It’s Father’s Day, right?

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I woke up today at the crack of noon to call my father and wish him Happy Father’s Day. The call lasted about a good fifteen seconds — an ample amount of time to show my gratitude to him. I’m passed hating him, but in the back of my mind I’ll always think about the things he did and said to my mother and how it affected each of us.

The times where he brought in his outside squabbles into our home. The times where he shouted as loud as he could that he resented being married and having children. The never ending arguments with my mother where he promised to kill her, his children, and the po’po’s who would show up after we dialed 9-1-1. The times where he mocked her for being raped. The times where he subjected us to his blasphemous rants. The times where he would creep into our rooms in the middle of the night to either explain his drunken rages or spew his venom at us.

I always knew exactly when he was ready to start an argument. Holidays, particularly Christmas and Father’s Day. Every few weeks there would be something different to argue over, though I was assured of hearing:

“Fuck you, Di.”

“Imma kill you, Di.”

“Die Bitch.”

“I swear in the name of the Father, Son, Holy Ghost I’m going to kill you.”

“Dial 9-1-1. I’ll shoot at them, too.”

“Fuck all yal.”

And we all knew at one point we needed to get out of bed just incase things were becoming too hostile between our parents.

For many years I wished death upon him. There were even times where I was an inch of way of killing him myself. I resented my mother for keeping us in that environment, though I understand now that she couldn’t take on even greater financial restraints. The fear of being on welfare, in addition to breaking a vow to God was too much to bear for her. I get that now.

My father has done even worse, but you pretty much get the idea. I know there are far worse stories out there, but mine still pretty much sucks.

My father was abused as a child. His father would beat him profusely — even holding up a loaded shotgun to his chest. His mother ran off and married another man. I’m sure he still hates her…and I can understand why. No one ever bothered to help him, so he sunk into the pitfall that is alcoholism.

We don’t talk for long. Simple hello’s, how are you’s, and the like. Recently he told me he wish that he could have gone to school like me and made something out of himself. He also told me that I was his nigga. Not a big fan of that word, but his heart was in the right place. While I’m glad he shared all of that with me, I would much rather talk about other things. For instance, did he, as I did, have nightmares of his father killing his mother or vice versa? Did he ever wake up in the middle of the night just to think about how he could run away and escape the situation he was in? Did he ever stop to realize that he’s repeating the mistakes of his father? Does he know how fucked we all are because of his actions? And the biggie, how can my brother and I break the cycle?

Because of him I don’t ever plan to get married. I would never want to bring that type of pain to people I love. Up until recently I wouldn’t even drink, for fear that I may too become an alcoholic. His brothers are alcoholics. One even became addicted to heroin, eventually dying of AIDS in the early 90s.

I’m still conflicted over how I feel about him. Part of me will always hate him for how he behaved; the other realizes that it’s best to put my feelings of resentment aside so that I won’t become him.

I think my calling him without being instructed to by my mother is a step in the right direction. I’m honestly not sure of how much time he has left, because while he appears to be in tip top shape, the damage he’s done to his body will eventually take its toil. Then again, his father lasted until he was 70, so evil can survive. Whatever happens, I’ll try to make him proud by not following his footsteps. Maybe I’ll even one day muster enough courage to talk to him about all of this.

Happy Father’s Day.

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