Now I can’t get rid of him

Author: David Ferko, Usti nad Labem
Location: Stories Exchange Project Workshop #4
EastWest Institute
I never used to get along with my father. We had conflicts over money, and we were always getting into arguments.
But when this project started I went to my father and asked him if he could tell me a story.
He said to me, "You stupid idiot, I’m not going to tell you a story.”
So I said, “OK, well you’re not going to tell me a story,” and I left.
But when he learned that I was talking to people in the community and asking for stories, all of a sudden he came to me. He brought me a TV set, and came into my house, made himself a cup of coffee and asked me whether I had enough stories already. He said he could tell me a story. I said, “You’ll just make something up” — but I let him talk anyway.
At first he was kind of making fun of it, but then he became very serious and began to tell me this story about adoption, the one that I eventually wrote. It happened when he was a little boy, when he was living in Slovakia with his family. His father didn’t care much about him, but his mother loved him a lot and they lived in a really shabby house with a roof that leaked. It was terrible.
As he was telling me this story he began to cry all of sudden. This was the first time I ever saw my father cry.
I was so astonished I couldn’t say anything, I just let him cry.
Then he asked me for a cigarette, and I gave him one.
And ever since then – this happened about a month ago – I can’t get rid of him. He comes every day to ask if I need anything, and I tell him, “No I don’t need anything.” But one time I did need a carpet to be brought in, so he brought it. And then he came back and I wanted to pay him a little money for the gas, and he wouldn’t take any money. He said ,”It’s OK, it’s OK.” So I asked him, “What’s happened to you? Why have you changed? Did you get hit by a brick or something?”
I’m really surprised because his entire life he didn’t seem to care much about me. He did provide for me, but he never talked to me. He never tried to help me with my problems, and I was never very confidential with him. When he asked me about my grades, I told him and he slapped me across the face for getting bad grades and left.
But all of sudden he has a different feeling for me. The feeling he should have shown me when I was little he’s showing me now.

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