As a general rule in life, I try not to hate people. I feel like it’s bad for the soul. I try to see the good in people, to remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, etc.
I make an exception for you.
The last time I cursed someone out in these letters, I was being sarcastic. Let me make it very clear that I’m not in any way joking when I say you’re a trifling piece of fucking shit, and if I never see you again, it’s too fucking soon.
I hope you know your daughter hates you too. She finally saw through that mask you show them to see you for who you really are, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she isn’t ashamed to call herself your blood. I know I sure as hell would be.
You know, me and my mom could have had a good life. Sure we were kind of struggling when you met us, but we would have made it. We’re strong like that. But no, you had to come sweet talk your way into her life, and go and get her fucking pregnant, and then offer to marry her like an idiot. And her, the single woman living with her sister with one kid and about to become the mother of another, what choice did she really have? I was too young to remember your wedding day, but I guess you don’t remember either, because you certainly didn’t honor those vows you made.
You left her a week after your son was born. Your son that she named after you. What the fuck kind of human being does that? What kind of man can live with himself after doing that? Evidently you can, because you came crawling back to her with your tail between your legs, and now the mother of two of your children and not having a college degree, she [thought she] needed you to survive.
Then you yelled and screamed at us all the time, and beat us kids mercilessly with belts and physically fought with my mother every time the two of you got into an argument. God, it happened so often that when I was growing up, that’s what I thought was normal.
Then you left us again when I was 10. If I was ten, your children were four and five. But I mean, you were used to walking out on your family; this wasn’t the first time you’d done it–or the first wife and kid you’d left. I’m sure you don’t know that I was awake that whole night, listening to the two of you. You threw the fucking TV at her head. I still believed in God then, and I thanked Him for giving her the wisdom to duck. I’ll never forget the sound of the glass shattering as it broke the window, or as the tv smashed to the ground outside. You slammed down the stairs and out the door, and once all was quiet I finally got up to go to the bathroom. She asked who it was and I said it was me, and I called out, “Goodnight Mommy. Goodnight Daddy,” (I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE YOU MADE ME CALL YOU THAT. YOU ARE NOT MY FATHER. I HAVE A WONDERFUL FATHER WHO TRIED TO BE AS BIG A PART OF MY LIFE AS HE COULD, BUT YOU DIDN’T LIKE HAVING HIM AROUND, AND YOU DIDN’T LIKE SEEING THAT YOU’D NEVER MEAN AS MUCH TO ME AS HE DID, AND YOU MADE ME CALL HIM BY HIS FIRST NAME. FOR THAT, MORE THAN EVERYTHING ELSE, I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU.) and she said “Daddy’s gone, and he’s never coming back.”
I don’t think she remembers that. The next morning as I was getting the kids ready for preschool I smelled something burning downstairs. I rushed down and found her curled up in that pink bathrobe on the kitchen floor, spatula in hand, sobbing. I’d never really seen her cry before. The eggs were on the stove, burning. To this day I still won’t eat eggs, because they remind me of this moment. I told the kids to go back to sleep, and called the school using my best grown-up voice to excuse us for the day. And then I sat down Indian-style next to her and rubbed her back and let her cry. And she talked to me. She told me all her plans to get us out of this bad neighborhood and out of this whole mess and into a new life. And she scraped and saved and bought us a new house and finished school and got a teaching job and I was SO IMMENSELY PROUD OF HER.
And then you did the second thing I will never forgive you for. You made me hate my mother. You made me hate her, because after all her big strong talk and everything she did, you came back from fucking that other woman and wanted another chance, and despite all the promises she’d made me that day on the kitchen floor, she took you back. I had been free and fatherless and almost happy, but then you were back and in control of my life all over again.
But I can forgive the stress. I can forgive the unrealistic expectations. I can almost forgive the welts and the bruises. If I reached deep down, I might even be able to forgive grounding me for 3 months over a pair of damn sneakers. What I cannot forgive is that you had the gall to leave again. To cheat on her again. And then to move to Georgia and promise your small children that you would come see them for Christmas or for their birthday, and to unfailingly call the night before to say something came up and you were sorry. I can’t forgive having to hold them while they cried and promise them that you still loved them, when I couldn’t even believe that you were capable of love.
I can’t forgive the fact that you basically abandoned them for your new family and the wishes of your new wife.
I hate you. Not even for what you did to me, as fucked up as all of that was. Not even for what you did to my mother, though she deserved none of it. I hate you because I watch what you did to your children get worse and worse every day. I hate you because now my sister has to know what it is to hate her father. I hate you because you brought a brother into my life and took him away.
I hate you because I owe you this broken little life I lead. Without you, there would be no brother and sister. There would be no Mays Landing. We would have headed to Savannah with Deece if it weren’t for you. There would be no everything I’ve ever known without you, and I hate you for that. I hate you because I owe you my very life.
PS I hate that this letter is making me cry, because you’re not fucking worth my tears, goddammit.