I should stop comparing them, but I do more and more. My two fathers. The one who fathered me, with my mother. And the other, the one who ‘raised’ me, if that’s the right word. Guided.
I never knew that much of Mr. Vanek’s story until now. But I knew it. I knew he had come from far away, and I had an idea that he had lived through things. I didn’t know what. Just the sound of the names of places I heard over the years — Prague, which he sometimes called Praha, and Odessa and Sebastopol, and places you couldn’t pronounce. I wondered what it would be like. I knew, because he was different from everyone else. He thought things were funny when other people didn’t. “Oh, I just opened your transmission and the gears fell out in pieces and they don’t make this transmission anymore.” Owner would get a little agitated, if you know what I mean. He’d laugh. “Oh, we’ll figure something out.” He was always figuring something out. With a smile.
My Dad already had it all figured out. He wasn’t figuring anything, just given the plan, giving the orders. “Finn, if you do this and this other thing, and then work hard at this, you’ll have a great future.” He never looked like he was having a great future, even though everyone in town respected him so much. He was never satisfied. I got tired of not satisfying him. Maybe Christine felt like she was meeting his standards, I don’t know. I know I never did. I only ever heard that I had done something good when it was far in the past.
So those were my two ‘fathers.’ I wonder what I owe them. To which one do I owe the honor that it talks about in the commandments? From which can I just walk away?
Jackie said I’m too bitter. She said maybe I shouldn’t expect so much from them. How many kids grow up with fathers who really ‘raise’ them? I thought Laura’s father did. But maybe Jackie is right.