Fiction Drama Sad

I can see it now. All those tell-tale signs that I ignored, every single hint and comment that escaped my understanding. Now that I look back, I should have known what was about to happen. As much as I’d like to lay the full blame on them, I have to own up to my half of the responsibility. On some level I knew there was something wrong with my relationship with my daughters. I was only to happy too let those signs pass me right by and keep forging ahead as if nothing were amiss. However, nothing could have been further from the truth. If only I stopped to think.

Yes, if only. But, the time has passed for all that. Regret has fully set in and my heart is broken, lying in ruins upon the landscape of parenthood. No one left to help me stand up and pick up the pieces of my shattered heart. Just me and the perpetual silence of my memories of happier times. Years ago I could have told you that I was a proud single parent of two of the most adorable daughters to grace this planet. Each one unique in their own right, but both the spitting image of me on both sides of the same coin.

Melissa, the oldest, sullen and moody, but full of promise, and intrigue. She was the most like me, matching my moods and traits pound for pound. Tabitha, the happy-go-lucky side of me that unleashed the adventure seeking soul. When she was born it was as if the sun shone brighter than normal. With Melissa, the bright silvery moon hung in the night sky before retreating from the oncoming day. Tabitha was the first to separate herself, yet I did not realize how tragic that move really was. I adored both of them, would do anything for them. Never favoring one over the other, treating both equally. That was a firm rule I held to. If one got, so did the other. I did not want jealousy to take root between them. I have moved mountains to give them the life I never had growing up and yet they have tossed me aside as if I were a mere piece of trash.

Yet, I still persevere that fortune would turn the tides in my favor and return my daughters to the fold. But today I am longing for better times. Days that were filled with me and my daughters enjoying the weekends doing whatever came to mind, to hearing their laughter and seeing their smiles. Oh, how my heart aches. I recall praying they would grow up to be better than me, to be more successful than I. To make their mark upon the world where I have failed to do so. No, not in my image, but in their own right. I was firm in the fact to support whatever they wanted to make of themselves.

I made sure they knew how much they were loved and how my failed marriage was not their fault, but of the failure to communicate between their mother and I. No matter what animosity existed between my ex and me, I made sure my girls loved their mother and never introduced another woman into their lives to act as a mother figure. After all this, years later, here I sit without the two that mattered to me most in this world.

I raised them the best I could. Really, I did. But I obviously dropped the ball on being a father. As it turns out, I wasn’t as good as I thought I was. The reality of it struck last year with an devastating e-mail from Melissa where she revealed what she truly thought of me. In her own words, in a very crude and disrespectful manner, my oldest berated me, cursed me and accused me of horrendous things that I thought would only happen to the truly despicable of humanity. No, it happened to me. Reading her words brought shock and disbelief, only to be corroborated by Tabitha. She was not as brutal, nor was she gentle. She sided with her sister, but not on all of what I was accused of. I pressed for details, for an explanation that would open my eyes to what was really going on. However, that was not to be. True to her own fashion, Tabitha remained tight-lipped, never revealing her own truth to me.

What was I to do? There I stood, heart broken in more ways than one. Betrayed by the very people I believed would never do such a thing. And yet, the smoldering ruins of my life lay there as evidence of their destruction. In one fell swoop my flesh and blood had ripped me to shreds without even an ounce of shame on their part. The glee in which they expertly wielded the scalpel of annihilation was there for all to see. How could this have happened? Why did it happen? Didn’t I give them a better life than most? Why were they clinging to lies that could never be proven because they simply weren’t true?

Days would pass amid my pain filled stupor. No calls, no texts. Only silence greeted me on a daily basis. I was determined to make sense of it all, to find the culprit that had a hand in turning my daughters against me. To negate the pain in my heart, I put my mind to work. I began tracking down every bit of information I believed could lead me to the truth. I spoke with family members, friends, and even one of Melissa’s former girlfriends to gain an insight into what she may have been thinking that far back. For the most part, I met dead ends down every path I tread.

I tried to plead my case with my girls, hoping there was a shred of humanity left within them as well as some authentic love for their father. Nothing. The landscape of my life was a shattered battlefield torn apart by cluster bombs dropped all around me, rendering my life a barren wasteland. I was never one to give up in a fight. I still had one card left to play. Although Tabitha had gone totally silent on me, blocking me out of her life in every way without a single word, I still sent her text messages every now and then in the hopes that she would at least respond in some small way. With Melissa it was different. I had to bring the fight to her. I took some time off work and went to California where she had moved four years prior in an attempt to at least establish some type of dialogue. How wrong I was.

It was a disaster waiting to happen. As soon as she had opened the door of her apartment, it took her a moment to recognize me because I was clean shave and had closely shaved my head down to stubble. Once she heard my voice, it was all over. She screamed at the top of her lungs, curing me and threatened to call the cops. Once she slammed the door, it confirmed what the back of my mind had been telling me all along. There was no going back. I was staring at a dead end. So, what choice did I have? Not one single thing, only to quietly turn and leave. As if that would be the end of it, I had to suffer further indignity by receiving callous threats and haranguing by my ex-wife ten minutes after I had left Melissa’s apartment building. The mere fact that Cecelia had even bothered to harass me only proved she had a hand in this whole sordid mess. Ever since we broke up she sorely wanted to turn my girls against me. She had always been jealous of the closeness I had with Melissa and Tabitha and never accepted it. Now it seemed she had won. She finally had accomplished what she had set out to do nineteen years ago when we broke up.

I was a mess, there was no denying it. But I did not want anyone to see what I was going through. Only those closest to me knew what had happened and even the not the full truth. I knew there was more to this than met the eye. There was more than just my ex-wife at work trying to destroy me by hitting me where it hurt the most. But I was determined not to let it ruin me. I was sure I would beat those evil forces and win back my daughters, somehow, some way. But in truth, I also knew it was going to be a very long time before I saw any ray of hope in that arena. For now, I must trudge along, lick my wounds and keep strong to my faith that things will get better…they had to…right?

July 02, 2022 00:52

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