What About The Girl?
My family is fucked. When my kids were little, my father didn’t know their names. I didn’t hold it against him. Their father is Middle Eastern and their names were hard to pronounce, plus I was living more than 2000 km away, so it’s not like he got to see them every day. “The little fella” and “the girl” were how he referred to my children. I’ve got three kids, two boys and a girl, so trying to figure out which little fella he meant, was complicated.
I am the youngest of five and yes, I took the road less travelled in my early 20’s. I don’t tell anyone this very often, but I lived as a devout Muslim for 12 years (between 1985-1997), thereby alienating myself to a degree from my family. I say to a degree, because I know that even if I hadn’t changed my religion, odds are most of my siblings wouldn’t have made any effort to include me in their lives or get to know me in any way. There are a lot of complicated reasons for that, that I can’t be bothered getting into right now. It’s all ancient history, anyway.
I left the practice of Islam and the kids’ father (a story unto itself) in 1997 and struck out on my own with three small children. In Canada, a child can legally change their name without parental consent at the age of 16, so each of my kids applied for legal name changes on their 16th birthday. They picked French names from my family, so you’d think my siblings would at least remember those names. My father died 18 years ago, so I’m not sure he’d know their names if he were still alive. I’m not sure he knew their Canadian names before he died. I have a feeling that he probably didn’t know which kid was which. My mother knows their names, thankfully.
I got a call from one of my brothers today. He asked me, “What about the girl?”
I had no idea what he was talking about. “What girl?”
“Oh, Celeste?” I asked incredulously.
“She’s doing really well. She lives in Turks and Caicos.” I went on to explain what she’s doing there. ‘The girl’ is 25 years old now and she is my youngest child.
I wouldn’t be surprised if my other siblings don’t know my kids’ names, either. Jesus Christ, but my family is fucked.
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