There are many things that I will never be able to forget about my father. The first is how his breath always smelled faintly like onions. The second is how his contagious laughter always made me happy.
The third and possibly most important is the uncaring look he had as he left our family for the last time.
Through the years I remember these things about him and I feel a mixture of longing and sadness. I long for the nights when I’d lay awake in my room till I knew my mom had gone to bed so I could run out to the living room and watch TV with my father. My mom would always end up waking up and sending my little five-year-old butt to bed, but not before I spent a few minutes eating snacks and watching late night infomercials with my dad.
I long for that one specific day that I begged my dad not to make me go to school. He had already left us a few times and I missed him a lot when he was gone. I wanted to spend the day with him. He took me to McDonald’s and the mall and bought me a little silver dolphin necklace. I didn’t even like dolphins, but I pretended I did because he assumed as much.
Unfortunately, perhaps the thing that I will mostly remember about my father; the thing that the whole lake and cook counties now know him for; the thing that will loom over my family’s lives for at least the next decade is the fact that my father is in prison for sexual assault.
My father has brought more shame, disappointment, and pain to my life than anyone I’ve ever known.
And now my whole community knows it.
My mother sat my brother and me down to talk to us. She said she needed to show us something because if she didn’t we’d just find it eventually. That woman had me read it aloud in front of my brother. Who does that?
But this post isn’t about my grievances with my mother. This is about my Father’s mugshot, splashed across the lake county news page. A reporter was apparently following his trial and reported on the verdict.
I cannot describe to you how this makes me feel. You always see stories about murderers and rapists. Faces of strangers, and names that you don’t recognize. For the first time in my whole life I saw a news report and I recognized the face, and I could recall the name.
It was only after reading this story that I realized my father had been lying to me about his situation. He claimed that he never hurt anyone. Now I find that he pleaded guilty to begin with. I knew that he was lying about being innocent, but part of me hoped he wasn’t. My hopes are now as dead to me as my father is.
One positive thing did come out of this. Later on that night my mom genuinely hugged me and apologized for choosing a man like him to be my father. Her hug felt real. It was heartfelt.
I check the story at least once a day now because there is a comments section. So far there’s only one comment. One that breaks my heart every time I re read it.
“I am so tired of hearing the scumbag blame his behavior on his childhood and a lot of ppl have troubled childhoods and do not commit crimes esp on little children and if he was so worried about the children who relied on him he wouldn’t of done that and i think that the children are better off with out him so he cannot sexually molest them. and i hope his lawyer sleeps good at night defending a child molester! but lets protect the criminal and forget about the victim and how is actions harmed her childhood.”
This person has no idea that her comment rips me to my core. She doesn’t realize that said children of his can read what she’s written. She doesn’t realize that while my father has made many mistakes, he has innocent people in his life that are also paying for it.
I hate her, and I don’t even know her.
I know I shouldnt, but I do.
I still believe to this day that my father shouldn’t have been stuffed into a jail cell for twelve years. He should be getting the help he needs. In twelve years the victim will still feel uneasy, and my father may still be sick. Nothing was solved.
I can’t even begin to describe how much this hurts.