Dear Person I Used To Know,

Hi. My name is Mackenzie. But, you knew that. I just figured I'd start with the basics, because even though you know a lot about me, you don't know me anymore. Although you helped raise me, the last time we spoke was around five years ago.

The other day I came to pick up my little sister from the house I grew up in, your house. I usually wait in the car and try to avoid the situation entirely. But for some reason, this time I walked up to the house that built me and knocked on the door to wait for my sister to come to the car. My eyes glanced to our old miniature pond that had frozen over. I still recall the day we put it in beside our front porch. My eyes flashed around to the blue shutters we picked out, and the basketball hoop we used to use during summer nights. I remember the house being so big but, for some reason it wasn't anymore. I remember it used to mean something to me, but it didn't anymore. Honestly, when I walked up the steps I felt upset because I wanted to feel something, anything, and I didn't.

My first semester of college truly changed me in ways I cannot begin to explain. The other day I saw you at my sister's basketball game. You were walking side by side with my mom laughing as if nothing had ever happened. "Why are you being nice to him?" I snapped unable to resist making the snide remark. But, for the first time since the divorce, I felt a twinge of regret.

To be truthful, I believe I just wanted to hurt you like you hurt me. I know you didn't mean to hurt us, but you did. You left. You broke your promise. The sad thing is that I do not even know what you know. Perhaps you don't realize what you put us through. And I think that is part of the reason I have been so mad at you all these years. Because maybe if you would have known the outcome, things would have been different.

Maybe you don't remember. I doubt you do because you didn't see it. But, I was there. I saw it all.

I remember when I would hear the screams and my mom's voice crack as she cried. So, I would lace up my tennis shoes to run away from it all; my worries, my thoughts, my home. For three hours straight I would run to get away from adult discussions that turned into shouts and tears of despair.

You didn't see when I was vigorously mean to my mom who did nothing at all. "He doesn't want us! He doesn't want us anymore. We have to get over it and move on. Why do you want someone that doesn't want you?!" My tough love was fueled by my own hurt.

You didn't see me come up with excuse after excuse. Every time my teacher asked if I was okay, I would just pretend I had another sleepless night from staying up watching television.

You didn't see me cover up the truth. For months I didn't speak a word of my home life for fear that someone might piece together parts of my broken puzzle.

You didn't see my sister have break downs, and there was nothing I could do to fix it. I would have gave everything I had to take away her pain.

You didn't see me the night my mom told me you were leaving. When I asked what was wrong, I was not prepared for my mom to admit the words "He wants a divorce." I remember thrashing my fists into the dashboard. My legs kicked and tears streamed down my face while the knot in my stomach tightened.

You didn't see me defend you against my mom's suspicions only to be heart broken when I found them to be true.

You didn't see me break down in tears last year at my aunt's wedding when the ceremony between the step dad and daughter took place.

You didn't see me get my first job.

You didn't see me get my first car.

You didn't see me practice my salutatorian speech for graduation.

You didn't see how strong I was when everything fell apart.

You didn't see me writing this as tears filled my eyes because more than I'd like to admit, sometimes the emotions are still too raw.

You didn't see me.

You didn't see how amazing I am; because, you're not here.

One day my friend told me "You remember things that you have experienced in your life, because they made you feel happy or sad."

This phrase made me sad. It made me so sad, for you. Because out of all the bad that happened, I try my best to forget all the good.

And I think that's the worst part, I remember. I remember it all.

I remember when you helped me craft my school projects. We bought a plastic toy dog and made a clay sculpture of the Great Sphinx in 6th grade.

I remember when you jumped over the stair case to chase me down and throw water on me. My pajamas were soaked, so I had to change into new ones. Mom always yelled at us, but we never listened.

I remember how you were always there- for every swim meet, clarinet recital, pageant, etc.

I remember how happy you used to make my mom.

I remember how happy you used to make me.

And I think that's why I hate you so much.

I want you to know something I never thought I would say: You are not your mistakes. You did a shitty thing. You did a really shitty thing by leaving. And I think that's what hurt so damn bad. I never expected to hate you, because I loved you, and I know you loved me, too. I never expected to hate you because the thought never crossed my mind that one day you might actually leave.

The truth is I wanted to hate you. But, I don't. I hate what you did.

I hope you see what a great life you have even though I am not in it. Your kids turned out to be some amazing people, and I am happy to be able to call them my own siblings. I never needed you to be my dad. My own is pretty phenomenal. The truth is I just wanted you to be here, because for as long as I can remember, you always had been.

Honestly though, I am sorry that I thought I needed you. I shouldn't have put that pressure on you. I should not have given you that control over me, my life, and my happiness. The truth is that I really thought I needed you. But, I don't. I ended up being just fine. So, please do not worry about me. Please, do not have regrets about me, because I turned out better than I could have ever imagined.

Forgiving is about no longer resenting a person for a flaw or mistake they made. My life is too busy, and I am too happy to leave this negativity inside me any longer. So, I can no longer hate you, because I simply don't know you any more. My mom raised me to be better than what makes me weak. Although, I cannot forgive the situation, and I cannot forgive the past...

I do forgive you.

My little sister says really nice things about you. For that, I am thankful, and I pray you continue to love her like you do. You may not be in my life anymore, but I can only hope that you will be as involved in hers as you were in mine. Because if you are, then there is not a better dad out there that she can call her own. One day I might meet the you, the new you, and you can reenter into my life again. But if not, that's okay. Like I have said before, I am doing just fine on my own, and my life has never been better.

When you left you said you weren't happy anymore. For the first time though, I am truly happy; and, I hope that you are, too.

Sincerely,

The Girl Who Only Needed Herself