Isn't as cruel a word as abused
But it's enough, I think.
I know you wanted a boy, father;
You wanted to name me Junior
You really wanted Little League
Roughhousing and car mechanics
And that father-son talk at thirteen.
Instead you got a scaredey-cat girl
Who you had to toss in the pool,
Who hid in her room, in trees,
Who cringed at the idea of violence,
Who had a hard time standing up for herself.
I don't think that's why you left
And why you stayed gone for eleven years;
I know you called sometimes,
But when mom would ask if I wanted to talk to you
It was me that said no.
I don't really believe you were ashamed of me,
But I did then,
Especially since I was angry and wanted very much
To be ashamed of you.
I was bitter about the "college fund," father;
About the endless lack of money,
About having to sneak around the house in the daytime,
About only seeing you when you decided to make an appearance,
About the pot in the hall closet
(I learned to fear police raids when I was in first grade),
About the broken promises.
You were gone for such a long time
That when you finally left for real
It was almost a relief,
And I spent years trying to unremember
Anything good about you
So I wouldn't miss
What I couldn't have.
And one day, out of the blue,
You're coming to town, and it's convenient to visit.
Never mind that it's been half my life since the last time I saw you;
Never mind that I'm now an adult living on my own,
Now you want to play Daddy,
And I'm your little girl.
You don't get that, father.
Not after the bitterness,
Not after figuring out that the reason I had so many messed-up relationships
Was that I kept picking guys that ended up leaving me,
Not after spending years getting a spine
And a sense of my own worth
And learning how not to be a shy little girl.
You certainly don't get to see my awkward teenage years;
You'll never know what it was like when I graduated from high
When I started dating,
When I learned to drive,
When I left home to make my own way.
Too late, father.
You take me as I am
Or not at all.
And since you never bothered to find out who I am,
And you still don't show much interest,
I'll just assume that you don't want me after all.
And you know what?
I'm doing just fine without you.
I finally found a man who wouldn't leave;
I finally discovered what I'm good at;
I finally identified and am working to kill
That lingering fear of other people's fathers,
And the fear of not having a child by myself.
It would be so much easier and more understandable
To make up a story of abuse and neglect--
Though the neglect isn't that far off.
There's a father-sized hole in my life,
And it's been there for fifteen years,
So I've learned to build my life around it.
But when I have a child of my own
Don't expect to hear from me;
I'm not going to want you there.
You may not understand-you may never understand.
It's the price you've already paid for freedom and escape.
You'll always be my father,
But you'll never be my Dad again.
That's what I get
Edited by Fantasy Reality Productions
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