Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Letter

It starts,

“I was a pretty poor excuse for a parent.”

He was.

“I can think of some things that I did and I am sure you can think of many more.”

I can.

“I didn’t know what being a good parent involved or how to go about it.”

Must say, walking around naked, pushing porn on your kids and masturbating around them wasn’t the best choice. I think a man with a degree in electrical engineering from Cornell University would understand that.

“And of course the schizophrenia didn’t help any.”

No, it didn’t. Waking up to an apartment with ashtrays turned upside down, peanut butter with cornflakes burned in a frying pan on the stove, and furniture flipped gave my sister an early understanding of a psychotic break. He drove himself into trees, and explained to me how he heard God, or maybe it was the mafia, talking to him while he waited for the bus.

“So all you three children were raised under a handicap.”

Yes. We were. And we are all broken, to some degree. But I will only speak for myself. Shattered. It shattered my hope, my trust and my ability to breathe without being afraid of what was behind me.

If you think I’m leaving out lines, I am not. It was a simple letter. Sent after my mother died to my sister. Was he too afraid of my mother to admit his guilt? What would have happened if my mother could have read this?

I see a wall coming down between my sister and her. I’m heartbroken. My sister deserved the wall to come down. His admission. Finally, I imagine, I dream, my mother’s arms would be open to her. My father’s guilt makes it about him. Not about my mother. She could finally be free and hold my sister.

It was never my mother’s fault.

The letter is cleansing to me. I’m free. I’m not crazy. He has written countless letters to me that I have sent back, unopened. I did not want his filth anymore. I would not set him free.

But this? It gave me wings.

It gave me peace.


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