My parents are divorced, and that’s probably all you need to know about me. They split when I was seven, and it kind of fucked me up. I never thought it was all my fault like everyone wants to believe – they both talked to me a lot about it. It was my dad’s fault, and we all know it. My feelings were a lot more complicated, and I guess I still haven’t got it all worked out.
My dad’s an alcoholic. I guess I didn’t really know what that meant when I was seven. He just drank a lot of beer, which is what I thought all dads were supposed to do. Maybe he didn’t know what it meant, either. Either way, what I do remember is that he and mom fought a lot, and she’d scream at him just as much as he did. He never beat her – he never laid a hand on either of us – but I always got scared when they fought, and I’d hide in my room and cry.
I never felt like it was my fault, but I did feel guilty. When dad took a day off work and we hung out, we had such good times that I thought days with dad were what the world was made for. Sometimes it was just a simple trip to the park; sometimes he took me into the city and we’d go to a museum. Not the boring kind, though – he knew the ones that had dinosaur bones and medieval armor and children’s boots from a hundred years ago. Sometimes, on a rainy day, we’d just stay at home all day and play Monopoly and listen to heavy metal.
And my mom…she was just there. She was there when I needed her, and there when I didn’t. Sometimes she was there even though I didn’t want her to be; I still hate cleaning my room. My mom was the one I talked to when Keila tripped me in the hallway and laughed when my stockings split right in the back. She was the one who made a cake for me when Jess didn’t invite me to her birthday. She was the one who screamed down the phone at Rob’s parents because he called me a bitch, even though I didn’t know what it meant.
It wasn’t the last time I’d be called that.
No; I love my parents, and I’m pretty sure they love me too. The reason I felt so guilty about the divorce is that there wasn’t anything I could do. My parents had always told me I could do anything I put my mind to, and here was something I couldn’t do anything about. Nothing. […]
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