My mother told me, ‘Val has something to say to you.’ I was crying as I sat on the stairway. And he realized I was pregnant right immediately. He didn’t scream. He remained silent. He had only recently begun pacing. But I knew what dad was thinking: I was eighteen, his only kid, and he feared having a child would wreck my life.
When he eventually stopped pacing, he told me that I could either have an abortion or leave the house. I knew I’d be on my own from then on. I began saving money from each payday for clothing and supplies. But I had no notion what I would do when the baby arrived. My father was not conversing with me. There was no direct eye contact. There is nothing. He’d never been particularly excellent at expressing himself.
When he was a baby, his mother died.He’d had a difficult existence. From the outside, he appeared unconcerned, but my mother informed me that he cried himself to sleep every night. He started to soften after a few weeks. He insisted on seeing the sonogram. It wasn’t quite a celebration, but he did ask to see it. Dad spent the day before my C-section drinking alone, which he rarely did. By the time I left for the hospital, he was rather inebriated.
He remained silent. My mother simply shook her head at him. But I was in the hospital for five days after my son was born, and my father came to see me every day. He promised to bring us food. He’d hold my son for hours on end. When I returned home, a note was waiting for me on my bed.I’ve only ever read it twice. Because it causes me to cry excessively. He did, however, apologize for his actions. And he assured us that everything would be alright.
My son is now eight years old. And on Father’s Day at school, he sends home artwork for Papa. They are inextricably linked. They’re always up to something. My son is constantly hugging and kissing him and saying, ‘I love you.’ And Papa responds. that’s the only time he says that in front of anyone. He has no choice with my son.
Papa isn’t the type to show affection. However, it is in my son’s nature. He expresses himself so openly and naturally. He will give love for no cause, and his Papa will have no choice but to receive it.This story was originally published on the Humans of New York Facebook page and is reprinted here with permission. HONY began in 2010 as a photography project.
Along the way, the writer/photographer began to interview subjects as well as picture them. He also inserts remarks and short stories from their life beside their photos. Buy Brandon Stanton’s book HUMANS for more incredible stories and photos.