My dad and I used to be close. Back when I hadn’t realized that I was gay, I actually looked up to him. He used to be the type of father that made me look forward to having a family of my own. He worked hard and provided for the family. He took us to the arcade and bought us burgers from a fancy restaurant outside of town. I also thought that he was a good friend to his friends because they seemed to have a good time when he was around, and he’d always be chosen as somebody’s godfather. He was an all-around good person… until he wasn’t.
I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but I know for certain that our relationship has turned sour. When I started to grasp a concept of who I was (read: inadvertently feminine and secretly gay), I knew I had to distance myself to avoid getting beat up or worse, kicked out of the house. Distancing myself was hauntingly easy to do. I was in high school, so it was expected that I stay in my room and mope all day. We also had no common interests any more. Whatever it was that I liked, I felt that I would out myself brining them up to him. I preferred books to basketball, foreign languages to action films, writing to gambling. We had nothing to talk about, and soon enough, that felt normal.
He distanced himself, too. Literally. I saw it coming, and I was grateful that he did. He turned into a selfish asshole that hated anyone who’s elicited success, when I myself aspired to be a successful person who admired those whom he hated. That included my grandfather who had to start supporting our family when I was 14. My dad quit his business to pursue a career in music, which punctured a gaping hole in our finances. Even more frustrating, whatever was going out of our finances wasn’t put back into the family; it was used to fund band practice, to buy expensive guitars, and to pay for gas because my dad voluntarily drove home every member of the band. He also began verbally, emotionally, and physically abusing my mother. Sure they’ve had their fair share of fights. What married couple hasn’t? But at its worst, the abuse happened every night, regardless if we had school the next morning. My mom would wake me up with bruises on her arms, but I haven’t even slept yet because their shouting kept me up all night.
It was like he decided that he no longer wanted to be a father, and it really felt that way for the three years that he was gone. It really didn’t bother me. I felt relief. But there would be bad days when my mom would break down and force me to beg him to come back. That would cause me and her to fight, too, because I didn’t want him to come back. We were better off without him. A full week would pass without the sound of a door being slammed shut. My mom was back to being called nothing other than mom or her actual name. I had quiet nights to study for my exams again because there were no more drunk, late-night visitors with noisy guitars. Him leaving was the best thing he had done in a long time, and I savored every moment of it.
Eventually, things fell back into place. He moved back home. They still fight, but my mom learned to defend herself. I learned not to take things personally; whatever they’re fighting about is their business, excepts for the few times I couldn’t help but interject because I just wanted a quiet night. My mom is trying to get him more involved in family affairs, like when she gave him the ticket to my graduation that I wanted to give my grandfather. I tried to explain to her how important my grandfather was during college, how he funded everything and supported me in any way that I needed. I didn’t even mention how my father wasn’t with us half the time I spent in the university, nor how he never even bothered to know how I was doing. I got kicked out in the house for that fiasco while my dad was partying somewhere.
I don’t know if I’m right, but I feel entitled to hate him. I don’t, though. I’m just trying to be as distant as I can, and I don’t really want to waste energy fueling hatred towards a man who will never change. I’m done with him, and I no longer care whether or not he chooses to be a part of my life; however, I would really appreciate it if he chose not to because at the end of every day, I will never be the son he’s always wanted, and he will always be the father I never wanted.