I believe him. Despite everything, I believe my father. I believe everything he says about what he experienced while he was missing from my life, while I was growing up, without a father, with a mother who held out hope, with a brother who grew more and more cynical, and a world that was actually pretty indifferent to the whole thing.
I guess that's what's been most difficult for me, figuring that out. To me, he's everything. I don't want to suggest my mother means nothing, or that I don't appreciate everything she's done for me, but, and maybe it's because I never knew him, my father somehow means so much more. The more I've gotten to know him, the more I believe him. Again, maybe it's just because I want to, but I can't help it. As far as I'm concerned, it takes a lot of guts to do what he did, and I'm not talking about becoming a hero on some other planet, but in how he came back, knowing no one would believe him, believe in him, or think he's much of a hero.
I don't know. My mother talked about him all the time. Sometimes she was sad. I mean, really said. She felt abandoned. She says she never stopped believing in him, but she really did. The man who came back wasn't the man she had married, and they've never figured out their relationship since then. They're not even married anymore. He's never lived with us. And so all of that has made it that much harder for me to get to know him, to try and figure out for myself who he is.
But I've been trying. I figure I owe him that much. Here I've been, all my life, waiting, just like the rest of the family, steadily absorbing what everyone else has said about him, including Uncle Miller, who I think likes my mother but would never admit it, and I think that colors what he thinks, but whenever I try to talk to him about it, he just laughs it off. It makes me feel about two years old, but I'm not. I'm not a kid anymore. I don't talk about what I think because I'm pretty sure no one will take me seriously, but I'll never stop believing. I love him. I love my father. I love him for the man I've gotten to know, and for everything he's never told me, but I can sort of figure out from what he has. I can't help it.
Does any of that make sense to you, or am I just coming off as naïve, dumb and young an' gullible as they come? I hope not. Maybe I haven't explained it well enough. Well.
"But this is not the story," says Kindly.