Let us skip the pleasantries, shall we? Okay, I would ask how you are doing but am pretty sure you are fine. You see, the thing about being on earth (or should I say, this dimension of life) is that you do not get to be fine. Granted, a majority of the dwellers will say they are, but, well, it has become an irksome norm, son. So, if you were here with us in the Mexico-Maize-accursed earth, I would ask. Nonetheless, it is my sincere hope that you will take this letter with the maturity is deserves. Sigh… I know. Yeah I know part of you is now, perhaps, engrossed in the process of enkindling the sharps of the swimming tail. This, as you will discover in the use-deficient education system, is a phenomenon called spermatogenesis. The other half of you could be femininely bouncing within the bounds of the fallopian pipelines. Or maybe you already walk among us. These days, you can never be too sure. Smh. Anyway, young or miniature as you maybe, I am having this conversation with you, son. Do not assume that, in our time, there is a right time to talk about these things. People do not talk about these things. Unless, of course, the judgmental eyes and twitching noses of condemnation are equivalent to productive talk. All am trying to put forward here, son, is that this topic is very explicit and requires parental discretion. Were it meant for someone else’s son or the general population, I would put a grand banner titled:
PARENTAL OR READER DISCRETION ADVISED!
But you see, you are my son. You will be my son. Always my son. And I know that you have the special blood that runs within my veins. No, son, do not get me wrong. We are not in the lineage of akina Albert Einstein. We are not geniuses (I think at this point I should speak for myself). I have nothing much to offer and claim credit for and render me a genius. Just some useless blog and an old pair of shoes, which has been eaten lugubriously by the Nairobi tarmac. But son, unless your mother will come to me with the babe, guess what phrase, triggered by the boiling hormones and a treacherously clinging blastocyst from another man (This happens a lot by the way son), you have my DNA in you. I see a shapeless head like mine, carrying mild and shy eyes, an ugly smile, and a chipped tooth. I see a mind that looks deep into things and comes up with the bigger picture. In you son, I see a guy who has seen and has experienced more than his age can accommodate. A person, who through observation, has lived ahead of his time and back. Son, I believe you can handle this. Partly because, you have no choice and partly because there is no simpler way of putting things to do with the deadbeat dads and runaway fathers.
Uhm,,, well, one of the reasons am talking about this with you is that I do not want you to be confused and clueless like I was. Maybe its observable that I am fumbling in the way I articulate issues here. I think the stains of that unguided mayhem still cling and follow me like a shadow. I was never told these things and the little learning that I have acquired is just that. The little learning. And who better to share with than you, son.
Son, people suffer a lot out here. Society has surreptitiously crafted certain ways in which we should live our lives. Certain models of life. Certain links that people seek to have. Heck no! Let us call it as it is, son-It is people who have initiated these links and clichés and limited lines of thinking. What is society, anyway, if not made up of many persons. So, let us pick a word, son. A phrase perhaps. A meaningless set of words. Men are dogs. The link that is called a relationship, which to a higher level is called marriage, is one such mediocre state of the mind that make people suffer to the death (yes son, to the death). Guys intentionally and inadvertently stab, squeeze, and even abuse life out of each other in the name of relationships. This is the link that brought rise to the term men are dogs. This is how it happened, son;
Someone (most likely a woman) faced some hiccup in their link called relationship and was in the process of crying and hating other human beings (most likely men) and saw two or three or four… or five dogs (son, they can be many sometimes) chasing their female counterpart with their shafts steady and ready for plunging. With a momentary shake of the head, savoring all the philosophical virtuosity they have acquired, she concluded and uttered:
Men are like dogs
Men are dogs.
