Uncle Rhett's was a cozy place. The living room-like atmosphere with big comfy couches and dim lighting was much different than your usual cafe. Some were there to work on their theses and school projects. Some were present to enjoy the music, relax a little, and hang out with friends. But for my close friend Brittany, that Friday night at Uncle Rhett's was a special one.
She sat there patiently, waiting for someone. At around eight thirty, she noticed a man outside, and she knew right away it was Edward. The old guy gave her a weak hug. Britt invited him in, ordered him a cup of cappuccino and chatted him up. She was more than a little nervous, but she had to do it. It was the first time she had met her father.
Edward was tall, clean-shaven, and he had a high-bridged nose, which she inherited. Brittany's mom had a casual relationship with Edward when she was 18 but the aspiring musician made a quick departure when she became pregnant.
All of her life, Britt grew up without a father. She had somehow accepted her fate until she was old enough to realize that something was missing. Over those four decades, Edward tried to call her once. He sent her birthday cards twice but he never had the guts to confront her. Meeting him for the very first time, a thousand questions rushed through Brittany's mind.
They talked about her childhood in Laguna, her college years in Manila, her marriage to a lawyer from Baguio and the grandson that he had yet to meet. He told her about his current wife, his six other children, his job, his life in Tanauan and his illness. Edward was suffering from cancer.
Last week, Britt's father passed away. She wept for the father who had abandoned her and for the relationship they could have had. When asked if she had forgiven him, Britt had a simple response. "Absolutely," she said. "I knew I had forgiven him the moment we sat on that blue velvet couch."