google this afternoon. Ignorance really is bliss, darling ones.