Granted son, we cannot rule out that the pangs of pain that they were feeling at that juncture were not real. But neither can we conclude that they were right. However, at that point in time, they created a statement that has stuck to the tongue of many an angry woman (let us be fair and say many women who are angry about man-woman relationships). But this is just something that is in people’s minds, you know. No one has ever died from being single or not being in a relationship. Or not getting married. At the end of the day, I feel, son, that there could be higher purposes than being born, growing up in a farm or in the city, getting an education (or not), getting a job, getting a friend, dating, courting, proposing, marrying, giving life to fat kids (or not), feeding them in the evening after work, growing old, and dying. Son, what I have listed here is the chronology that the society has to offer as an ideal way of living one’s life. In no particular order, though. I also have to warn you, son, that this is where it gets controversial and it will be prudent for you to make your own independent choices when it comes to such issues. You will come across proponents of both sides and they will have very strong opinions. Guys from the good book (Bible) point of view will advocate vehemently for marriage but they will not mention to you that there are guys, in their camp, who never subscribed to the institution of marriage. Others will impose their very bad (very bad is relative here, son. Be careful not to compare a bullet wound on the head with a mild migraine) experiences and make you think like them. In fact son, once you join society, you have become part of constant chaos. Thoughts ricocheting in the atmosphere with their embedded opinions influencing, destabilizing, and swaying stand-less imps. And what will always save you is your own intuitive judgment and experience-based decisions. There is not a better feeling than making an autonomous decision (even if you end up being wrong).
Son, I think digressing has become part of my writing of late. I was talking about fake links that have tied guys to the tenterhooks of misery. And these are what come to mind when I meet people, who are quick to investigate my lineage. I have avoided the question every time it is hurled at me. But this is usually tricky, son. You got to have answers to some questions because if you don’t, society will look at you. First, it will look at you as if you were a stranger invading a very perfect world with your imperfections. You will look like a tiny clueless imbecile, who cannot grasp something as simple as the basic relationships you are supposed to have. You see son, it gets tougher when you are a teenager. Because your mind starts to play miniature tricks on you. You begin to feel that you need to match your age with what you know. You begin to ask questions. But that is not the only thing son. Sometimes when you pose questions to yourself, you do not get to answer them fully because, maybe you will cut yourself some slack, son. You will mumble some words like damn, fuck it. Who the hell cares. And you will move on. But you will not get away with it if it (the question) comes from someone else. You will have to come up with an answer, no matter what. Because it will be weird (understatement of the year). Back in high school, we had these things we called funkies. Girls would come to our school and we had to interact, you know. Like,
Naitwa Manoe. Na wewe?
So, tell me about yourself…
It usually went like this son. Except for some extreme moments of fail when you would be told to talk to the hand. But that is not the problem, son. The problem is that society has crafted a way in which you as (the boy) the man, get to say, so, tell me about yourself. And she would respond with the hobbies, favorite subjects, you know (no, you do not). Such like stuff. Apparently she would end up talking about her perfect family, siblings, and what not. And then she would wake you up from your daylight reverie by saying..
And you? and son, this is the moment you would wish you just stuck to breezing (A thing where you sit under the big tree or sleep in the dorm until the funkie is over)
I know you are thinking easy. Just avoid that part and talk about the rest. But son, it will come up someday (if not that very moment) and most importantly, you will not forget that you omitted that part. You will ask yourself why you did that. You will try to justify. But son, you will just go round in cycles until you formulate a perfect, uniform lie. Honestly, I don’t know how I got out of the millions of moments I got this question. who’s your daddy? Where is he? This could mean I have, you know said millions of lies to get out. But son, there are two people I can never lie to. Myself. And you! So, I will tell you the truth. Three truths according to me. First, it is the truth that I am sure of. The second one is the truth that I deduce from the natural laws of life. And the third one, son, is the truth that I get to learn from the people, who are older than I am. The truth that has passed from one generation to another while remaining as intact as ever.
You see, son. My story is unique, in its own rights. And I would like yours to be unique too. I want you to know that you have a chance of living your own life the way you want and forge your future as you move along. To the end. That brings me to my first truth. The real tangible truth. Son, I had a daddy too. Not daddy daddy but daddy, you get? (no you dont). I had a daddy, who I knew wasn’t my…, you get? Yeah he wasn’t my father. And I knew it from the very beginning. The very moment I saw him, I knew it! Of course there was talk among the 17 children (yeah we were 17 under his care) that I was came with. Mostly it came about when discussions on how to subdivide the piece of land emerged. But you see, they weren’t telling me what I didn’t know. I knew it already, son. I think I was a six year old then. But I knew. My step siblings were much older, much much older, son. But I also knew they weren’t my real siblings. You see, son, there is something about knowing.
Some things, once you know them, you can never unknow them. Never, son.
