TLDR: My Dad's a Child Molester

I want to paint a picture of a man

pieced together from my firsthand experience

and the rumors passing down the grapevine

of my dying family tree

 

my father was in high school at a time

where segregation was legally recognized

and not just disguised under the guise of the ghetto

 

I know he played football from his nostalgic ramblings

but I don't know the gory details of this story

 

I just know

that some forty years ago

my father and his bros tied up a girl on the train tracks

and they had their fun with her,

that is,

they had their fun fucking her

 

I know for sure

that this story

made its way through the halls of his high school

that girl was probably seen as whorey

I expect she was made fun of

 

none

of the boys

were charged with anything

 

and after my parent's divorce

my mom hears the story from her new boyfriend

they went to high school together

she holds on to the knowledge but doesn't believe him

 

he was kind of crazy

 

years later it twists from her

through the grapevine

down the branches of my dying family tree

and it stops on me

to choke me with a secret

that wasn't mine to begin with

 

all I know of her is that she's a fellow victim

that is, a victim of him

but now for me she,

is where his story begins

 

my father tells me that when my mother was pregnant,

he knew it

 

he says she was suspicious

but he told her it was true

insists he knew

from the moment I came into existence

that I was there

 

I am their first child together

supposedly,

I was the start of their forever

 

after the truth comes out

my mother tells me

that he would choke her

while they were sleeping together

long after she asked him not to

 

ever since I was young

my father wore the same outfit every day

black pants

black shirt

black shoes

black socks

 

he is a business man

and a simple one at that

he likes old Westerns

and dentistry and stocks

 

I always considered it the best sort of day

when he would share his likes with me

 

last year

I looked down from kissing my boyfriend and saw his feet

his socks

were unsettling to me

 

black and familiar

I recoiled

 

through the grapevine

on my dying family tree

I hear of another

 

a Hawaii cousin

has been touched by him too

she's not pursuing a court case

but her pain can finally be free

she

can finally tell her story

while

I

continue to pore over his

 

it's hard to formulate a picture of my father

because my image of him

is full of contradictions

 

I love him

but I can't

he's a villain

but he's a savior

 

daddy

gives me the same advice every day

he's a pull-yourself-by-your-bootstraps kind of guy

who blames his recent bad luck on bad people

 

save half your money

be careful who you deal with

don't let yourself get taken advantage of

be happy

do what you want now while you can

 

I get bored of it

and I roll my eyes

I mean, I'm not kidding

when I say I hear this lecture every morning

 

my dad

is a man

full of regrets

 

it isn't long

until the grapevine

finds me a hidden section of my family tree

my father's estranged brother

 

and I wonder

was he a bad person

or does my dad just do bad business

 

Uncle Dan is a hoarder

his wife hates my father

but my sister adores her

 

for a while

loyalty kept me away from them

 

loyal

to who?

 

after the divorce

my mother becomes a drunkard

Daddy

does

not

 

there are two buses that leave from the middle school

one will take me back to my house

the other will take me home

I take the second bus whenever I can get away with it

 

mom won't notice for hours

too busy being lost in her second childhood

dad will be from work by then

he'll see me on the couch

watching TV in his favorite spot

 

I feel better just sitting there

I can feel his presence around me

it's a comfort I haven't felt since

 

he'd sigh and take me back to Valley

telling me

I have to stop doing this

that summer

I move in with him

and I finally feel like I'm back where I belong

 

twisting down the grapevine of my dying family tree

I hear about Aunt Sherry

another woman slipping out of the woodwork

another victim that my dad has created

 

I hate it

 

it's January

when my world is ripped apart forever

when I discover

that my father has molested my sister

I'll never be able to lean on him again

I have no parents

 

one final story

 

one cold night after a particularly bad fight with her boyfriend

mom leaves with him

and we call dad to pick us up

he comes as soon as possible

 

I'm holding the giant teddy bear he got me for Valentine's that year

its neck is tearstained

I hug it every night when I'm sad

daddy hugs me instead before ushering me into the car

 

if I hadn't lost my mom forever by then

that fight did it

but he

was

there

 

every time I cry

a part of me still reaches out for my daddy

I don't want it to be this way

 

but as it turns out

my input doesn't really matter

and I probably never really got him anyway

 

but still

I hope I've painted you a picture

because I can never understand

the man

behind my stories

 

maybe you can help me

 

-cut shit that’s not about me

 

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