To the Father I Never Knew

I never knew you. I don’t really want to know you, though when I was a child, I sometimes wanted to.

Children don’t know what they want.

I wanted to meet you once. Several times, really. The meeting wouldn’t have changed anything. I’d still have no feelings for you at all. Maybe, though, that meeting would have closed a hole in my soul that has never fully closed. Maybe I would’ve gotten to meet the brothers and sisters you’ve sired that I’ve never met—the family I never knew that your selfish, repulsive acts denied me—but, chances are, they probably can’t stand you, either.

I see your face in the mirror every morning. Most days, I don’t think about it, but some days I do. I see Mom’s little pug nose, and Mom’s dark brown eyes and hair, but the red beard? The ears? The jaw? The brow? The other features? That’s all you.

I really hate my face some days, because you gave it to me.

I share your genes. I carry your blood. Sometimes, I think I should be celibate just so your DNA doesn’t infect someone else. Sometimes… I can almost feel the influence of your blood. Whispering things, like rabid mice scratching against the walls of my mind.

Maybe I am going mad. Maybe I inherited it from you.

I’m rambling, aren’t I?

As strange as this sounds given my rambling preamble, I just wanted to say: happy Father’s Day.

You hurt my mother. Tried to kill her, until my grandmother rescued her from you. You hurt my sister, too, in ways too terrible to write about. You probably would have hurt me, too, if you’d have known I existed. You drank. You were always on something. You slept with anything that had a pulse, and you got into fights. Lord, did you ever get into fights… Dishonorable discharge from the Army for getting into fights. That takes some serious anger management issues, you know? And those rumors that you killed someone related to you for money…

I think your own family—all twelve of your siblings—hated you, too. You had my mother in such fear of you then. You were a horrible human being. Your name is a common English slang term for “vomit“, and that doesn’t surprise me at all.

Mother forgave you, though. After all you did, she forgave you. She would never love you again; you destroyed that long before she left you. Nevertheless, she still forgave you. I don’t know if my sister ever did… but Mother did.

Mother taught me much about forgiveness by example.

I forgive you, too. I don’t know you, of course, outside of the horror stories of what you did, so it means much less… but I forgive you all the same.

Happy Father’s Day, wherever you are.

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