Coward. Coward is all I can think. Back then when I was five, you were a hero. When I was 13, I would go to you first for anything. When I was 18, I had my first heartfelt conversation with you and we cried together. When I was 21, you broke my heart. You didn't break my heart slowly, you allowed it to linger, hanging on a single hinge for a week. You spoke to me of things I shouldn't have had to deal with on my own, you made me lie and hide words. You let me cry for your stupidity and disappointed me every time I'd see a drink in your hand. You probably thought it was OK, felt relieved even, to get those words off your chest and share them with someone close. But with those words you condemned me. You changed your ways with the world. You stopped caring, you yelled in front of people who shouldn't have heard it. You were the person I looked up to, an idol of sorts. You were the safety at home, the protector. Then you slowly became the absentee, the runner. I would stay up late nights to make sure you'd be home, wondering, worrying. I would hear the fights. I felt the pain.
Dad, when did you become such a coward? Who showed you that running away from your family was OK? Who said leaving your daughter with a broken image of a man was OK? Why did you lie to a woman you loved you for 21 years, and shatter her heart by being so weak? Why did you break my mother's heart worse than you broke mine? I don't hate you, Dad, but I think you're a coward. A coward in the way you ran. A coward in the way you couldn't face us. A coward in the way you didn't fight for your children. A coward in the way you left us and didn't come back. A coward in every tear that came out of my mother's eyes for a man who didn't deserve them. A coward in every tear shed by every single one of your children. A coward in the pain I feel when the family doesn't feel whole, and I remember the old days. A coward in watching my ten- and eight-year-old brothers growing up without a dad. A coward in the way you went to another woman, and now you're having another daughter. A coward in the way you take refuge in them, and not in children that lived with you and loved you for 20 years. A coward in the way you said, "I love you" the last day you were a father to me. When I was 21, I saw you only about one more time. When I was 22, I'd lie awake night after night and silently cry for the brokenness of our family, for my mom's pains, and for your absence. Now, at 23 I grow cold in heart to a man I no longer know, a changed man that is not the man that stood beside me for 21 years. Your face is mine, your blood runs in my veins, but my heart is mine and when you left it in pieces, you weren't around to mend it. I never thought you'd break it, not you, a daughter's heart is never meant to be broken by her father. You will always be my father, but you will also be a coward. And I forgave you, but I hope you forgive me. Because you will never hear this from my lips, but I'm sorry for not wanting you in my life anymore.