So, I knew. But daddy was an awesome man. In all honesty, I still feel he is a very model man. You know like someone you can emulate some of his traits (some, son. Some!). You see, through the six of the best strokes of the cane, the guy taught us that small boys do not sit around, blow balloons, and kite them about. He made us understand that boys should take sisal, grind the leaves against sharp stones, create strings and weave slings and head to the bushes to hunt rabbits and birds. He taught us that no man should ever wake up after the sun has woken up. You see, son. This is the man who would wake up at wee hours of the morning. When that ka cold is starting to penetrate even the thickest of blankets. He would arrange the four bulls behind the yokes and produce an explosive sound using the sisal-stringed whip. If the explosive sound did not wake you, son, then his singing would. Let me put this into perspective, son, you see the home was big. It housed four wives, each of which had a big house and a large compound. But you see, when daddy sang his song, his voice bellowed to every tiny crevice in every house, Even the rats began to squeal and run around aimlessly. The song wasn’t a nice one, the voice wasn’t sweeter than a frog’s croak. But it was something, son. You see, son, to date, I still remember the sound of the song. I can sing it without knowing the slightest meaning of every syllable (like I do Rhumba music). I can never forget the song, son. It is rare for people to forget the sound of their morning alarm.
Sigh… Anyway, we would wake up real quick. We would run along and take our positions by the sides of the heavily breathing bulls. We would go and plough the soil, chanting slogans to psyche the strong oxen: showing them the way. By sunrise, we would be back to the homestead, huge calabashes of porridge in hand. Gobbling up sorghum-cassava flour porridge. Son, I Kinda fit it in. I kinda got used to the ways of the village. I kinda loved these people. You see, the older brothers sometimes thought I was funny. They used to make me say things in English and they would burst out laughing. Well, I really did not understand the cause of their laughter (truly speaking, son) but it was all for good fun, I thought. We would fight among ourselves and, at such times, the illegitimacy of my existence in that home would come up. And, well! It was just that. Quarrels of ugali-soup filled children with very little to do. And daddy would cane us thoroughly. Equally. Six of the best. For everyone who fought. You see, son, he loved us, as children, equally. He hated us with the same measure. It didn’t matter who gave their first cry in that home or who came with their 9038398288th cry into the home! It didn’t matter, son. We were equal before daddy! Then, I learnt that, it is easy to love children, son. After all, they are so adorable when young.
But this was not the case for the wives. Son, for the purposes of this letter, I will concentrate on what is important. I will not dwell on the love of wives. I will not claim to know how the love between a man and his wife looks like. I don’t know, man. But I know that, if you have more than one woman as a wife, you will love them differently. So, son, I began by saying that I knew. And I couldn’t not know. The other problem about knowing is that you use the knowledge to compare things. Like a control or, you know, scale. So, I observed, daddy used to treat his women differently. For some reason, I thought second wives are usually the noisiest and the most troublesome lot. Our second mother was something else. She would make so much noise in the home. When she was angry, she would wrestle all the wives combined. She had big words! Words that made the ancestors to twitch on their dump graves. The good thing is that the fights between mothers remained just that. Between mothers. But if you were on the wrong side of the second mother, you would definitely know where you belonged. Legend had it that she was possessed by one of the dreaded nyawawa because she refused to pound on the debes as they were passing by (you see, son, she was defiant like that). She was a very good person though. Very kind when in good spirits. But I still feel second wives are trouble. Its like they haven’t accepted the obvious fact that they are second, and they spend their whole lives fighting to be first. But, here too, I could be wrong. You see, daddy used to discipline all the wives. Except…! (please make a guess).
But mother number two got the lion’s share of the beatings. Daddy often said that’s the only way to tame the rogue. But, son, every moment of violence in the home was scary as hell. It left us, young kids scampering for a hiding place beneath the beds. Hell, I even created my hiding place just behind the house! But the first wife was never beaten. When food was brought from the four wives, her bowls were the first to be opened and the contents flung into the belly of daddy. This pissed mother 2. It drover her berserk with anger. But this happened and never changed for a day. Son, when there was trouble in the home (like, you know, all wives ganged up against daddy), he would seek refuge at mummy one’s place. When a big decision had to be made in the home, like selling my mother’s cow, mummy one had the very last say. And I realized one thing, son, love is for two people. And daddy always went where he was loved
They say 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 issavery difficult mothermatics.
