Love may turn to betrayal...

Betrayal may turn to hurt...

Hurt may turn to hate...

Then you hate, and hate, and hate until there's nothing but bitterness...

--

California.

Where he went.

My daddy.

Daddy, my daddy, my daddy who was funny, who was always nice to me—my daddy.

I remember, my daddy, playing with me, holding me...he went to California a lot, but he always came home. I love my daddy.

He was good at fixing things.

But then he left—I don't know why—but he left...left, for California, and he never came back—never, ever, ever. I lived with only my mommy; she said that Daddy had left because they had "divorced"; that he had left, because he separated from Mommy, that they were no longer together. She said he was very lazy, but I can't believe that...he fixed things. He wasn't lazy, I said. He fixed things, and he was very good at it.

"No," she said. "He's very lazy. Whenever we worked, he just sat on a chair while I lifted boxes, and all the time...he complained. One moment—'My back hurts!'—the next moment, 'I'm cold!' He was always complaining, while I worked...."

"Daddy's not lazy," I insisted. "He fixes things. He's really good at it. He's not lazy."

"He's honest," she admitted. "But he's very lazy! He doesn't work."

"No, he's not lazy!" I replied, determined to prove it.

But my mommy didn't reply.

I remember the day my daddy left me. It was—sad. I was sad.

We, all three of us—Daddy, Mommy, and me—went to the airport. Daddy was going to California again—but this time, I had a feeling that I wouldn't see him again. Not in a long time. Daddy was going to leave, and he wasn't going to come back.

That's what I thought.

I was right too.

But I wish I wasn't. I love my daddy, I didn't want my daddy to leave.

He left.

I said, the whole while, "I'm going to go with Daddy!" I didn't care if I would leave mommy...I just wanted Daddy to stay. I didn't think that much about my mommy, really; I only thought about my daddy. I didn't want my daddy to leave. He's my daddy. I love my daddy, and he loves me. Right? It's true—Daddy loves me a lot. If he left, I feared that time, I would miss him.

Daddy's plane came, and he kissed me good-bye. Be good, okay? he smiled, but gravely. My daddy was always somehow serious. Be good, he said. Be good, I'll miss you. I love you.

I love you. That's what he said. And I said it back. I meant it—I love my daddy.

He walked down through the hall. I tried to follow him. I ran after him, ran—wanting my daddy—as he gave his ticket to the lady and left. Daddy, I said. Daddy.

I ran over, wanting to follow him, saw his distancing back as he walked away.

I want my daddy, I had yelled, panicked. But the lady looked down at me, expressionless—maybe even amused, I wasn't sure—and said, "No"; and I got mad. My whole body froze.

No, she had said, and I had yelled back,

"Daddy! I want to go with my daddy!"

But my daddy didn't come back, and my mommy took me away. Daddy, my daddy, he had left, and I wanted him back. I wanted nothing else, and I hated that lady who had kept me from him. No, she had said. No, like I was doing something bad, something wrong. No, no, no. No, I couldn't have my daddy anymore.

Daddy left, and I cried.

Daddy, daddy, daddy. My daddy, who left for California—where everything was warm, where I couldn't follow.

--

"My dad?" I looked up from my book at the question. "Oh, I hate my dad. The bastard doesn't give a fuck about me."

I looked back down, reading the translation of Romance of Three Kingdoms. Interesting book. It's influenced me since earlier years, and I was quite glad to be able to read it—even though I detested this translation. And the grammar. "He is eighteen " It was missing the God-damned period, damn it.

"Anything else?" I asked, reading the part where the character Guan Yu was adopting his son.

"Oh...never mind..." My questioner looked suddenly uncomfortable. "If you don't want to...it's not therapy, so..."

"Nah," I waved a hand, "it's okay. I don't care. I hate my dad, but it's not like I'm going to cry or anything." My hand tightened around the book's edge, as I delve deeper in the bond between Guan Yu and his son. Well, they're close, I mused, coolly. If only my dad was a good a father as Guan Yu.

"Um..."

"I don't really care," I said, without bitterness or anger. It was true, at the moment. If people wanted me to rant about my father—about how I looked to much like the lazy bastard, how he abandoned me for my half-siblings for his second wife—forgetting completely that I was his daughter—living off my mother's kindly lent money...well, I had no more secrets to hold. Who cared? It was done. Move on. I was not going to end up a failure like him, like my mom predicted; I was more than ready to prove her wrong. Who cared? So I looked like him, had countless personality traits that matched his—tsch. Move on. I hated the bastard.

Because my dad doesn't give a fuck, I thought, remembering the day he left for California, how afterward many people marveled at my resemblance to him, how he got a second wife...shit...screw it. That was nine years ago, when he left. I even remembered throwing tantrums in pre-school, missing my dad so much that even my mom had to come in—

Shit. I was a fucking idiot. The bastard wasn't there anymore, good riddance. Screw it, I wasn't sorry.

I was ready to go my own way...leave the guy's shadow behind—

He had never wanted me, anyway. Whatever.

--

That night, I cried over my copy of Romance of Three Kingdoms. The pages were flipped to the page where Guan Yu adopted his son. I cried, cried, remembering the bastard who didn't love me.