There is no disappointment that hurts quite as badly as having absolutely no way of explaining what you're disappointed about
Explaining that although both of your parents were present the day you were born
Neither of them were really there
That in all of your childhood photos 
One parent is missing 
And then continuing to explain that this isn't because of their divorce
But rather because they figured maybe if they weren't in any of the photos
It would hurt a little bit less
When they just weren't there 

You're 17 going on your first real date
And make a joke about your "daddy issues"
Followed up by a sentence explaining your never ending "mommy issues"
And those are both followed up by explaining
That you have a wonderful relationship with both of your parents
You don't have the energy left to try and explain to your next real date how disappointed you were the day you graduated
Because although both parents were present
Neither were really there
And the only lasting photos of you in a cap and gown
Are with a boys hand around your waist
Fingertips pressing too hard for comfort against the fabric
The same way they would press against your thighs later in the evening
Because photographs buried under bruises
Are much less painful
Than photographs with people who don't want to be in them

You will spend the rest of your life knocking on front doors
In unfamiliar places
Telling the owners you grew up here
That you want to revisit your childhood bedroom one last time
When they lead you upstairs and ask which room it was
Your throat will feel as if an orchestra is playing against your vocal chords
When you have to resist from saying "whichever one has walls that won't cry as soon as I step inside"
Run your fingertips over the cracks in the plaster
The bed resting against a wall that's covered in happy memories
Rather than whiskey stains
Pretend for a moment that this is where the photographs were taken
With both parents not only present, but actually in them
And before your mind can connect the truth to this moment
Climb out the bedroom window
The same way you did the day you moved out of the home that you raised yourself in
Both parents present 
But never really home
Because you always swore that you wouldn't leave the same way they did
The day they decided to come home
As someone other than themselves.

This poem is about: 
My family


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