I knew from an early age that our story would never end well but it was a July Saturday that you changed our lives forever.
That was the day you died. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
You’re supposed to be in your teenage years when you get your heart broken for the first time. You’re supposed to run home from school in tears that your relationship is over and your dad is supposed to be the one that threatens to ‘hurt him’ because he’s upset his daughter. You are not supposed to be 10 years old when your heart breaks for the first time and your father is not the one that’s supposed to break it for you; and yet you were. You agreed to come to Disneyworld with mum and I despite the fact that you were no longer married and I was over the moon to think I would have my first family holiday. Five days later, however, you changed your mind and you broke my heart; I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. You called me the following Tuesday, like you always did, but I was still too upset to speak to you; mum told you I didn’t want to talk and you hung up; you never rang back. It was 6 weeks later when I had to call you and apologise for my behaviour and listen to your mother tell me what I had put you through. I never got over it. That was the day I truly began to see you for what you were. Even writing this brings tears to my eyes and anger to my heart to think you could treat your daughter so callously. I wish I hadn’t missed you as much as I did and called you; I doubt you would have ever had the courage to call me back and I would have been free from you for all these years. Hindsight is a cruel mistress.
You are my shameful secret. If I don’t have to speak about you to anyone, I won’t. If you were anyone but my father, I would have walked out of your life when I started to see you for the manipulative and controlling monster you really were. Instead, you pushed everyone away and left me being the only person you had in the world despite the fact I wanted nothing to do with you. We, as a society, are told to look after our parents no matter what; ‘love unconditionally’ as they say but why? You have done nothing to deserve my respect, help or love and so I’m going against everything I’ve ever been taught and I’m walking away because I can’t carry you as my shameful secret any longer; I have no desire or energy to keep something so big, so quiet.