18 was the age. The most memorable. Finally legal in my country, but that wasn’t the distinction that forced me into adulthood. 18 was the age. I dropped out of high school, paid rent for the first time, felt broke for the first time.
18 was the age my daughter was conceived.
It was the first time I felt real fear, real insecurity about my abilities to be a father. All I wanted to do was play ball, chase girls, laugh with my friends. Instead I was nervous, anxious, dealing with family split between being unforgiving and empathetic.
Either way, 18 was the age I trained myself to not be sensitive. To know that from here on in I had to be strong. My existence wasn’t all that was at stake, my ego wasn’t the only thing to be scarred.
18 was the year I became a father. A child myself, but who had time to think about that. Who had time to try to make sense of what that word really meant.
Didn’t have one myself, but vowed to be better. Didn’t care that he was never there because I would be.
And I was.
And I still am.
18 was the first time I looked into my daughter’s eyes. First time I held her. First time I heard her cry.
13 years later and I can’t help but reminisce sometimes.