How have you been, old man?
I can't help but wonder why I have to ask you that when you don't ask me. Actually, I think that's just all part of being the 'bigger person' in this situation, right? Me doing all of the work while you do nothing. I'd say that's okay, but it isn't. Nothing about us has ever been okay.
Picking drugs over your daughter will never be okay.
But anyway, I'm fine. Thanks for asking.
Even though I'm doing alright, it still hurts. I don't think there is a way to make it not hurt. Honestly, I don't like being in pain over you. I never mattered to you, so why should the pain you cause mean anything to me?
Endless questions, I know. I've found that with time, questions about you begin to answer themselves. Your actions end up giving me more answers than your words ever could. There has to be an old quote about that, right? Something like "Actions always speak louder than words."
I've written hundreds of letters to you, usually scraping them all in the end. Every single one of them has been written with an undertone of anger and hostility, just like this one. You see, this letter isn't different from the others. In the end, each of these letters just repeats themselves. I think it's because no matter how many letters I write, that pain is still there. "Write it out and let it go," they say. I think I'm struggling with that last part of letting it go.
The thing is, I'm not ready to forgive you.
I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive you. I've forgiven a lot of wrongdoings in my life, but nobody else has ever hurt me as bad as you have. Maybe that's why I've been struggling with the whole 'forgiveness' thing for almost nineteen years.
I'll give you a little bit of credit, you tried at some points. I guess that's where the addiction comes in. Everybody finds a way to excuse your behavior because of your addiction, except for me. You'd tell me for the 100th time that you're sober and that you want to have a relationship with me, and I'd fall for it 100 times. I guess once your 20 minutes of sobriety were up, you weren't in the mood to try anymore.
Honestly, I'm glad that you're in my brother's life. He needs you much more than I need you, and I will never need you. He needs his dad in his life to watch his dirtbike competitions and to attend his football games. I never needed you to show up at my Girl Scout ceremonies and my piano recitals. That's what Grandpa was for. Grandpa raised me from my first breath until now. He and Mom taught me everything that makes me into who I am as a person. He was the one who showed up when you didn't.
As awful as it sounds, when I heard Grandpa had cancer, my first words were "It should be Dad instead." That is a side of myself that I don't like; that I'm not proud of. That side of me is something I get from you.
I've always been scared of being 50% you.
I hate that about myself. Not only do I look in the mirror and see you, I see you inside of my anger. It scares me that there are parts of me that act like you. You became the prime example of what I didn't want to be, but I won't ever be able to escape that.
It would've been easier if you left and never came back. At least then I wouldn't know you. I wouldn't have to deal with the pain of you leaving me countless times. It would've just been once, ripping the band-aid off once and for all. But you kept coming back just to leave again. Sure, maybe it would've been harder to have never met you, but at least that would save me from being broken a hundred times over. Then I wouldn't have to worry about seeing you on the street because I wouldn't recognize you.
I could go to the store and not have to duck my head if I see a truck like yours. I wouldn't feel my knees give out from seeing someone who looks like you. I wouldn't have to hold my breath every time I drove past your workplace.
At this point, I think it's safe to say that I hate you. It took me a long time to get there, but it's official.
When Mom told you "I should let her go over there and beat you to a pulp, but I'm afraid she'd do some irreversible damage to you.' she wasn't joking. That's another thing that scares me about myself. I don't think I'd be able to stop myself from damaging you as much as you've damaged me. They say 'If you had a chance to hurt them the way they hurt you, I hope you'd walk away.' I can't say that I would. That scares me too. I don't wanna be that person, but that is the person you made me into.
People tell me that I shouldn't say such hurtful things about you, and for a while, I believed them. That was until I thought of all the ways that you hurt me and realized that I deserve to call you out. I deserve to say that I hate you. I deserve to say that you are dead to me. After everything you've done, you owe me that much. I'm allowed to be angry.
I saw you one night while I was in the car with my best friend. I felt all of my emotions beginning to rise in my stomach.
I think it was about two years ago, you were in the parking lot of a Dollar General. I remember my face growing hot with anger and my friend instantly locked the doors because she knew I was ready to tuck and roll out of the moving vehicle. She could see it on my face that I was ready to do something regrettable. I'm still mad that she wouldn't pull over so I could give you a piece of my mind... but I'm also glad she stopped me from myself.
But there are some good parts to this. I've never sat and waited on the staircase for daddy to come home when It wasn't going to happen. I knew better than that at a very young age. There were no hard moments when I was upset and I thought you'd magically know to show up. I never waited for those stupid headlights to light up the driveway.
People excuse your actions because of how your father treated you. If you went through that pain, then why did you inflict that on me too? Shouldn't that have been your inspiration to do better by your daughter? If I know anything, it's that I'll be damn sure my children won't have to recover from their childhood like I had to.
But fear not, Dad. I'll be just fine without you. I didn't need you yesterday, I won't need you tomorrow. I haven't needed you in nineteen years and I won't ever start needing you.
Don't take credit for me either, this isn't your time to claim pride in me.
Daughter of a deadbeat.