Son, our other mothers reclined to the hard backrests of their fates. But your grandma did not. She left! And I left with her. You are my son, so I will not give you the don’t judge statement. I will try to explain. You see, back at the village, it doesn’t matter how your paternal integrity is oriented. It doesn’t matter that everybody knows you are not the son of that place of dwelling. Backstabbing eyes and disgustfully spewed saliva will always follow you when you decide to follow your mother when she decided enough was enough. the man who went with his mother, they would say. I was told I had a place there. That I had my piece of land waiting for me (it was full of very ripe maize by the way). Everybody said I should not leave. But I left, son. I followed the only person I knew loved me. I have never regretted that decision, son. You see, in the same breath that I narrate to you the story of deadbeat dads and runaway fathers, I will advise you, son, to go where you are loved. Always!
I do not dare to contradict myself by saying daddy didn’t love me. On the contrary, it is with this love that he said,
I will not rebuke you, son, I know you are special. I know you know things and I feel like, young as you are, you know what you are doing. You have a very strong mind. Whether you will make it to become a great man, I don’t know. It is up to you. One thing though, always go where you are loved!
Son, this is my first truth
Just recently, I was in a very deep discourse with my old man. My maternal grandpa. Great man that one. No nonsense person. Full of life, even at his very advanced age. He has very limited time for small talk, son. So do I. Our conversation was more of a Q&A session. I ask serious questions and he answers. I ask he answers. So, this was my chance; an opportunity to ask the most important question of my life! Something I have been looking forward to knowing for the longest time.
And I asked.
The response was one of the most intriguing pieces of philosophies I have very heard.
Fools should die, he begins. I recoil and wonder the meaning of his statement. But I soon get his drift, Which just drove towards calling me a fool. Son, you should never be offended when someone calls you a fool. If you know what you are doing, you are not a fool. After all, everyone is entitled to a bag of limitless mistakes, which they can pick and insert, as events, in their uneventful lives. So, unless you are making deadly and fatal mistakes, you need not to worry. You see son, some of us are born like any other animals. Some of us were born on the roadside as the bepunctured ngware bicycle failed on the way to the nearest mission dispensary. Some of us were born in the dump banana leaf walled bathroom that serves the whole locality. Some of us, the first thing we saw as we joined this hopeful world, were the dirty nails of the village midwife.
Some of us; our births were just regular occurrences like going to the river or fetching firewood! So, we just know our place in the society as we grow up, son. But that does not mean we should not fight our ways up, you know. We fight! And we rub shoulders with more entitled lad who’s arrival to this earth marked the zenith of life to their parents and kin. The burden we have is to prove ourselves. That our births, our backgrounds, our misfortunes, do not determine how we see life. or how we live life. So, we make plenty of mistakes, we become fools. For, who is a fool if he is devoid of mistakes? Basically, we are just underdogs struggling to bark among the authentic ones.
But I digress, son. You know when grandpa began talking, I thought he was attacking and branding me a fool who’s demise should come sooner because I asked the wrong question at the very opportunity I should have asked the most important question.
You see, he says, your question is exciting, as well as, disheartening. I know you ask because you have observed my life. You have seen the ups and downs and have wondered how I eventually handled it. But look at it this way, every union between two people (ideally, man and woman) has to have a reason. Long ago, during our time, the prime reason was ever so clear. And simple.
When a man got to the right age, he was expected to find a wife. And reproduce! Have children of his own. A home of his own. That was the prime reason.
And then people discovered this thing called love. Well, it is not to mean that it did not exist previously. It did. Man, you should have seen how men and women treated each other as man and wife. But the new dimension of love that people have crafted has altered the equation. Nowadays people meet. Hug. Hug tighter. Hug tightest. And bum! I love you baby! For some it is all about material things. Most importantly the concept of time, patience, and compatibility is never a serious matter. But it is a whole complicated thing that, even I, cannot claim to have a full grasp.
However, polygamy, for me, was good when it lasted. It served its purpose and significance. I think the root of this whole thing is based on the concept that there is nothing new under the sun. For instance, When polygamy was predominant, people were all over the place advocating for monogamy citing all sorts of reasons. Now, monogamy is widespread and happens to be the thing, but others are out their claiming their loyalty to the concept of celibacy. So, I would say, it is not about love. Neither was it a while back.
And were it about love, then people had only one chance to love and be loved.
