My dad abandoned me when I was 2 and now wants to meet me. I ended up living in six foster homes and faced a lot of abuse after my mom od’d. So I wrote this to him.
Dear Jack, I am 34 years old. I am not the little boy who cried when you left. I am a man, with a son and daughter of my own. I’ve never spent more than a weekend away from them. I am a father and a damned good one. I don’t need you anymore.
Once, I needed you. When my mom died, I really could have used a dad. I could have used anybody. When she died, there wasn’t even anybody there. No one cared about us. I spent three days in that apartment, eating toast and just waiting for her to wake up. And then they called you. Because you were my dad. You were twenty-three, young, but not so young really. If you had come and gotten me, you would have had a son. I would have loved you forever.
But you didn’t. So I went to a bunch of people who didn’t love me but liked the check they got with me. It didn’t make them treat me well. I have burn marks on my arm and I still can’t spend time in closed dark spaces after being shut in closets. An afternoon is a long time when you can’t count.
I didn’t count on anybody. I used to pray, the way mom did with me when I was little. But after praying for someone to come and rescue me, long enough, hiding under my bed and praying that my foster dad wouldn’t come in and would leave me alone for just one night. Just one night.
I stopped believing in most things. I lived in seven different homes from 4-16. And even the decent ones, I was never family. I didn’t have real birthdays or Christmases. I wasn’t allowed to go in the fridge and just get food when I was hungry. When I was 16 me and my foster dad got in a fight over a ham sandwich. “Boy, what are you doing in our things?”. And so, I left. Sixteen, with nobody to call, and 40 bucks. I just walked away with a backpack. Anything could’ve happened to me.
But I made it. I’m a man now. And I don’t need you. I don’t want you to feel bad. I just want you to know why I can’t be your son. I’m 34 and have never been anyone’s son. I don’t know how. And I just don’t have it in me.
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