Post written by a 17 year old boy who discovered his father was having an affair.
Anything may be betrayed; anyone may be forgiven, but not those who lack the courage of their own greatness.
Life is strange. You know that old thing when you were a child, where you wonder what happens to the world when you close your eyes. Sometimes it feels like you’re the only thing in existence. You wonder how can there be more people like you. People that think different thoughts and feel different things at different times, populating my little world. I wonder sometimes, how things can keep moving so effortlessly while my mind is writhing in the throes of a psychic apocalypse. Sometimes you catch yourself wondering if you’re the only thing that exists. That everything else exists simply because you require it to. That the act of mere observation itself gives life to what would otherwise be nothing more than empty puppets, awaiting command.
Like a hand grenade dropped into a puddle, without a single ripple, the problems that I experience seem inconsequential to my surroundings. Despite how impossible it appears to me. Everyone else looks calm and happy, moving through their own lives, while I quietly and anonymously detonate beneath the surface. Everything I know turning to shrapnel and ash, completely inconsequential to the waters around it. The reality of life couldn’t be further from the truth. I offer only this piece of advice. What you do, will indeed make ripples. Everything can become a tsunami.
One night, my mother found out my dad was cheating on her, and in a flash everything came out between them right there at the dinner table. Caught in the crossfire, I couldn’t help but inject myself into the shouting. I don’t think I’m able to describe how fast things can turn into a nightmare in any way that would make anybody truly understand. Screaming, throwing things, all manner of violence of the mind and body. Poets, authors and actors have tried for years to capture the full range of what it means to feel an emotion, but to this day I don’t think I’ve ever found a word or phrase that can accurately describe the totality of pure pain that matches the tears that my mother shed. It really hurt me to see that.
Family. It’s the one thing that’s supposed to be there when nobody else will; the one group of people that you can always count on. I’m learning very quickly that as long as we rely on other people, regardless of their affiliations, nothing is guaranteed. In that instant I hated him. I absolutely hated him as I berated him for his stupidity and arrogance. In the heat of the moment, I recall something he said that struck me as so profoundly out of touch that I just blacked out. My vision went red, and I couldn’t see anything. I remember lunging forward and the next thing I knew blood was pouring from my father’s lips as he struggled to sit up from the floor. When I came to my senses, I could do little but glare at him. I couldn’t even make a coherent statement. I think my reaction scared my mom, and that only made me feel worse.
Family. It’s the one thing that’s supposed to be there when nobody else will; the one group of people that you can always count on.
Over the months, the inexorable march of time has healed a lot of scars. But the impending divorce hangs overhead like the sword of Damocles, threatening the safety of our stitches. I’ve had nothing but time to think about everything. It’s occupied my mind almost every day. I had to figure it out, in an intellectual sense, because my emotions are no longer to be trusted. I’m afraid I’ve had little success.
I have no idea what was going on through his mind. Maybe it was just his dick that he followed like some kind of divining rod, or maybe he simply wasn’t happy, as some have proposed. I’ve searched my mind and the internet for days, trying to find an answer. Oddly enough, the only solace I found was amongst the emotional wreckage of other cheaters like my father. I began sifting through the detritus of failed marriages, abusive relationships and people who just made mistakes in the muddled years of their youth. I’ve learned a lot. And only after deep meditation and contemplation, can I come to grips with the notion that he made his own choice and I may never understand why. But that doesn’t make the execution intelligent, nor ethical. I don’t have to be an old grizzled man to possess the knowledge that Romeo and Juliet would grow up someday and wind up making cookies for bake sales, and wasting their lives in a cubicle, had the story not ended so violently. But I also know that everyone longs for the days of fantasies and love so passionate that suicide seems like the only way to escape a lonely and tortured existence without your better half. The reality is that we make our own lives. But when we choose to bind ourselves through blood or by choice, our happiness is dependent on that of others whether we like it or not. I am a slave to my father’s emotions, as he is to mine as my mothers were to him.
If love is the most important thing in the world, why would you lie about it? If it’s the currency of the heart, why spend it in the shadows and back alleys? It’s hard to believe that he respects my mother. I find it hard to believe that he respects any of us. And honestly, I find it hard to believe that he respects the woman that he’s now dating. A relationship built on a lie, crafted in deceit, and furnished with the wreckage that his family has become has very little chance of survival I suspect. But that’s the bed that he’s chosen to make. But for me, I won’t suffer a liar who hasn’t the personal integrity to stand up and be honest with his desires. I won’t put up with someone who has no problem hurting my mother in pursuit of what he wants.
Maybe he stayed “for the kids” and that’s why he tried to keep it a secret. But I don’t entirely buy that. My assumption is that he stuck around because it was more convenient, and settled for the lies that he told himself to justify it. What I suspect to be the truth of the matter is that he kept both relationships out of sheer convenience. If he stayed for the financial security, then he was manipulating my mom. If he stayed for the stability and out of fear, then he is a coward. If he stayed because he was wanting to “find the right time”, then he’s an opportunist. The catalyst to the decisions made is irrelevant.
He chose to hide his affair, which implies knowledge aforethought. Like a drunk driver, we choose the consequences of our actions, regardless of what we “intended” to be the outcome. And anybody we kill on the roads of life, whilst intoxicated either on drink or on love, is wholly our responsibility. There are no excuses, there is no absolution. And the only victims are the ones in the headlights.
Despite the present circumstances, he will always be my father, whether we ever speak again or not. I love him. But right now, I just can’t bring myself to like him.