What I mean is that if you are looking for love and you land on the wrong person, then you have opened the floodgates of polygamy and polyandry in your life. The next events and unions or relationships will be just that. Relationships. No basis. No integrity. Just vague justifications. But polygamy tended to offer a panacea to this confusion. It allowed you to mask the fact that you lack love in your life. It also prevented and guarded you against the fraternity of deadbeat dads and runaway fathers!
Nonetheless, when all is considered, among all the six grandmothers that you had, i always had a deep affection for one. May God rest her soul. And as an advice to you, marriage is not a bed of roses (Unless you mean the thorns from a rose). So you can imagine having many of such. I managed. But methinks only a few can manage polygamy. Therefore look patiently, search diligently, and identify the person who loves you. Doesn’t matter how her face looks. This is where I reaffirm that fools should die, because they will think that, even in this, there is room for mistakes. They will test it with everyone they come across and the moment they realize there is not a pinch of love, they will run away. To the list of deadbeat dads and runaway fathers!
Go where you are loved.
Son, coming from a man who has grown beyond the very limits of life expectancy expected in Africa, handling six wives and myriads of children, this piece of advice should be taken seriously. I know there are men who have achieved more. But I am talking of my truth. What I know from people who have walked the path before me.
So, I had asked grandpa, what he has to say about polygamy and his answer was, go where you are loved! Contrary to what expected, I did not ask him about my real biological father. Because I already knew stuff.
I think it is time for me to talk about the third truth. The truth according to the natural laws. My truth, son. You see, I had a father too. Yes, I did not come about as a result of budding. Anyway, biologically, I should have one. And I definitely do. I know where he lives. I know where he works. I know the matatu route he uses to and from work. Usually, these parameters form enough intel to help you find someone.
Why haven’t you looked for him? What are you waiting for? Arent you curious? People will always ask with breaths stinking of childbirth.
The answer is simple. I don’t want to. One reason is that we, him and I, aren’t sure he wants to be found. Secondly, I have imagined how it would play out if I decide to pay him a visit.
Knock! Knock! Knock! …more but feebler knocks interjected by shaking knuckles
…who is there!
…uhm! Its me (hata wewe ungesema nini?)
Scenario1: he swings his door open. Eye meets eye. Inspects me from head to toe (that’s when I realize I have very ugly shoes on and I should have worn the other ones). And asks “how can I help you?”
…am man… am your… fuck it!
Scenario2: the door opens and reveals him. He looks at the guest and it hits him. He’s two seconds from fainting but he gathers all the composure he can conjure.
…honey, who is it?
Its no one, sugar, I think the neighbor’s dog is at it again. He says. He then takes a piece of paper, jots something and shakes my hand.
“I know. But just go. Give me a call, please call me, or anything. We will meet and talk,” he says gesturing the thumb-pinky ‘call me’ signal.
I nod in understanding.
Scenario3: “sugar” is the actual door opener
Scenario4: one of the products of “honey and sugar” opens the door.
You see son, I cannot possibly think of all the possible eventualities here. It could end up better, or worse than I think. But you will agree with me that this situation is very tricky. Somebody will delude him or herself and claim that I am a coward citing epistemologically anchored clichés such as “I am a fearful idiot” or am “I think too much” or “I should face my demons.”
Granted, they could be right in their own arena of thinking, which is dependent on their relationship with sophism. In a nutshell, I am just saying they are entitled to their opinions. Nonetheless, as everything plays out in my mind, I see one thing that is constant, son. Others may play out differently, but one thing. Every time that door slides open, I see myself as a belligerent whimsical imp with daddy issues burgeoning and smearing my whole façade. Son, this is not the reason though. I will forever avoid seeking an engagement with my biological father because, for whatever reason, he was not available for me when I needed him the most;
Son, methinks that if you were not available for your son through his younger and teenage years, don’t bother being there in his twenties. It makes very little sense.
So, I will not look for him. This is my third truth, son. My twisted memory, which is whirred by confounding times, still allows me to remember how my father became one of the deadbeat dads and runaway fathers. You can call me a son of Nairobi. By the time I knew myself, I was in the city. Gate number 1001 was my home until they came for me. It was a grey gate, which often screamed so annoyingly loud as it was opened. Sometimes, it screamed of hope. Many times it screamed of doom and suffering. You see, there is this thing we call conditioning. Where you get to associate sounds and visions to particular events and phenomena. The knock or opening of this gate was a trigger to one of the most horrible feelings I have ever had. But you know, son, I have outgrown that shit now. It doesn’t scare me anymore.
