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I always loved you so much. I looked up to you in every way. I did’t know at the time that many of the ways that you were showing me love were conditional. Were unhealthy and would hurt so much later. It still hurts. I loved you more than anyone. I wanted to be like you. I couldn’t help it. Then I remember when I started to be scared of you. The time in the kitchen when I had pulled all of the paper towels off of the spool and they were strewn all over. You were so mad. You were grinding your teeth and yelling at me. Inches from my face. Foaming at the mouth. Breath smelled like coffee. I was a bad person. I had something wrong with me, otherwise I wouldn’t have done that. You made it clear to me that I had to pay for those paper towels, and also to pay for the gas for the car and time it took him to go to the store to get another roll. That this was a HUGE deal and I needed to know the depth of this offense. That was one of the first memories of my anger really coming through. fuck you. I thought. Instead of saying that, I said. I’m not paying for anything. I saw the look in his eye change. His grimace became a scowl and he smacked me across the face. Hard. One time. He reeled back and stood over me as I grabbed my face and began to wail. I didn’t know that he had that in him really. I was so surprised, I didn’t know what to do, but I ran up to my room, closed the big wooded door and cried. Cried into my pillow. How could he do that to me? What is wrong with him? What is wrong with me? How could he do that? All those thoughts and emotions. So strong. So confusing. He later apologized, but the wounds are still there. The fight instinct heightened. Trust broken. I just wanted out. To get away from this monster and fantasized about being in another family. Another house. Another town. And being loved. Having a father that could nurture and love me. Not the father that blames, shames and bullies. Of course, I didn’t get that new family and unfortunately that was not the only incident. In fact, many more similar incidents followed over the years. I always loved you so much. I trusted you. I thought maybe that was normal. It was not. I now understand how hard that time was for me. So confusing.

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