This is the letter I sent to my father four months ago. I gave him my e-mail, my cell, my landline, my address … and I have yet to hear one word from him. I’m not even worth enough to him to waste the cost of a stamp or the seconds it takes to send a “fuck off” e-mail.
i. am. nothing.
(God this hurts. No wonder I either eat my pain or slice it away.)
It’s Laurie. I’m sure you’re shocked to be hearing from me, but I hope you’ll read this all the way through. I’m not asking for money or anything like that; there are just a few things I wanted to say to you while I have the courage.
I had to look up your address to send this to you and I see you’re in TN now. I’ve seen photos (not to mention vague remembrances of being there myself) and it’s really beautiful there – peaceful. I bet you’re a lot happier there. At least I hope you are. Being away from the city would be wonderful. I’m realizing the value of your own space and what “home” really means every day.
I don’t want to rehash the past or who did what, because it isn’t necessary. You warned me once about “the man in the mirror” and you were right. I hate what I see when I look in the mirror every day, and that’s my own fault, just like our estrangement is my fault. But I also want you to know that I’ve always loved you and I always will. You’ll always be my Dad and in my heart, and in my memories of looking for arrowheads and the “talking” car light named Shawn and my feeling so damn proud listening to you play the guitar at the **** Friday nights. Though I’m not a country music fan, I have a full collection of Kenny Rogers (I still love “Coward of the County”). It hurts that you aren’t part of my life and most of the time I try to shove it deep down where I can’t feel it but sometimes that’s impossible. And I want to tell you I’m sorry for whatever I did to make you leave/distrust me and that if I could change things, I would. One thing I’m deeply sorry and ashamed for is the fact I took Mom’s maiden name. I thought if I changed my name I would hurt less, and that I would somehow change and because this awesome new person who didn’t screw up all the time … but it made things hurt even more and became another screw up (one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, of my life). I’m still Laurie ***** and always will be. You need to know that.
I know you can’t stand me now, so this isn’t fair, but the reason I’m writing to you is that I just – please, please, please I need to hear from you that at one point you loved me and were happy to be my father (assuming that’s true – if it’s not, then tell me that). Please. Please. I’ve lost so much of my life, Dad, and I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to find peace. If I could just know at one point I was worth something, maybe it would help. I know I have no right to ask you for anything but I’m asking (obviously more like begging) anyway.
I really, really hope you’ll respond to this, and say whatever you need or want to say, however harsh or hurtful it may be. I mean obviously, I’m hoping that you won’t say I was a mistake, but if that’s how you feel, say it. I just need to know how you feel about me, if you feel anything, and I will never bother you again. I owe you that much. I’m sorry Dad. Whatever I did to cause you to hate me, I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
I love you, Daddy. No matter what. I hope you’ll be happy and enjoy your life. I wonder if you still go to pistol matches?