The last time that I saw you,
you were being pulled through the front door by police officers.
I was holding my baby sister in
my arms and shielding her face
so she couldn’t see you reach for the beer bottle
sitting on the table in between
the entryway and your rocking chair.
You were being arrested but all you could think about
One last drink.
Not looking at your wife,
not looking at your eight and three-year-old daughters,
but looking at a half-empty beer bottle.
Now, honestly, do you still think of yourself as my dad?
Because if you do, let me ask you this.
Wouldn’t a father be there and support his kids?
Wouldn’t he be there to make sure her boyfriend gets her home
Or help his 10 year old with math homework?
(Although if you were here you'd know she's outstanding at it)
I mean, maybe that’s just me wishing I had a positive father
figure in my life,
but really, wouldn’t a real man try and step up for his kids?
How often have you pulled out your wallet
to show your co-workers
my second grade school pictures,
and my sister’s pre-school portrait?
And when they say,
“Oh, what cute little girls you have,”
what is your reaction?
Do you say, “Actually, these pictures are eight years old.
I haven’t seen my kids since I was being arrested.”
You’d think a father—
someone who’s supposed to care about you—
would be there
to get to know the children
that he took the time to create.
But instead, you’re spending your nights
with a TV dinner and a bottle of Sam Adams.
Obviously my memories with you are jagged scars.
I remember sitting in your lap
and holding your Bud Light
while you changed the TV channel from cartoons to sports.
I remember you throwing over the coffee table
and watching glass shatter on the floor
while yelling at me
because I accidentally spilled apple juice.
I remember crying in pain
because a girl in my tap class
stepped on my fingers,
and when you covered my mouth with your
cigarette stained hand
so my cries were muffled.
I also remember getting my first bruise.
I watched small and medium sized bruises form
on my arms and ribcage.
I asked my mom what they were and
if I was going to be okay.
I remember you arguing and defending your actions,
‘you had a reason to hit me and kick me down a flight of stairs,’
in her face with a bottle of Budweiser in one hand
and the other around her throat.
You didn’t think I’d remember all that, did you?
You thought I would only remember the good things
that are obviously outweighed by the bad.
You didn’t think I would remember things that happened eight years ago.
Allison had the pleasure of only seeing the end of it.
Yes, she grew up without a father a majority of her life,
but at least I had her face covered
from physically seeing you choose alcohol
over your family.
You need to know
that I don’t consider you my dad at all anymore.
I shouldn’t have to be the one to tell you
that you’re the one who messed up.
You should already know that.
I do need to let you know
that I have a boyfriend who loves me more than you ever did,
and understands why I have a problem with alcohol,
and understands why I sometimes flinch when he raises his hand.
is everything to me.
are nothing to me.
You need to stop telling me that if
you came back, that we would be a
“happy family again,”
as if we ever were.
If you came back,
I’d have police ready to drag you
through the front door,
but instead of reaching for a beer bottle,
you’d be reaching for your
seventeen and twelve-year daughters.