The Sins of the Father

Being four at the time you went away, I was too young to understand what had happened. I barely have memories of you existing in the outside world. One distinct memory I do have consists of me sitting on the floor, Candyland set up in front of me as I waited for you to get home. I’m not sure if this really happened or if my mind simply filled in the gaps. Trying to remember the finer details of childhood traumas can be difficult when you’ve put so much effort into forgetting.

Another distinct memory that may or may not be real occurred while Mom was driving me home from some forgotten activity. Something must have happened for me to say I wanted to see you. I must have said it in anger considering how she responded.

“You wouldn’t want to spend time with him if you knew what he did.” Of course no one had told me. How does anyone explain to a child the monstrous thing their father had done? Even in her anger, I think she held her tongue, as if she too couldn’t accept what you had done. “He had sex with our twelve-year-old neighbor.” She eventually got to the phrase ‘statutory rape,’ another term that lightens what really happened all those years ago.

I only had a faint idea of what sex was, but I knew it was something grown men didn’t do with children. You raped a child, whatever that meant – and that fact was being weaponized against me for daring to want a father.

But that wasn’t enough. She tacked on more. If you really cared about me, you would have been picking me up from preschool instead of going home early to ‘have sex with’ that girl.

So you didn’t just do something awful completely on your own. No, if I had just done more for you to love me, you wouldn’t have ended up in prison. It was my fault for not being good enough.

Why am I never enough?

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