My Father's Daughter: Excerpt
My Official Debut as Dad's Daughter
I can count the visits that I made to my father's house over the years on both hands and still have fingers left. I will not attempt to describe all the visits in detail. However, suffice it to say that each visit was eventful in its own way as both my father and I, without ever mentioning it, tried to come to terms with exactly how we fit into each other's lives. I think we both hoped for and wanted a good relationship. The first visit after my father came out of hiding was particularly significant in that more of his immediate family learned who I really was and began to acknowledge me.
I was scheduled to attend an educational conference in North Carolina which included a stop in Fayetteville. The conference was cancelled, but I flew to Fayetteville anyway. Originally, I was going to bring my baby with me, but changed my mind at the last minute because of inclement weather. My father was expecting me and met me at the airport. He was driving a white Mercedes-Benz with his name engraved on the dashboard in metallic letters. I studied his facial profile as he was driving and was struck by how much it resembled mine. We had the same profile.
When we got to the house, my stepmother had already prepared dinner. My great-grandmother, who had never met me, was there too. As we were all sitting at the table eating, looking at my father, she asked, "Who's the oldest, Linda or Adrienne?"
My stepmother attempted to say something when my great-grandmother cut her off abruptly.
"I'm talking to William."
He said, "Linda is the oldest."
"Where's her mother?"
I don't remember what my father's answer was, but we finished the meal in relative silence. I could sense the tension at the table which made me a little uncomfortable. It was almost like a "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" moment for everybody except my father, probably, because he did not seem to let anything faze him.