En Route to Hope’s Peak

by Viktor Tejada

        I’ve always yearned for one; the love it can offer, the support it can bring, and the mere fact that almost everyone has one. I, however, have also seen people without one, and they turned out fine. Just like the ones without, I would like to think I’m doing fine as well. However, there are some days when you can’t shake the feeling of wishing you had one. There are days when you can’t help but think how different your life would have been had it been around. There are days when you can’t help but be envious of everyone else having the time of their lives with them. There are just some days when all I ever wanted was a father.

        To be honest, I really do have a father. He just was not present enough for me to consider him one. I know it sounds harsh, but that is just how I looked at things before. I also knew that there were other ways to approach such an ordeal, but the route I took as a child was the path of apathy and ignorance, where my mantra was “He’s not around, big deal.” Having a child think the same way I did is undoubtedly dangerous, and I knew that growing up. At such a young age did I realize firsthand that living numb, despite its comfortability, will lead you nowhere near success. Consequently, in order to add some color to my life, I found myself engrossed in all kinds of literature.

        I say this every time and I would be proud to say it again, literature is my father. Thanks to my mother and sister, my life became more colorful and hopeful than it was and should be. I got handed book after book and again, with me being so excited each time, flipping through pages exhilaratingly, as absurd or obscure each book may be. Now, I’m pretty sure you’re wondering how exactly did literature become my father. Did my mom marry a book? Do I have some weird disease wherein I would call inanimate objects my father? No and no. I called literature my father because it taught me things that I believe a father should teach their child and then some. In every chapter of a book, verse of a poem, or panel of a comic book, I learned something new that my father never taught me. It was characters like Spider-Man, as well as his uncle, Benjamin Parker that taught me about having responsibility for our actions. It was in Haruki Murakami’s books that taught me that some things are not always what they seem and that suffering is optional. It was in various scripts and short stories of Woody Allen that taught me that it is fine to be neurotic every once in a while, as long as you get yourself together and resolve things with a smile. It was in literature that I found myself and resilience, a characteristic I never once imagined that I would possess.

        Yes, my father was never around, and my hopes of him instilling all these lessons and values himself might as well cease to exist, but that is not a bad thing. My resentment towards him slowly turned into gratitude when I realized that without him, I would not have fallen in love with literature in the first place. Thanks to my father, literature, and the rest of my family, the amalgamation of laughter, tears, despair, frustration, and hope, in words and in person, has taught me to fill the void of longing I once had with something that would bring about hope to people – a kind of hope that would make a nine-year-old say, “He’s not around, big deal.” not with apathy or ignorance, but with strength and wisdom.