As I said on the steps outside our front door, I wondered how the fuck my life had gotten to this point. My mother wanted my dad out of the house… years of lying and cheating had finally reached the tipping point. Part of me felt embarrassed for her… a woman of simple upbringing and education, her family was her life. When I was little I couldn’t understand why she didn’t just pack up, take my sister and I and head somewhere new to start a happy life.
She always gave him another chance, she always thought that maybe he would change. In retrospect, she simply didn’t have anywhere else to go. He was the bread winner, there was no way she could provide for all three of us, let alone herself.
The knife fumbled around my hands… I thought that I had inadvertently cut myself as I was spacing out, hoping to wake out of my daydream and realize I was just imagining all of this insanity. I hadn’t cut myself… there was just a steady stream of tears falling from my face. What the fuck was I going to say to the police? What the fuck am I suppose to do with this almost murder weapon? It’s shocking to see people at their most vulnerable state… when I took the knife out of my mom’s hands, I felt every ounce of pain she had.
Growing up, I hated my dad… he was a man of many masks. He’d put on a mask to go see clients, then he’d put on another when he went to my baseball games. He’d put on a mask when he was talking to my mother, only to change it again when he was lecturing me. He was never himself, he was simply the crowd-pleaser. He wanted everyone to love him, but he never let anyone know him. Most of us wear masks, and the most troubled have too many to count.
It took 26 years, but I finally learned to get rid of my masks.
I used to feel like a fucking nerd because of how many books I had read, I used to be embarrassed that I was still a virgin, I used to be ashamed about my family tree. So I never answered questions in class, I’d lie in college about sleeping with this girl and that girl and I’d tell people my family was a regular goddamn Brady Bunch.
I thought I was cool, and I’m sure a lot of people did too. But in retrospect, I was a douche bag… and I was becoming a lot like my father. I was doing the hip thing, I was living the life that was expected of me, I was bowing the applause of the audience for a wonderful performance.
The trouble with that was I’m not a fucking clown. I wasn’t put on this Earth to stay within the lines, to live life in a way that satisfies what society has decided is popular. I don’t have a red nose and I don’t give a fuck about your balloon animals.
I only feel shame from being fooled when I don’t learn from my mistakes. Maybe that’s what happens when you mature… or at least open your eyes. My non-existent relationship with my father was readily producing valuable lessons that I had let my hate overshadow for so long.
He taught me the exact sort of man I don’t want to be… and he taught me exactly how not to love a woman. I realized that I didn’t care what anyone thought of me, because those that do care knew exactly what they were in for. My dad taught me to live with my heart on my sleeve and no masks in my arsenal.
I may be extremely strange.
I may be overly-emotional.
I may be too curious.
I may be too blunt.
Then again, I may be the perfect fucking amounts.
I love my dad for everything he taught me… I only kick myself for not seeing the silver linings earlier. There’s a reason you meet the people you do in life, even if it’s only for a brief moment. When you see with your soul and allow your heart and brain to work in conjunction with each other, you’ll realize that every moment in life has a purpose.
I’m not sure where he is, or what he’s doing, or if he’s even alive.
But if I ever see him again, he’ll simply be met with a smile and a nod before I continue on with my journey. For, “I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep…”