What if I told you?
What if you knew?
Would it change anything?
Does it make me the sick one for defending him?
What if I told you he was severely abused beginning at the age of four? That his father was a brilliant engineer. A sadistic prick. A tortured, evil man that took his vile confusion out on his son?
What if you knew?
What if I told you that he ran away when he was eight to escape the abuse? That he made it four hours into his imagined new life. Hitchhiked all of the way to Boston. Alone and frightened in a strange city, but feeling somewhat safer? Trying to start over at eight years old. When he was found and returned home he was beaten so severely he stuttered telling me the story. Remembrance of a nightmare rarely revisited.
What if I told you that he is a war Veteran? Vietnam at age 18. Horrific images of murder and patriotism entangled in his already confused, leaking mind? Knowing he had to take lives a prerequisite for the job.
Did he care?
What if you knew he killed an innocent man while there? Stomped him to death with his combat boots and was dishonorably discharged.
What if I told you that when he shared the story with me he showed no remorse? Asked me who anyone was to try to define innocent? Asked me if all the lives lost in that war were not innocent? And that made sense to me somehow. It did. Manipulation or clarity?
Would it matter?
Does me making excuses for him make me as sick as him? Or does it mean I’m better for being able to see the gray? Is it justification or is it conditioning? Is it empathy or is it fear? Is he a sociopath or is he broken?
What if I told you he called my high school one day and had me dismissed early and unexpectedly from class? Told the principal there was a family emergency and he had to pick me up.
What if you knew it was so that he could surprise me by taking me on an unexpected road trip to see Pink Floyd? Just a dad and his daughter, catching the division Bell tour. Nothing less and nothing more.
Wish you were here.
Know you shouldn’t be. Don’t want you to be. You make me sick. I see too much of you in me.
That makes you proud.
When will I ever know if I was born to be victimized and trained to make excuses for the man who gave me life or if I am a decent person, seeking out the patterns that can never justify or explain the pain?