If Tomorrow You Arrived out of Nowhere This Is What I Would Say To You:

HOLY FUCKING SHIT.

Dad?

….

DAD?!

What the—fuck you I missed you I love you I love you.

I love you.

So wait.

What’s the deal.

When are you going?

How long can you be here?

Stay.

Wait, never mind… I don’t know how this works but I won’t waste a second of it. I’m gonna take advantage of this moment, while you’re here. Until you disappear or something. Will you at least give me a warning?

Dad.

Dad.

Shit, where to start. Do I give you an update or something? Were you there? Dammit Dad, did you make some contract with God or whoever and you’re not allowed to talk or something?! Just stand there looking just as I remember you? You think this is funny!?! Well now I can’t stop smiling either, this is fucking weird. It’s hard to see through these damn tears, you could have given me a warning. Will you see the other two? Are you only allowed to visit one person?

Fuck, alright, an update then. I mean, why not. So I survived junior high— I’m sure you hung around a bit to see that. Everything after you left is blurry, I think I blacked out the last part somehow.  Won’t lie… high school, as you saw, was a mess. Daddy, I was so dumb and I pretended everything was okay. I did everything I was told, Dad. I got bullied and kept it secret. Was it that no one asked me questions, or that I enjoyed hiding it more?  I was so naïve, Daddy, I hope you looked away sometimes.

And so I packed up my broken pieces and ran for Santa Cruz, I’m sure you saw. Home was simply too much without you, you have no idea. But then I got really sick —like the deep kind—and I won’t lie, I’ve always blamed you for it. There were times when I couldn’t leave the room. There were times when I was so sick I screamed for you and didn’t care who heard. Do you know how bad it has to be, to not care if anyone hears you making noises like that? There were time, Dad, where I was ripping so much on the inside it escaped my mouth and made the ugliest noises. Maybe you did hear, because I know my roommates did. I made myself so alone up there, just me and the hole you left. It grew to be all I knew, and I hid there for a long, long time surrounded by people.

I’m sorry I keep saying “Dad”, Dad, it’s just that I haven’t said it in a really long time and I didn’t know I missed saying it until I had a reason to again. It’s like I can’t stop. Wow, I’d never realized how warm it felt. I wish I could say “Dad” all the time. I hope you don’t leave, I don’t want to stop using it all over again. It’s really good to see you, Dad.

Anyway, I don’t know how much time left we have. But it’s my birthday in 4 days, maybe that’s why you managed to make it here? Maybe you made a deal somehow to see your eldest daughter before she turned 22? I see that look in your eyes, stop making Taylor Swift references. Stop making me laugh, I’m trying to be serious.

Annika, Larissa, and I have talked a lot about birthdays. We hate them you know, in a weird way. We all have this weird Peter Pan complex thing, where growing up is the worst thing we could imagine. For me I guess it means leaving you a little father behind. 22 means I’m not 13. Not being 13 means life went on. And life going on means….

It means you aren’t coming back. It means I’m actually just sitting here at a computer asking myself what it would be like if you were to come back on the anniversary of the day you died. Birthdays mean reality, Dad.

They mean one more boyfriend you’ll never verify is a good man for me. How am I gonna even get married, Dad? I don’t think I’ll ever get married, Dad. I think I’ll always run around getting almost-married, Dad.

They mean one more friend you haven’t met. I touch an emptiness on each new person I meet, no matter how much I like them. I can’t fight the feeling that no one from here on out in my life will ever fully get me if they don’t know you. i think I’m always gonna run around having half-friends, Dad.

Birthdays mean one more year of aching. I hate that feeling.

Birthdays mean one more year of healing. I hate that feeling more.

One more year of wondering if you’d think this writing thing was bullshit.

One more year of Nothing and Everything, battling it out when I do normal things and when people think I’m surely just thinking normal thoughts. It’s chaos, a Choas of Eight Years. It’s war and its a game– how balanced can I look when I’m actually Nothing stuffed with Every Feeling? 

You have to go? I did all the talking, fuck. And I didn’t mean to rant, to make you feel bad. In fact, yeah, I take it all back– none of it was that bad and  I’m a better person for it or something. I’m glad you left, I’m all better or something….

Please come back.

Dad, before you go—

I’ll be okay, right? Can you go visit Annika and Larissa at least, really quick? They need you as much as I do, even though they don’t show it. And Mommy, please see Mommy. Mommy’s mending slowly, even though she doesn’t show it. Please make them laugh like they used to again. I’ll be okay, swear.

I promise.

….

Dad?

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