Being in College Without a Father

My junior year of college is ending. On Sunday, I return home. I have most of my bags packed. I'm ready, but it's still startling how quickly the year went by.

 Tonight, I watched an episode of Felicity called "Great Expectations". In it, her father moves to New York and teaches at her college. That's all I can say. I don't want to ruin it for any other fans out there who, like me, haven't watched all the episodes. Needless to say, Felicity is not happy about her father's presence. He calls her, drops by unexpectedly, takes her out to lunch, and talks to her friends. She feels smothered by all this invasive attention and the disruption of her new life,  but it made me wonder: what would it be like to have a father while you're in college?

My father died when I was sixteen, so he never even saw me graduate high school. I did not go to the graduation ceremony because it was too painful to see everyone around me with both of their parents; I couldn't endure it.  

When I moved into my dorm freshman, sophmore, and junior year, fathers filled the elevators and hallways, fathers with suitcases and televisions and smiling daughters by their sides. I was alone, carrying all my belongings and trying not to think about how much I wished he was with me. I felt his absence all the more when I watched those fathers and daughters. I saw what my life could have been, what I was robbed of.

I still wonder what he would think of me. I wonder about the conversations we might have had, how I would have told him about my classes, come home to see him on the holidays, called him at times of crisis and stress, knowing that his voice would soothe me.  When I leave on Sunday, I will long for him to be by my side like the other fathers. Sometimes, in a secret part of myself, I want to ask these strange men around me, with daughters of their own, to be my father for a moment, just let me pretend I have a father. I want to know what that feels like. I ache to be loved by him again.