LeKeisha Williams (left) and Tia Williams at StoryCorps in New York City.
Teenagers LeKeisha Williams and Tia Williams are schoolmates and best friends. The pair, who are not related, recently talked about Tia's father, who left her life very early.
"Who is important in your life right now?" LeKeisha asks Tia.
"My mother," Tia answers, "because my mother was the one that raised me, and we went through so many things together when I was little."
Much of those hard times came as a result of Tia's father, who was addicted to drugs.
The last memory Tia has of her father is also one of the only good ones. He came to her second birthday party.
"And after that, I've never seen him again," she tells LeKeisha.
"We didn't have that much money," Tia recalls, "and whatever money we had, my father would take the money and go buy drugs, or something like that."
Tia says her mother was so desperate for money in those days, she often had to hop the subway turnstile to get to work.
"What is you father's name?" LeKeisha asks.
"I don't know," Tia says.
When it's suggested that Tia could ask her mother for her father's name, she says she isn't sure that would be a good idea.
"I don't like to bring back memories from her past," she says, "because she's doing so much better now."
Still, Tia admits to occasionally thinking about her birth father — and wondering whether he thinks about her, about how things are going for her, and where she's living. For her part, she wonders whether he's still alive. But looking for her father could bring another decision: what to do next.
"If I really do find him," Tia says, "I don't know what I would do — say, 'Hi, I'm your daughter?'
"And then what?"
Produced for 'Morning Edition' by StoryCorps Senior Producer Sarah Kramer.