I waited for you.

In the darkened bar on Lafayette, I sat alone with a glass of vodka tonic as my only companion. My raccoon-rimmed eyes and smeared blood-red lips paled in comparison to my heart, an icy chasm of loneliness and grief. Pulled into a nest of fading curls, my hair shone in the velvet facade of the room while my black trench hung from my bony shoulders like a wet mop. Despondent, I was a mess of thoughts.

"A refill, miss?" The bartender nodded at my empty glass as he rolled up his purple-embroidered sleeves, revealing a web of tattoos that crisscrossed his skin.

"Sure," I muttered and pushed it toward him absentmindedly. Amidst the crowds of raving teens, the flashing lights and pounding music did little to ease my restless mind. There were so many things I had to say. The list of apologies, confessions, and accusations ran for miles. If I started, my words would never cease, but among the thousands of messages, there was nothing more I wanted to say but "thank you."

Thank you for conjuring all my wasted emotions, bottled inside my chest as secrets that never saw the light. The years of guilt, hatred, and anxiety crippled my body and soul. I remember that day when I came home to a pool of crimson, thinking you were dead. The house was still as the cold granite stung under my feet; I was terrified to the core, yet I looked, in the dead of night, for you, dreading to see your possibly broken body. Instead of finding you, I found a letter: nothing but a stunt for attention.

What did I do to deserve this type of love?

Thank you for leaving me to my own devices as you went in pursuit of your own dreams. Away on a business trip, my mother would always say, but what were you really up to? Not once did you bring back a hello kitty plushie from Japan, a packaged stroopwafel from the Netherlands, or a simple postcard from South Africa. Besides the meager photos of your recent Bora Bora trip, the absence of those from others never seemed to raise suspicion. While you disappeared yet again, the days I spent in the dim-lit corner of my room were somber contrasts to your lavish penthouse parties and luxury hotel suites.

Where were you when I needed you the most?

Thank you for subjecting me to a public life I never wanted — the constant paranoia and invasion of privacy. Successful as you were, money was thankfully never a struggle, but after the few times you picked me up from school in your Rolls Royce, I notoriously became the highlight of the school newspaper. "Spoiled and egotistical" it described me. Even worse, the humiliation that came after the ponzi scheme shattered my immaculate reputation. I was the face of shame, poison to even my closest friends. The camera clicks hidden in the bushes as I walked home and the rejection letters from my dearest colleges were just the beginning. I could never escape from under your fallen legacy; I just wanted peace.

Was that too much to ask?

Thank you for spilling your fits of rage on my fragile mind, fueled by the liquor hidden beneath your bed. Your disgraces I had to live through could never satisfy your lust for chaos and ecstasy. At first, it was bearable, a few empty bottles of whiskey here and there. Life continued as it did. But then, it became an addiction, a disease of the mind. The slamming doors and screaming fits of unpredictable anger turned the heads of neighbors, and soon, the glass shards raining down in the kitchen became a daily ritual. Little did I know, the worst was yet to come when you crashed my new car into a lamppost on the highway, landing yourself in jail for the third time on a DUI charge.

Had your mind lost its way?

Thank you for cracking the shell to my deepest fears, a sin you could never repay. In that dead and broken night, the wind howled a wretched tune, and deep inside you, a darkness spread. You concealed it with endless debauchery, surrounded by a life of riches and gold. However, you came home, tired of the voices inside your head, cursing at the endless cycle of sunrise and sunset. Damned was our family for not noticing something was wrong when it started. Then, you took your silver companion back into your skyline office and took a steady aim. No one could hear you. No one could see you. No one could stop you.

But why was I not your saving grace?

Dad, I waited for you that day, alone in a darkened bar on Lafayette.

But you were long gone.

Disclaimer: All characters and events are purely fictional.