I was abandoned.

Abandon, as defined by Dictionary.com, is “to leave completely and finally; forsake utterly; desert.”

My father and I have an altered relationship. We don’t speak daily, or weekly, or even bi-weekly. Months can drift by without hearing each others’ voices or speaking each others’ names. But right around the three month mark, one or the other picks up the phone.

This time it was my turn.

On father’s day, I found the name “Daddy” in my contact list and dialed. I expected my father’s deep and accented voice to answer, but instead I heard a keening tone followed by a robotic operator tell me the number was no longer in service.

Maybe he missed a bill, I thought.

Two days later, the same robotic operator answered.

I piled into the car for a two hour road trip. The house was a different color than I remembered with an unfamiliar car in the driveway. Strangers answered my daddy’s door and told me, “The previous owners are gone.”

Where? I wanted to ask, but knew they wouldn’t have the answer. All I could think was that my daddy slipped away, no phone call or good-bye.

My father may not be much, but he’s mine and he’s gone and it hurts.

When I pass those people on the street begging for spare change or bumming a ride, I wonder if they’re someone’s father, or daughter, or uncle, or cousin, and if that someone wonders where they are, reaching for them like a phantom limb that still itches.

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