Runaway

It was the day of my 20th birthday. A package came in from my mother. I haven’t seen my mother in a while and my father in an even longer time.

My father wasn’t in my life for most of it. I never really understood why. I always saw pictures of the three of us where we were playing around outside, everyone as happy as can be. So I’ve always had theories that maybe my dad cheated and left his wife and me behind to settle and just become dust of what was his life long ago. Maybe he was secretly an alcoholic and  it was so long ago I don’t remember his moments of spite and anger as he went on with his drunken rage and ire.

In any case I had a cardboard box in front of me from times that I since have left behind. For a second I just let the box linger in hopes that it was just an apparition and that it would fade away. It didn’t so I went and got a knife to open the box. The knife slid through the tape on top of the box with ease and the box opened and released a musty smell of wet and damp paper.

Inside the box laid a stack of letters several of which were tied together with a delicate red ribbon and had a slight yellow stain to them. On top of those letters laid a white clean letter with “To Emily” on the outside of it. Since the white letter was the cleanest and most recent I decided to open it just for a clue of what might lay inside of the other letters within the bow.

The letter went:

Dear Emily,

I’ve been holding on to a secret for too long and with your 20th birthday coming up, I think it is time for me to finally tell you the truth. In this box lays letters from your father that he left you to read before he left. As a kid you always asked me where your father went and I just couldn’t tell you the truth, it hurt too much. Before I knew it you grew in to a young woman before my eyes and I was still telling you the same lie I told you as a young girl. That pain I felt went deep to my core and I felt it every day. I loved your father very much. But after feeling that pain for so long it morphed into anger and confusion as why he could’ve left us to be so alone. Anger that you might of felt at sometimes was directed towards you and I’m sorry for it. If I could go back into the past and change it I would but I can’t. So here I am writing this letter from a point of view of regret and sorrow. I hope you can forgive me someday with the knowledge that I might never forgive myself. I don’t know exactly what these letters from your father may contain as I never had the heart to open them as he left them for you to open. Please enjoy the letters and try not to be angry at me for not giving them to you sooner. I love you.

Sincerely,

Your mother

As I got closer and closer to the end of the letter I became less and less focused on it but rather focused on the many yellow envelopes that now sat unopened in front of me. Confusion, sadness and a little anger swelled up inside me as I cut loose the envelopes from the red ribbon and sprawled them in front of me. Without a whole lot of certainty I took the envelop to the left of me that was on top of the pile and opened it with care. Inside the envelope was a tan shaded letter with a black handwritten message.

My dearest,

Happy 5th birthday! I just want you to know I love you with all my heart and me not being there doesn’t mean I’m not thinking of you. Hopefully someday I can return but this situation is one I do not fully understand yet. A situation of men being men and acting awfully foolhardy. For now just remember that your mama is there for you when you need her and that I’ll be thinking of you. Love you.

 

Sincerely,

Your Dad

The words on the page slowly leaked into my brain as I soaked in every detail. Every word hitting like a bomb shell as I explored into the letters that presumably my father left me on the day he left. Tears began to swell in front of my eyes and even though I hated crying, I had to read more. I took the next letter with less delicacy than before and tore it open.

My beloved daughter,

Happy 10th birthday. If I’m not back yet I fear the worst has happened. Remember that I love you with all my heart dear. I will always be with you in spirit and I’ll never leave your side. You may have days of trouble, hurt and pain but I just want you to know that it’ll be okay. Just keep your head up and stay strong but don’t forget to reach out to people when you need help. I love you so much and I miss you.

 

Sincerely,

Your Dad

What is the worst that he feared happened? That my mom and I left him behind to sink back into the fog of our memories. That he drank himself into oblivion and couldn’t find his way home. How could he carry such love and passion for me but have the gut instinct that he wouldn’t be back to care for me? The letter left me with more questions than answers before so I had to keep reading the envelopes. I took the next envelop and ripped it open to reveal the next message in this evolving mystery.

 

My dear daughter,

Happy 15th birthday. I love you. I thought writing these letters would be easier than it has been so far. But it is hard to think of an appropriate thing to say when I know you are going to be reading this in 10 years from where I am now. Sincerely I hope you don’t hate me for leaving but men have to right the wrongs of other men. I don’t know if your mother has told you anything about me or has just left the letters to describe my untimely disappearance. I just want to let you know I left for you, for your mother, for your kids, for a better tomorrow. I still don’t think you are old enough to understand quite yet but just remember that I stood up for you and everyone we know.

 

Sincerely,

Your Papa

Words shot out of the page like bullets from a machine gun. At first I tried to dodge each bullet but soon the gunfire was too intense that every word exploded on my heart and brain. My entire life seemed like an fabricated lie that waited until this moment to unravel and leave me more confused than I was before. The only thing that seemed real was the last letter that laid before me. Everything else faded into a blur around me as the letter fell directly into the focal point of my attention.  Hesitation is what I felt before opening the last letter. Hesitation that I might be better off not reading the last letter. Hesitation that fueled my entire childhood as I felt abandoned, lost and confused. After a deep breath I picked up the letter and slowly tore open the last letter.

 

 

 

Written by David

Website: http://davidsprojects.us/