I still think about that Father’s Day weekend. I still feel the guilt. I still cry.
I was twelve, living in a dirty trailer park with my mother, and seven year old sister. Dad arrived promptly on Friday evening to pick up me and Tara–from his place to ours, the drive was just over an hour. If I remember correctly, Dad had come for us in the (’70 454) Chevelle.
Every other Friday, my mother was a fucking mess; she hated being left alone–feared being left alone. I often worried about her while I was away with Dad. And Tara, she missed her so terribly, she’d cry at night, all nerved up with belly aches; sometimes Dad would let Tara call home before we were sent upstairs to bed.
I was outside when Dad arrived. My mother was inside drunk and weeping. Tara was hiding in our bedroom; I couldn’t leave her with that woman. My decision was a last minute one. I stood on the sidewalk and told my dad I didn’t want to go with him. My eyes prickled, on the verge of tears. “Happy Father’s Day,” I said.
And he drove away.
A few years ago, I apologized to my dad. He kind of chuckled, and said, “It’s okay, Kindra. You were a kid.”
I love my dad.