I use the term "dear" in the hopes that by some minute chance that you still care about me the same way I have always cared for you. I use "dear" as my peace treaty; here, take this peace pipe and use it to get high like you did when I was young. Let's break bread together, "do this in remembrance of me," Mom.
I hope that I don't come across too dispassionately. But understand, Mom, that I call it as I see it at the flip of a coin. I won't lie to you and tell you it's tails to make you feel satisfied. You didn't raise my to be that way.
Mom, sit back and let's talk this through. Let's go back to when I started getting older, and I became afraid because I could hear the floors creak when I paced the floor at night. You always said you knew when my feet hit the floor, because it woke you up and seduced you from your warm bed into the cold night air. But Mom, I stayed awake and paced the floor of my bedroom, counting my footsteps more times than you can imagine.
And Mom, as I grew and watched my father dilapidate and your mental state deteriorate like the unfinished walls of that house I realized that things were not safe for me anymore. I watched you roll your weed on metal trays and watched the color of the walls fade into a cringe-worthy yellow shade of disdain. I was watching it fall around me. And everyone knows that "a house divided cannot stand," Mom.
You'd think someone who is as claustrophobic as you claim to be would see that.
I got lost in thought today. You know, it's funny how all of the words on a piece of paper bleed together with a drop of water. Maybe that's our problem. I remember down to the finest detail of every moment that enslaved me in anxiety; but the needle drops and all of the testimony you think can defend you gets mixed together into an ugly beat.
I was just thinking about that time back in January, it was a week before my birthday, and my school called and said you needed to come and pick me up. They informed you that I was suicidal again.
So, you powdered up and slid your mask on and came into the school. You sat in with the principal for a half hour. I can only imagine what you could have said; because I know that you were a parent when it was convenient for you to be. I'm sure you told her how helpless you felt because you just didn't know how to help me.
When we got home, the story shifted. Do you remember that part, Mom?
That was the part where you told me I was a piece of shit; a disappointment. I don't know if you were aware, but disappointment is a term that resonates deeply within me, Mom. It's not something that I'm unfamiliar with. In fact, it was the final nail in the coffin that said, "You will never be good enough for her." Although I know how selectively attentive you are, so you probably don't know how much that all hurt.
Let me tell you: if I hadn't been so numb, it would have hurt like hell. And the bass in my chest knocks me off of my feet and weighs me down on the floor. That's why I call it abuse, Mom, because you never had to lay a hand on me to beat me down.
I hope you can forgive me. Not because I have done anything wrong, but because I couldn't bear to call you on your birthday and you undoubtedly think that I should have.
See, the problem here, Mom, lies in the fact that when it occurred to me that it was your birthday my chest stiffened in the air that had suddenly turned cold and my instantaneous reaction was to cry. My shoulders shook and the hot tears fell, scarring my cheeks and leaving acid stains in my shirt.
I'm not a criminal for wanting to take care of myself. I prayed and asked God to tell you I loved you and then I left it in his hands. It's not my fight to fight anymore. When the acid breaks through the fabric of my clothes and leaves burns on my skin, I cannot fight the battle any longer.
I still love you, Mom. I wish you the best. Which reminds me, did you get drunk this year on your birthday like you do every other year? Did you finally finish the bottle of Jack Daniels that I was sipping from while you neglected me, Mom? You're the reason as to why I know that I like the taste of vodka and whiskey.
It burns going down, but it's a burn that I can tolerate, like I've tolerated the tears that fall from my eyes when I remember little things like you. It's something I've tolerated for far too long, Mom.
I'm sorry. But I'm not.
The Daughter You Left Behind