Abortion.

My father left when I was a toddler and my step-father was there, but not present. Mom had me at 20 and kept telling me I’d end up like her if I kept having so many boyfriends (to fill the empty male love hole created by fathers). I had asked her for birth control at 16, but she thought this would give me permission. When I got pregnant at 19 due to a broken condom, (which my mother will never know about) my then boyfriend and I aborted at 3 weeks. I made the right choice. I’m 35 now.

No one believes women when they say they don’t want children.

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Daddy Issues

It was the night you

pulled me out of bed

to go find Mommy.

You brought me into a bar

in my pajamas, the ones with

the matching doll,

the ones I went to the hospital in.

She was there, drinking

with her friends after work,

the same place you met.

It was your day off and you were watching me,

kind of, but you’d been drinking too.

I knew I wasn’t allowed in a bar,

but what upset my heart didn’t matter to you.

Orange air from waist high, laughing then yelling,

the stomachache and chin to chest.

I went with Mom when we left, fearing the fight,

but you beat us home and got the pole

from the back door. I still don’t understand why

you tried to smash in the passenger side window,

my window–

but I’m glad Mom’s pick-up had a bench seat

so I could scramble away from my father

for the first time in my life.

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The One Where We Discuss “The Father”

When I was a child, my daddy was my daddy. I didn’t question why I had a different last name because his last name was long and hard to spell. He was from Iran. I thought I was Iranian too.

When I was about 8–I think that’s the age you make your First Communion–my mother had to turn in a form to my school in which the “Father” line needed a name for an official church document. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have mattered what she put on that line, but she didn’t want to lie but she also didn’t want me to be questioned, so she sat me down to talk. She closed the bedroom door and produced a picture from my baptism where a strange man was holding me. She explained how this man was really my father, but he left when I was 2. She told me how he was mean and he cheated on her while she was pregnant with me and let some other lady’s kid use my unopened baby blanket to sleep on their couch while he fucked her in their bed. How when she took him back, he threw her out of bed after the had sex, saying how he wanted to fuck her one last time. How he stole from my grandparents. How he gave my mom crabs.

I took it all in. Ok. I’m 8. Fine I guess. We’ll deal with these feelings again in my teenage years when my, now step-father I guess, begins to resent me or hate me or something and I start to think about why my real dad left. Because I’m a piece of shit, clearly. Who’d want to be my father? Does he ever think of me? Why would he. I wonder if I do this like him. I wonder if he’s where my inside feelings are coming from. So, like any girl with “daddy issues,” I had a ton of boyfriends and a ton of sex, none of it healthy, while I got yelled at by my mother for patterns repeated yet not understood. Sunrise, sunset.

I always thought about finding him one day or maybe he was looking for me! That wasn’t likely since my grandparents had never moved and he had once lived there. So, at 26 and with very little information on a $10 “Find Anyone” site, I found my paternal grandmother and in minutes, I was on the phone with her…bawling. I’d talk to my father later that day for the first time in my life and meet him a few months later at his home in South Carolina where he lived with most of a family I never knew.

It was the longest week of my life and I just wanted to go home.

All I could think of was how lucky I was.

I gave him a chance. I didn’t go in angry. I tried so hard. It was all I had ever thought about. But when he reeled off my grandparents address from memory or when I was audience to him yelling at his wife in front of the restaurant cashier for no reason, I hardened a bit. A bunch of other little things happened, lies exposed and such, that made me decide that, all abandoning your children aside, I don’t like him as a person.

And oh yeah, I have an older brother he left as well, a junior even! Three or 4 years older than me and lives in their home state of New Jersey. We started talking after the visit with dear ‘ol dad. Then he went to jail and started sending me letters, even asked for my picture, which I thought was weird. When he got out, he said he wanted to move to Florida and asked to move in with me. I said no. He started creeping me out a bit, but the clincher had to be when I was hard up for money and tried a cam site (a total of 3 times) and, a brother I’ve never met, told me how he watched me twice because he was “curious.” I told him that was incredibly inappropriate and he should have known that and how I was just so fucking done with all of them.

9

The Gift I Can Always Count On…

Depression!

I remember Donnie and I would refer to our respective birthdays as Birthday Shit Fest followed by whatever year it was– and it would happen every year–we’d make big plans and get let down. Each following year, the plans would get less excessive to ensure success. Then there was the year Donnie stood me up on my birthday to do drugs with that one girl. I waited by the window all day, like a broken home child waiting on their father to pick them up for the weekend. Like that memory of my Mother’s…

Last year’s birthday sort of involved my estranged father. We had begun talking, slightly, at the end of August last year through some Facebook trickery concocted by his wife, who’s maybe 10 years older than me. So naturally, I expected him to call me on my birthday a few days later, right? Who wouldn’t, after just mentioning on that one call how he always thought of me on my birthday and he absolutely knew when the day was. I said to myself, “If he doesn’t call, I’m done. This is the first time in my life he could tell me ‘happy birthday’.” Even my mother was sure he’d call.

And he didn’t call. I even gave him a few days after. Nothing. So I sent him an email containing such phrases as “are you fucking kidding me?” and “save your bullshit excuses.” He tried to apologize and gave the excuses I expected. Then Laura died and I told him I couldn’t deal with him right now because of such. He has said nothing to me since. I do not expect a call this year. His excuse will be “you said you didn’t want to talk to me.”

Laura dying. Jesus, it’s almost been a year. We weren’t friends or speaking at the time, but when we were, it was intense and for about a decade. She was that best friend to me. You know which one I mean– and one day, she broke up with me. I was “too negative,” which I found out later meant, “you don’t let me do whatever I want and play the victim and do all the drugs and think I’m still adorable.” I didn’t take this well, to say the least.

So it had been about 5 years since we spoke when I was informed by a mutual friend– “She hung herself” — a Facebook text by one too eager to break the news. Full of tact. We all gathered in the snake pit that night to cry and drink and yell. (No one speaks any longer. Lots of drama ensued.)

Then the hurricane came.

I usually get a birthday hurricane, but this one ended up being Hurricane Laura. I had to sleep on the couch that night because my husband had hurt his back preparing for the storm and was lying on the bed sideways, like an asshole. I cried in the dark as the windows rattled right above me. I think I sort of wanted the windows to shatter onto me.

So, my birthday is weird and makes me feel terrible. No one ever remembers it. I spent all my birthdays growing up wondering if my father knew what day it was or if he was thinking of me at all. Everything always goes wrong. No one cares enough about anyone. Everybody leaves. My family wants to go out to dinner, like we do for all birthdays. I’m over it. I’m going to be 35. In another 35 years, I’ll be 70 and hopefully already dead.

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