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August 7, 2013
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0.
there is a picture in my living room
of my parents in their twenties, in sunhats,
laughing.

there is a picture of my father holding me
when i was two years old.

there is a picture of my parents
on their wedding day.

there is a picture of me when i was
ten, eleven, twelve.

i’m seventeen now and
i won’t let my mother
take any of the pictures
down.

i need to believe that, at one point,
this house was more than just
slammed doors
and silence.



1.
i was born on the second-to-last day
of april.
i weighed seven pounds, two ounces,
and it was ninety-nine degrees out.

four years before that, in 1992,
the officers who beat rodney king
within an inch of his life
were acquitted.

five years before that, in 1991,
a cyclone in Bangladesh killed
138,000 people and made 10 million
homeless.

ten years before that, in 1986,
a fire in a Los Angeles library
damaged more than 400,000
books.

and on that day, april 29, 1996, i was born
and i’d like to pretend
that it was a good thing.



2.
i only have one memory of
early childhood:

coming home from california,
where my mother and i had been
for a year
with her parents.

i was four, and a man came up to us
at the airport, and he smiled
and he said hello
and i had no idea who he was.



it was my dad.



3.
when i was nine,
my dad started sleeping on the couch
and we were kicked out of four
of my six childhood homes
and i could never figure out
why.

not until i was eleven when i woke up
with policemen in the doorway
that my drunk dad had called
without realizing it.

and i saw the suitcase on his bed.
and i saw the disappointment in their eyes.
and i saw my father’s, bloodshot, avoiding mine
and i felt the tears coming.

i knew then.



4.
my uncle was a drinker, too.
in 1987, he was putting his life back together
with as steady hands as he could
when the police dragged him out of his car,
beat him,
and left him handcuffed,
on the side of the road.

a drunk driver ended him.



5.
alcohol is a ghost
and it haunts my family.



6.
once i fell down a hill
and shredded my knees on gravel.

once i heard my father call his dog
his “little buddy.”
my mother said,
“why can’t katie be your little buddy?”
and he replied, with a laugh,
“well,
she doesn’t live with me.”

once, i was a child.

but i left childhood
with two scars on my knees
and one open wound
that refuses to heal.



7.
my parents love me
but it doesn’t matter.



8.
i love my parents more than anything
and
my father’s still a recovering alcoholic
who doesn’t give a shit about me
and
my mother’s still a hateful, angry woman
who only makes decisions she regrets.

i love my parents
and it doesn’t mean shit.



9.
a few years ago i learned
that daddy issues are supposed to make
for a really good whore.

i have never been more disgusted
to know that it’s sexy
when a parent neglects his child,
when he hurts his child,
when that child is in pain.

you know what?
here’s what daddy issues make:
they make for girls like me,
with absent fathers, with dead fathers,
drunk fathers, arrogant fathers,
mean fathers,
fathers who are fucked-up,
fathers we wished loved us.

daddy issues make for tears, make for hatred.
they make for girls who will spend a lifetime
blaming themselves
and searching
because, when we grew up,
something
was always
missing.



10.
i have my dad’s eyes
and my mother’s eyesight
and my dad’s teeth
and my mother’s chin
and my father’s body type
and my mother’s hair.

i have my dad’s sickness
and a prescription for it.

last year, i told my best friend
to “fuck right the hell off”
after she told me she was cutting herself.

(i have my parents’ selfishness.)

i’ve made my boyfriend cry
three times.

(i have their ability
to let down the people i love.)



11.
i love my parents
and they love me back.
and it has taught me
that love
isn’t always beautiful.
Everything I need to face, everything you need to know, in twelve vignettes.
This is the hardest thing I've ever had to write.
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwitchoftales:
WitchofTales Mar 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
And your story is very meaningful too. Again, thank you for writing such personal things.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
No problem. Thank you for reading. :heart:
Reply
:iconwitchoftales:
WitchofTales Mar 29, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Your writing is really powerful. This is the second time I'm crying. 
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
To tell you the truth, I cry every time I write one of these. I'm relieved to see my readers share the sentiment. 
Reply
:iconrolllinggirl:
This was really brave of you for posting this.. It is beautiful. I can relate to the ability to let people down..
Reply
:iconmourningbirdindy:
I can feel the difficulty in writing this. Like if I tried to write something like this, I'd never post it. Not that it's stiff or awkwardly written, but, you know what I mean. You're so brave for sharing this.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
Thank you. It was hard, but it helped, too. 
Reply
:iconmourningbirdindy:
You're certainly welcome, and yeah, sometimes you just have to get something out of your system, even if it is hard to do, and then afterwards you just feel a lot better. 
Reply
:iconilovemybirdies:
I am writing one of my own for you.
Reply
:iconcolbalt-rain:
Thank you. :blush: I appreciate that. 
Reply
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