Of course, my own departure and vanishing act could very well have been a drastic overreaction. I looked back for most of last week, trying to find the trigger. At one point, far after the point of no return for me, I could scarcely believe I wasn’t in a dream. How had I been pushed so far? It was no one thing that triggered my decision though, as I think about it.
My family is an alarmingly influential pillar of a small European country, deeply meshed into the financial fabric of the nation and at the core characterized by the highest extremes of power and influence.
I grew up the youngest of four and the only girl in a disturbingly Byzantine environment. When I was about thirteen I found I had a curiously hard time watching any of ‘The Godfather’ movies primarily as a result of what I can only call a disarming similarity between Michael Corleone and my father.
Is my father a mobster? No. Not in the conventional sense. Has my father had men killed? Women killed? Maybe. I don’t rightly know and certainly, even if I did I would never admit it here- but if he hasn’t it’s not for a lack of logistic or ethical capacity.
I wouldn’t necessarily call my father evil, but there is no doubt that a certain… moral agility expands his worldview. And this- coupled with a compelling sense of overarching duty.
Our family traces its roots back seventeen generations- to the time of the Renaissance. Seventeen generations of fiscal conservatism. Seventeen generations of dynastic preservation and succession machinations. Seventeen generations of wealth accumulation. Seventeen generations of primogeniture. Seventeen generations of sinister momentum.
That kind of history, the kind that transcends dozens of legal systems, eras and geopolitical phases, tends to give one a sense of immunity. Immunity from the trite and flighty whims of society. Immunity from authorities with four year terms, or indeed any body at all that cannot trace its own roots back to the 1600s as well.
In short my father is a very wealthy, connected and powerful man. Even as I look at those words on the screen they seem to pale entirely in comparison to the reality that is my father. And while these properties may have co-existed peacefully for some time without crossing my path, it was this drive, built up almost as ocean waves might be driven over hundreds of kilometers before a storm, that finally put us at odds.
It was also that quiet, calculating and powerfully penetrating calm that terrifies me sometimes. The collected expression of a chess player who has total command of the field, and his opponent. You can see it in him. The cool, elegant composure of the deadliest and most unpredictable of foes. I see it in my chase nightmares now. Looking cooly across the table in a cafe as if he had been there watching me every day for weeks and I had just now noticed. Christopher Walken. Kasperov. Sir Francis Walsingham.
Despite this, and drastically, my father made four mistakes.
He gave birth to a redhead, and a daddy’s little girl.
He sent me to the United States before I was 9.
He made me in his own image and taught me entirely too well