The other day, I was flipping through my journal and ran across an old entry from almost seven years ago. (Hey, this journal has been neglected. What can I say?) Reading through it made me somewhat wistful, but nowhere near as sad as it used to. I think, quite possibly, it is because I finally have closure. My father is no longer in my life due to my choosing and I am glad of it.
I no longer have to live this particular lie of pretending our family is fine nor force my children into that lie’s bondage. We are free and all the better for it. It takes an entry like this one to remind me of the hold and sway he used to have over me.
September 22, 2008
I avoid thinking about Dad. He’s coming home for a few days on Saturday.
Truthfully, I forget he exists. It’s easier that way. Otherwise, the tacit acknowledgment of his absence is too painful. And even though I know it has everything to do with him, it cannot help but feel as if it is about us.
Every time he comes home, I feel such intense pressure. I feel as if I have to make his time here spectacular or make him feel like a king – otherwise, he may never come home again. I always feel as if I have to make him miss us. And if I stop playing to his ego, he’ll forget us.
After all, isn’t that what’s already happened? He used to call/IM me much more. But ever since I confronted him about the kids in the background, he’s stopped. And ever since then, I’ve cut the “Poor Daddy” act. Because quite frankly, I’m mad and I cannot force myself to be sweet and cute anymore. I want to smack him and be confrontational. I am angry at him. I am terribly disappointed in him. How time after time, he chooses himself.
I am incredibly angry. How dare he come back, waltz into our lives and expect that we should fawn all over him? How dare he come home, acting like the martyr, this suffering servant. As if we’re just ingrates, treating him like shit. Poor Daddy. So misunderstood. Bullshit.
What a selfish bastard.
I am also incredibly afraid. Afraid that he won’t come back. That I will never see him again. That I may not want to. That sometimes, I wish he were dead – so that things could be simpler. That we could have closure and just move on with our lives. That we could be free.
Because we are tethered to him. It may be a tether that is halfway across the world, but we are still tied. Even if they divorced, it’d still be there. But if he died? Perhaps that pull would disappear. We could start over.
Does this make me a bad person?
He makes me so terribly sad. Fine. He can’t make me do anything. But I feel so terribly sad. So, so sad. Sad seems too weak a word. My heart is broken.
Every time he leaves, he re-breaks my heart.
I feel the ache of uncried sobs in the back of my throat, the prick of unwet tears in my eyes. I tamp it down – for what good would it bring to weep?
I do not have enough imagination to think of – to hope for – something different. It hurts too much.
Sometimes, I think I have no father. And though I hope prayer works, clearly, I don’t believe it. For if I did, I’d be praying for him every day.
Instead, I am resigned. Why stir up false hope? God will not force his hand. And he doesn’t want to change.
What a fucking shame.