24 Hours in DC

“Washington, D.C., with its wide streets, confounding roundabouts, marble statues, Doric columns, and domes, is supposed to feel like ancient Rome (that is, if the streets of ancient Rome were lined with homeless black people, bomb-sniffing dogs, tour buses, and cherry blossoms).” ~ Paul Beatty, The Sellout

I traveled to Washington, DC last week for a case I had been working.  It had the distinction of having reached the highest court in the country.  I had the honor of being invited to watch the oral argument that was to be heard at the Supreme Court of the United States.

I flew in on Tuesday evening.  I woke up on Wednesday morning to soft falling snow.  Washington, DC is funny in that the city becomes paralyzed with a mere few inches of snow (slush, really).  I was afraid that our hearing was going to get postponed as the rest of the city operations were closed, but fortunately, the Supreme Court was tough, and they remained open.

The rest of the city, however, was a ghost town.

My 17:30 flight back to New York was delayed, so I decided to just cancel the flight entirely and book a 15:05 train back home.  It was a good move, and I was home by 19:00.

There really is no place like home.

There Will Be a Fish

“Chance is always powerful. Let your hook be always cast; in the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.” ~ Ovid, Heroides

Last year, I made a life-changing decision to try one more time.  One last attempt, I told myself.  I fought with myself for weeks, oscillating back and forth from “should i do it?” to “I will definitely do it!” and I did definitely do it, and looking back, I am glad I did.

It was not easy.  I felt as though I had to swallow every last shred of pride and dignity that I had left, and I had to stop my mind from going back to those dark years of my life with him, but I somehow managed to pick up the phone, dial his number, let it ring, hear him answer, and simply talk to him.

The first few minutes were awkward, strained even.  But I was determined.  I had to let him understand that I was not reaching out to him for any other reason other than to try to bridge the years and the distance and the time lost between my daughter and her father.

He did not believe me at first.  Too much time had passed, he said, and he didn’t see the sense of it all.  Deep down I felt that he was scared.  Scared to make the effort, scared to feel the fatherly feelings towards his daughter, only to find her rejecting him in the same way he had rejected her all these years.

I begged him to try.  Not for me, but for her.  Because no matter how we felt for one another, she was innocent.  And she deserved to meet him at least one time in her life.

I told G that I had contacted her father.  She immediately wrapped her arms around herself and her body stiffened.  I felt her bracing herself as I summarized my phone call with him, and told her of our plan to meet.  She was silent.  She looked apprehensive.  After a few seconds, she said, “Ok.”

She met her father for the first time on a cold night last January.  It was anti-climactic in every way.  There was no big crying reunion scene between father and daughter.  Instead, it was an awkward and tense evening that left all of us emotionally drained.

If one were to ask me that night how I would envision the next year to be between us, I never would have imagined the situation that it is now.

Now, one year later, after many rough months of ironing out of differences and building trust, she divides her time between her father and me.  Sometimes she is with him (and his new wife and her son), and other times she is with me.  While he and I will never be friends, we get along better now than ever before.  It is a relationship born out of the mutual love we have for our daughter, and while far from perfect, it is better than I had even hoped.

I am proud of myself for giving him one more chance, even though I felt at the time that he never deserved it.  But G deserved it.  And I’m glad that I fought for her chance.