Maybe it was all the times I waited for you as a little girl on Saturday mornings, every time believing that THIS time you’d show up…but you rarely did.
Maybe it was remembering how long it took you to crush that faith in you out of me. How many no-shows before I got it, you just didn’t give a damn about us. It’s amazing how long I carried that around with me, and played it out in my relationships, breaking myself against the same cold stone again and again until I stopped because it finally hurt too much. I looked inside. I figured it out, thank you God. It took me a good 40 years but I GOT it.
Maybe it’s knowing, as a grown woman and a mother myself, how it broke my mother’s heart to see me waiting at the window for you for hours and hours, week after week. And she never said a bad word about you in front of us. How’d you get a woman like my mother to marry you? Or the other eight women you’ve married?
Maybe it’s remembering that night you called me up when I was 16, telling me how lonely you were, could I please come? My heart swelled, you NEEDED me, you wanted me with you, I grabbed my best friend and drove through a fog so thick we were terrified we were going to run off the road to get to where you lived. When we got there you gave us cocaine and booze for hours, then valium to bring us down later so we could sleep, and spent the evening hitting on my best friend. We were mortified, we were wasted. We were stuck there with you, too high and drunk to leave…what kind of person introduces their teenage daughter to cocaine and tries to fuck her friends? I don’t think you can call a person like that “dad”.
Maybe it’s because the last time I talked to you (everyone deserves a 3rd – 5th – umpteenth chance, right?), you said about my beautiful baby boy, who’s picture I’d foolishly sent you, “Pretty cute for a black kid.”. And that was it, I was really done. I haven’t talked to you since. I asked your wife not to mention me to you so that you wouldn’t call me up when you’re drunk, as you’d got fond of doing the last few years we still talked to each other. Just…leave it. It doesn’t even matter anymore. I survived you, and I need to remember that.
So that’s why I didn’t call you on Father’s Day.