An Open Letter to the Father Who Broke My Heart

Painting by Michael Hallinan

Painting by Michael Hallinan

When I was a child, I used to wake up with my pillow wet with tears. I cannot remember my nightmares but I will never forget the feeling of sadness in my young heart. Back then I never really understood anything. I was just a typical little girl who used to play under the rain. I loved picking wildflowers and catching grasshoppers. I would run after the butterflies and wonder why the moon kept on following me. I used to make paper boats and act as if I am a lady pirate who is going to rule the seas. Sometimes I will pretend that I am a mermaid. I also daydreamed that I’m a long lost princess from a far away castle. I loved playing hide and seek and listening to ghost stories. I was a carefree little girl who used to think that the universe is a beautiful place. But that perfect little world was shattered into pieces when one day I realized that I was different. The heartbreaking truth was slowly revealed in my young eyes like a curtain being drawn on stage. Yesterday’s beautiful dream turned into a nightmare when I found out that I have a broken family. My life was never the same again.

I have always enjoyed listening to those bedtime stories like a beggar starved for food. I treasured those tales and wholeheartedly believed in them. They say that a father will always be her daughter’s greatest hero. A king will always protect her princess and will go to war in order to save his family from evil witches. But I came to discover that it was all lie because the sad reality is that, my own father the first man who broke my heart.

For years, I patiently waited for you to come back. When I was little, I used to stare out of my bedroom window every night and begged the stars to guide you home. Day by day, I always end up getting disappointed. That’s when hatred started to blossom within me. I nurtured it until it consumed my entire being. I became a monster.

I have so many things I wanted to tell you. I’ve got thousands of questions I wanted to ask. Why did you abandon me? You should have been there when I uttered my first word and took my first step. You should have been there to teach me how to fly a kite and ride a bike. You should have been there to take pictures and cheer me on during my school play. You should have been there to give me presents on my birthday and to tell me to blow the candle on my cake. You should have been there to scold me when I quarreled with my classmate or when I told a lie. You should have been there to tease me when I wrote a love letter to my crush. You should have been there to threaten the guy who asked me on a date and to hold me as I cry when I had my first heartbreak. You should have been there at the doorstep everyday waiting for me to come home from work. But you were never there and I hated you for that.

Have you ever wished to become a different person with a different life? Yes I have. I want to live a different life even just for a day. I want to know what it would be like to have a father even just for a moment. I want to experience what it would feel like to be someone’s daughter. I know I have carried this hatred in my heart for far too long already. I am sorry for hating you. Perhaps someday I can forgive you too. Only time can tell.

A long time ago, I can remember how happy I was when I caught a firefly for the first time. I carefully held it with my two hands and I never wanted to let it go. But I was also afraid of crushing it. I was scared that it might not be able to breathe and might die because of me. So I freed it. I watched it as it flew away from me. I guess love can sometimes be like that.

I can understand you now. You were brave enough to chase after your own happiness and it was never with us.

Written by Avena Danae