Missing Someone Who Was Never There
I’m reading Jasper Fforde’s The Last Dragonslayer. It’s the ChickieNob’s book, but she left it on my bed. I had been reading Judy Blume’s new book, and I got to the first plane crash and I was done. DONE. Done with a capital D. I closed the book and decided not to torture myself. I’m already not great with air travel, so it seemed like a poor idea to poison myself more.
I picked up Fforde’s book and started reading to get the scene out of my head, and I ended up liking the beginning so much that I told the ChickieNob that I wasn’t giving the book back for a few days.
Anyway, the main character in the book is an orphan, and in a scene on page 43, she is speaking to a fellow orphan who is admitting that he misses his unknown parents.
“I miss my father,” said Tiger. “I don’t know who he is, where he is, or whether he’s alive or even knows I’m here — but I miss him.”
“Me, too,” I said, blowing my nose and thinking for a moment before clapping my hands together.
It was such a touching moment in what is usually a whimsical and humourous book. We relate so deeply to this thought: Of course he would miss his father, even if he never knew his father. Of course he would feel his absence deeply. We are meant to know our origins, to know our connection to the world around us.
But I reread that sentence flipping the child-parent relationship:
“I miss my child,” said Melissa. “I don’t know who she would have been, or when she would have come, or whether she’s out there still waiting to be born — but I miss her.”
Why does the understanding only flow in one direction? Why don’t we extend the same empathy towards the childless mother as we do the motherless child?
I don’t know — it was such a jarring moment, and then I fell back into the story.