My father

My father is a character. He had a tough childhood. He lost his mother when he was seven. She died from breast cancer. After her death, my grandfather lost himself. In many ways, he died when she died. He showed no love towards his children. My father and his sister did not go to college as my grandfather did not want to pay for it. He was cheap.

For many years, I hated my father. I hated him for many reasons. I hated him for not protecting me against my mother. I was hurt that he chose to do drugs with her instead of being a father. As a baby, my mother did drugs while nursing me and he did not stop her. He got back with her after she left the first time. If he hasn’t, I wouldn’t have remembered her and would be better off. I was so angry with everything. It felt like he chose her instead of me. He always said woman come and go but children are forever… but at that time, she came first. He told me the reason he did drugs was because it was intolerable to be with someone who does drugs when sober.

After my mother left for the second and final time, I remember him being very hard on me school wise. He was trying to teach me math and I was frustrated and he would yell. We started traveling a lot, moving from one place to another every year. We lived in Haiti, Jerusalem, Ukraine than back to Panama. He got sick in Panama and went to New York for treatment which I then joined him. That is where I was tested and diagnosed for ADD. I remember being in school and not understand something that everyone else got. I felt like my brain was stupid and I did not want to tell my father as he was sick and I did not want to worry him even more so I kept quiet. The only positive thing in my life at that time was that it was because of my father that I became an actress. I auditioned and got a lot of callbacks. Casting directors liked me but I never got hired for anything.

After New York, we moved to Argentina. The day before moving, I went on tape for a movie called Bee Season. I loved Argentina. It was a beautiful, vibrant and fun place to be. It felt like home. I was in Argentina when I found out that the directors of Bee Season were interested in me and they did not want me to cut my hair. My father and I read the script together. It was the first script I fell in love with and knew I wanted this role. I had a call back schedule in LA for December. The audition lasted five hours as they wanted me to act beside the actors who would play my brother in the movie. I even auditioned with my actual brother, Eli. It was fun to act beside him. Few days after the audition, my father and I went to Ethiopia for vacation. We were there for two weeks traveling around with a friend that we knew from Israel. My father got food poisoning so, he ended up in the hospital. I remember going to the hospital and him mumbling something. He said “you got the job” but I did not understand what he was saying. My manager called the hospital and told me that I got the job for Bee Season. I screamed at the hospital. When we returned to Los Angeles, I had to go to fox searchlight to do my costume fittings. That is when it hit my father that this was real. I was so excited. We started shooting in January. I was 11 years old. It was an amazing experience. :)

During that time, my father was taking a lot of pain killers and one morning, it was so bad that Harley, my older brother had to come from LA to San Francisco to take him to the hospital. It was scary and it was the first time in my life that I really understood that he had a problem with alcohol and drugs.

After the movie was wrapped, I returned to Argentina. I was living with a family there so that my father could travel. I only saw my father on weekends as our apartment was so far away from my school. I loved living with that family. They had a daughter who was in my class and a son who was only an few years older. It felt like home. My father hired a secretary who I met who then turned out to be his girlfriend. I remember the first time he slept with her. It was during my halloween party. I remember telling him that night, “I am okay if she is your secretary but I do not want you sleeping with her”. I was angry and jealous. This was his first girlfriend that I knew about since my mother left. Things already weren’t going well with us. We started fighting. He would show me movies and ask me about them but I just wanted to be a kid. My father never treated me like a kid which most of the time I appreciated, but sometimes it was a lot of pressure. His girlfriend was younger than Eli so I was very unhappy. Her name was Vivianna. We fought a lot for my fathers attention. I only would see him on weekends and he spent most of his time with her.  My father was out once and I went to lunch with her and she told me that my father did not love me. I ran all the way home crying.I remember trying everything to get rid of her. I just wanted to have my father all to myself. I felt so lost during that time because he was the only parent I had and I felt as if I was loosing him. It hurt. I remember listening to them fight and it reminded me of my childhood when he would fight with my mother. I would start shaking in my room.

