I wish you told me that wounding my knees was a part of the joy and that my hair already looked perfect in waves, and that bedtime stories weren't lame. I wish you told me these when I was a kid, instead of giving me the cliche ******* — those spilled stories over spilled beers about how you were forced to marry Mom instead of that girl named Beth.
We were caught in a story, the one with that school money thoughtlessly flung on the floor, road trips arguments and drunk-driving over eighty, and nonexistent goodnight kisses and hugs. As a kid, I believed those were the indicators of affection and love. But they're not and had I known that earlier, I wouldn't have stayed with someone who walked all over my mental health with someone who took me on a desk and spit knives in his drunken slurs, with someone who dialed another girl's number while thinking I was asleep, with someone who only dialed my number while he thought his girl was asleep, with someone who faded in the curtains after he saw my razored wrists, with someone who said I was his ***** and called it his idea of love. Had I known it earlier, I wouldn't have trusted men who hurt me just as you had. Had I known it earlier, I wouldn't have stayed with someone who had a ****** up notion of what love was. Had I known it earlier, I wouldn't have stayed with someone who was exactly like you.
Dad, had I known earlier that abuse wasn't supposed to be confused with love, I would have stayed alone.