fretting over this is like nailing jello to a tree…

I was looking at this picture of my sister the first time she learned to ride her bike without training wheels, and I noticed in the background is my dad standing there watching her. It’s nice to see that prison or not, alcoholic or not, (then blind) or not, he’s there to see things happening in her life now. It only took him three tries to get it right.

To be completely honest, it doesn’t bother me that he wasn’t in mine or my brothers lives. It’s too late for that now so why dwell on it? I’m not a, “I never had a father” child.  If at all, when I see his name on the caller ID, I think “I wonder whats gone wrong.” But looking at that picture, for some reason.. It’s like seeing a picture of your friends new puppy (insert your friends new whatthefuckever there, shut your mouth, and keep reading, cause puppies are cute) and getting the urge to go out and get a new puppy yourself. Seeing him being in her life like that makes me want to have had him in my life to be there for me like that.

Unfortunately I can’t change that he wasn’t and by now I’m just so numb to it that 99% of the time it wouldn’t matter if he all of a sudden spun around and decided to be there for me for the remaining part of my life.

He did try to kidnap me…. I wonder if that was an attempt at trying to ‘be there for me’… ?

I guess I’m just a 17-year-old kid looking for answers about why he wasn’t really around.

Looking back about what I know about his life from the time I was three to the time I was 10, I can’t help but wonder what the fuck kept him from being our dad. I mean… we were both there. His ex-wife was more than willing to give us to him for a day or a weekend or a week or a month… ect. That certainly wasn’t keeping us from him. It’s not as if I said “no I don’t want to go see you.” When you’re a kid, unless some fucked up, stupid, gay-ass, or reasonable event happens to you causing you to hate the bastard that keeps you from being a bastard, your dad is this mystical person who you want to be around every chance you get. Most of the time at the most ignorant ages, you’re willing to forgive that he drove your entire family away from him because he couldn’t step away from a bottle and assorted drug baggies. Of course, your mother doesn’t talk about that part of your life when you lived with him, and the human mind is built to condition your psyche and protect it from painful, corrupting childhood memories, so you still feel the mental effects later, but you don’t remember why. And if that’s the case then you don’t even think to blame it on super-dad, puff the magic dad, or dad the magnificent. Your mother is too busy drinking away her memories of it anyway – which will never work.

It’s like a song I heard once. It was one of those cry a river, sob sob, take a swig and smoke another cigarette in your dark, moldy hotel room while you’re watching old black and white movies because you’re too weak to strum your guitar, country songs. The man put a shotgun to his head and pulled the trigger and he said “I finally drank away your memory.” Well then the woman he was talking about took over singing and she did the same thing. That’s the only way to drink away your memories. Unless you drive while you’re drunk and crash into a tree, causing you to lose all of your memories.

So what could have kept him away? I don’t see it.

You know, they always tell me I have the Cadwell nose because the Atteberry nose is like a ski ramp. My nose is large and poofy and I can wiggle it like this, *wiggles it*

It wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t Kris’ fault, it wasn’t moms fault, and it wasnt Angelica’s fault. So whose was it? What mighty, powerful force was it that kept our father from us while we were growing up (in front of, whose eyes? Nobody’s)? It’s never made me cry and its never really kept me down to my knowledge, but seeing that picture makes me consider things that don’t normally float into my random trains of thought.

All these years. Where does our perfect imperfection come from? It is only perfect imperfection because the Atteberrys are the best family in the world and they don’t care about the assorted disfunctionalities or imperfections of the members that by one means or another are lucky enough to be considered their family. Anyone who has met the Cadwells knows they certainly aren’t that accepting. Could someone, anyone at all, tell me who’s fucking fault it is?

Please, just explain it all to me because until then I’m going to keep this picture around and continue to let myself wonder.

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~ by Ashlee on August 24, 2004.

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