We travelled to Haiti together. I hated that she was there. Haiti was special to me and she was invading it. We then went to New York which is where she found out she was pregnant. I was terrified but figured I would have to get used to the idea and then I started to become excited to have a baby brother or sister. We went back to Argentina and one day I came home, and my house door was locked. I banged and banged on the door and my father told me that the baby had died. She had a miscarriage and I was genuinely sad. I wanted to have a baby sister or brother. We went to Paris together and they were fighting a lot. I stayed with a family friend for a week as things were so bad. Then, I stayed with them again but in a different apartment but right next to them. One day my father came back from getting me clothing and I was really happy. She got so angry because he got me clothing. I was his kid. His daughter. She had daddy issues as she didn’t grow up with a father. She took it out on me and my relationship with my father. That moment, she got so angry and told me that I killed the baby. I was in shock and so upset that my father was not saying anything. He kept quiet. He did not defend me. Obviously, I knew she was insane for thinking that but I felt like at that moment… I did not matter and all he cared about was her.

A few months later, I moved to Los Angeles to live with Harley, my older brother. My father never told me why. I thought it was because I was causing problems with him and Vivianna. I felt as if I was being abandoned again by another parent.  Things got worse and worse. I hated talking to him on the phone as he would boss me around and I did not want him to as he was nor raising me. He had my brother do it. I loved my brother.

My relationship with my father was so toxic. I had so much anger build inside. All we did was fight and I felt like it got worse and worse throughout the years. I would hang up on him. I hated when he visited. We lived together again for a year and it was bad. He would try to help me with homework and I did not want his help. He cooked for me and I never helped him to clean up. Nothing. I was angry because it felt like he was trying to finally be a father after all this time. Also, he was on drugs at that time. I remember him falling asleep mid sentence because of all the drugs.

It was not until last year that it was okay. And the reason we began to have a relationship after so many years was because of his ex. She told him to leave me alone and not tell me what to do and it was not until then, that I was okay with him. It took time for me to trust him. I finally forgave him for everything because I looked past him mistakes and saw everything good he did as a father.

He was always there. He made sure I went to the best schools. He was always supportive about my acting. He made sure I was safe even when he travelled. He did the best job he could. He protected me as best he could. He did give me a life and an interested life at that with travel and culture. I love my father and I forgive him. I will never forgive my mother but he always tried his best. He is a human being and he is not perfect, but he is a great father. He gave me two amazing brothers. I owe him everything. He gave me the life I have. I love him and I am grateful for everything he did for me and continues to do for me.

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About Flora Cross

21 year old actress and teacher. Born in Paris and raised around the world. Have lived in Panama, Haiti, Ukraine, Argentina, Israel, New York, and Los Angeles for the last nine years. Want to become a teacher for children with special needs. Loved education and life. Loves literature music and anything artistic. Moving to Paris. Favorite Musicians: Janis Joplin, The Civil Wars, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse, Adele, The Pretty Reckless, Birdy, Bastille, Miley Cyrus, Lorde, Macklemore, Idina Menzel, Avicii, A Great Big World, Passenger, Pink and The Beatles. Flora played the lead role of Eliza in the 2005 film Bee Season, opposite Richard Gere, Juliette Binoche and Max Minghella. She auditioned for the part shortly before moving to Argentina, where she was living when offered the role. Her next role was playing the eccentric daughter of Jennifer Jason Leigh's character in director Noah Baumbach's critically acclaimed Margot at the Wedding. In the film she worked alongside actors Nicole Kidman, Jack Black, John Turturro, and fellow teen actor Zane Pais. Flora plays the co-starring role of Cynthia in the upcoming film "Chlorine" (currently in post-production), written and directed by Jay Alaimo. The film also stars Kyra Sedgwick and Vincent D'Onofrio as Cynthia's troubled parents, and Ryan Donowho as her eccentric brother.
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