Behind this gate, son, I will dare say that life was not easy. Everyday survived was a blow against the plans of Belial. It was not this bad, though, until something happened. The gate was never locked as much. Its screech was not really evident at that time. You see, there was no need for keeping me in some sort of prison. Until this man began appearing. He had long beards. He was relatively thin. Looked like he was suffering. You know. But, all the same he came. When everyone was gone to work and I was all alone in the compound, he would peep through the gape gate (I wondered why he had to be this secretive) and he beckoned, son. He would then lift me, place me on the unfinished wall of the shop’s verandah, just outside plot 1001, then he would sit next. He would then take out a bottle of soda, Fanta and a scone whose inside was soft and yellow. He would then give me the go ahead to eat and drink. And I would gobble that thing ravenously, like I had just emerged from a forty day tour to Kalahari, Sahara, and Chalbi deserts combined. Hear me out, son, I was not that angry. It was just a good feeling to eat what he brought.
Nothing is sweeter than a father’s love for his son. Make no mistake about that.
When I was as full as watermelon, the guy would go on about how I was doing and who was chokoozaing me. And I would rant freely, murmuring out certain words and the names of newly discovered enemies. And then suddenly, he would instinctively rush me through the gate, whisk me into the compound, and bid me a hurried farewell. This happened so fast that it resembled a military operation. But it also signified the return of my grandmother, whom I later discovered, did not see eye to eye with this man. He spoilt her daughter’s life, she said.
This became a routine and, well, I did like it, son. Like I said, every little human being, desires and deserves such moments. But, some do not get the opportunity. Things happened. Like cucu warning him that if he ever showed his bushy face around there, he would never see the light of day again. That he would rot in the dungeons of kamiti. But he defied this, he kept coming. He was more diligent, though, never letting snitches and cucu see him. But one fateful day it was a done deal. Cucu came back earlier than expected and was dressed in the full armor of war. The guy could not hide or evaporate into thin air like he used to do. He was caught red handed and he had to face it.
You see, son, all I will tell you about this is that;
Well-cultured men do not beat women. Heck, they do not even argue viciously with women. Well-cultured men look down and nod in obedience as elders (men and women) read the Qu’ran for them. Also, well-cultured women will always make their minds known. It doesn’t matter who is listening. It doesn’t matter whether it is addressed to a man or woman, they will say. Significantly, well-cultured women-unlike men who throw punches straight from their chests straight to their opponents-will always clobber their victim with fists picked from heaven and landed aimlessly. Like sledgehammers find their heavy landings on nail heads.
Both my grandmother and my father were well-cultured. So, cucu beat the man, in both word and fist, until she had no more strength left in her. She then bundled me on her back like a dirty rucksack and off we went inside gate 1001. She banged it behind her and that was the last time it was open. The guy was left standing out there, dejected, and humiliated. Pitying eyes of the crowd looked at him with fading attention, passed, and went on with their businesses.
I can imagine the number of times he passed by hoping that somebody somewhere made a mistake and left the gate open. I am trying to fathom the feeling, the taste of his flowing blood as he hugged gate 1001 on a daily basis and whispered;
Boy! Boy! Are you there? Come over here. Say hi to papa.
And in a voice eerie as that of a baroque castrato, somebody will blabber, it doesn’t matter. He ran away. He shouldn’t have. Anyway, look for him.
But son, here is what I will say, will not look for him. I will not dare disturb his peace and tranquil that time has blessed him with. I will let him be.
Because, run away yes he did, but he went where he was wanted, accepted, and respected.
He went where he was loved!
And to you, son, as I talk these truths to you, I know you will have your own truths. You will wade through murky waters of youthful indiscretions. The realities, conjectures, and vicissitudes that will unfold before you, will bewilder you to your core. It will not matter what people of “normal situations” will think of you. The situation of your birth, childhood, teenage, youth, and adult life will not matter, son. Your ability to rise above the negativity around you and the foul challenges will be significant, but it will not be enough. Son, what will matter is whether, from the ashes of your uselessness and bizarre prevailing conditions, you rise and build a legacy that you will be proud of. But above all else, son, since we are talking of deadbeat dads and runaway fathers, I will say this;
Run away if you have to, but go where you are loved.