A/N: Please don't be fooled by the title. If you're looking for a happy story to cheer you up, this is not for you. I've been feeling a bit resentful these days, so please excuse the hatred.
I Love You
It's been quite a few years since my family had the privilege of becoming just another divorce-stricken statistic. I was the one to suggest it, in the vain hope that it would make everything better. And yet, not a day goes by without a few tears.
"I love you," he had said to my mother when they got married.
"I love you," he had said to me when I was born.
"I love you," he had said when I took my first baby step.
"I love you," he had said when I lost my first tooth.
"I love you," he had said when I received my first certificate for excellence in math.
"I love you," he had said when he broke his family in two.
I was fooled, all these times. But now I know. I know what he's truly like; I know what he's capable of; I know now that those three words some people wait a lifetime to hear, they mean absolutely nothing to him. Sometimes, when I feel incredibly snarky, I would marvel at how he does it. How does he manage to make those words sound so sincere when he didn't give a damn about the person he was speaking to? How is it that when he says it to you, you just feel the world slipping away and all you hear are those three words and all you see is his handsome face?
And then, on every single occasion, I would pick at my fingers with a pair of tweezers and I'd realize just how convincing he would have to be to fool me so many times. Me – the smaller girl constantly being bullied at school and yet, never to have fallen for the traps of those older boys. When I got to middle school and found out just how cunning I could be, I was terrified. I couldn't figure out why. But now I know. It was because I had his blood.
"You know I'll always love you no matter what," he had said when I finally convinced my mother to file for divorce.
And that was probably the reason why when he said that, I was ready to kick him, punch him, and throw at him all the things I had learned secretly from our neighbor the karate teacher. He was an asshole, and he deserved everything and anything that would hurt him. But then, I looked at my mother, and that ladylike grace she wore like a crown stopped me. To this day, I still haven't figured out how someone like my mother could have fallen for a jerk like my father.
It's been years, but I've still been losing sleep over this. I would quietly open my door, making sure my mother was sound asleep, and I would go outside and sit on the porch for hours, just staring at the stars and asking them how someone as strong as my mother could have ever been a victim.
I can admit without shame that if it weren't for my mother, I'd probably either be on the FBI's most wanted list or locked in a shabby prison cell. Because of her, I've forced myself to switch from violence to verbal assaults. It was not always a good thing though. The more I got good at it, the more my own words hurt myself. I used to cry a lot. I would squeeze myself into a ball and bawl my eyes out until I felt that everything left in me had been drained. But it wouldn't be because I regretted suggesting the divorce; it would only be because I thought my father sucked. I used to think it wasn't fair.
But now I know better. Nothing in life was ever fair.
Yet, still, I felt bad for myself when I had no one to talk to. Sure, there was my mother, but I didn't want to add trouble for her, she was still trying to regain her footing. I didn't want to be the reason for her to slip again.
There were my friends. But not soon after I finally opened my eyes and figured out who my dad was, I lost all of them. They were no longer my friends, and it hurt me because I was the one who pushed them out.
I used to have a best friend. He and I would share everything and we never complained when the other ranted incessantly. I remember, when we were just two kids, trying to figure out what life was, he once said to me, "I don't know what would happen to me if I never got to know my father."
I laughed, it didn't mean anything to me. But now, every time I see him, I think of that sentence and unconsciously, I would reply out loud. "My life would be infinitely better." And that was probably the reason why I couldn't stand seeing him anymore. I was jealous. In these few years, we've drifted apart so much the only thing I still know about him is that once, we loved each other. It still hurt to think that I was the reason our friendship didn't work out.
Sometimes, to ease the pain, I would take out an old photo of my dad and scratch at his face with my fingernails again and again until I could no longer detect any part of him that was handsome. Because of my father, I've lost my best friend, and along with him, all the other friends I've ever had.
Life wasn't fair. I knew as much. I had wounds. I had scars.
Court orders that I have to visit him twice a year. It was always like going to hell. He turned all my scars back into wounds. Then he poured salt on them.
But it's been years, and I can't live on like this. This is my 6th court-ordered visit already. I can't keep on pretending everything is alright when it isn't. I can't keep on saying "I love you," to him even when I didn't mean it. It's turning me into him.
He opens the door. I stare at him. He hasn't changed since I last saw him half a year ago.
He greets me as he usually does, "I love you."
I think of my mother and I. We don't need him; She doesn't need him; I don't need him; Hell, no one needs a jerk like him. He deserves to rot alone in a hole.
I look at him. He was smiling.
I hated him. I always have and I always will. But because of him, I've learned to be strong. I've learned that I can fend on my own.
And that was why with a shrug, I returned his smile, matching his faux politeness.
"Sorry I can't say the same."