Rainbow socks from Aunt Robin for my birthday. Junior year in high school.
Dad, heartbroken and lonely. His wife left him, though she didn’t move out. She betrayed him, but he betrayed her first. He couldn’t help it. He did not know yet how to cherish his most beloved passion – women. He was crude and sometimes cruel, though in his mind he thought was being funny and playful.
Ho. Fro the Ho. Wench.
These are just some of the names he called me. He had no idea. And he didn’t want to know, because he didn’t know how to change.
He needed my acceptance, but all I could offer were my expectations and the pressure that went along with them. His need and mine repelled each other like the polar ends of a magnet – pushing with a force that always left a chasm between us.
It hurt me.
It hurt him.
“Are you happy?” he would ask.
Every. Time. He was worried that he’d ruined me for happiness.
He hadn’t. He didn’t need to worry about that. I was and am happy, most of the time.
Because of him. In spite of him. For him.
It’s what I always longed for him to know. What I did, I did for him. What I read, how I challenged myself to think differently, how the status quo rankled me, how I studied him and every man like him, how I fell for one black sheep after another, how I let him shape my thoughts and my heart to fit even in some small way onto the puzzle piece that was his heart and soul.
Sunflowers. Blue benches. Flowers. Tractors. Sweat and bronze muscles. A face with hard lines and an intensity that overpowered me. Eyes that bore into my soul, frightening and compelling all at once.
Hurting, hurting at every exchange.
Me rejecting him, him rejecting me.
Pain. Ashes. Dust. Impotence. Failure. Fear. Anger. Distance. Rejection.
More alike than we ever knew.
Acceptance. Reconnection. Forgiveness. Appreciation. Admiration. Gratitude. Transformation.
Always beautiful. Always magnificent.
What is the first thing you think of when I say high school? Would you follow that thing to it’s conclusion and see where it leads you?
Written by: Angela Magnotti Andrews
Instructions: Write down one small detail from your memory. Then write down the next thing about it, and the next. See where that one small detail will take you.
Source: Crafting the Personal Essay , by Dinty Moore (Writer’s Digest Books, 2010)