No, I do not want to talk about how my mom and Paul are not sleeping in the same bed anymore.
I’ve seen how that shit plays out, how it first just starts off with them sleeping in different beds and ends with them breaking up.
I don’t want my mom to be alone.
I don’t want her to be lonely.
I don’t want her to end up like my grandma, either of them.
I don’t want to talk about that.
I want to talk about last night, when I was driving around with Mike, after his party.
I want to talk about when I said to him,
“Tell me about your dad.”
He said that was the worst question I could ask him. He said, “There’s nobody I hate more.”
He told me his dad was a hypocrite: his dad cheated on his mom after preaching that God was all, and this shit didn’t happen when he was young, like I was when my parents divorced.
His older brother found the emails.
He went through their divorce when he was a junior in high school, a fucking full-functioning person.
He told me that he thinks that his dad’s cheating is part of the reason he cheated on his first girlfriend.
He never forgave himself for that.
I could see it in his fucking face.
I went on to tell him that I hated my dad.
I told him my dad is dead, not something I openly tell people.
I told him how old I was and how he died and I laughed about it, that he had five and a half heart attacks and came out dead with pancreatic cancer.
How they didn’t catch that shit because they were too focused on his heart.
How laughing was the only thing left to do.
I didn’t tell him about the funeral.
I didn’t tell him about how Tyler McDonnell bought me 24 boxes of the jawbreakers I had every day at school.
I didn’t tell him about the poem I made up in my head when I was holding his cold, bluish hand.
I didn’t tell him about screaming at my dad while he was in the hospital bed, still not awake from his surgery, the sleep he never woke from, trying to get him to fucking hear me, “THE DOG’S GOING TO BE OKAY, WE’RE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF HER. IT’S OKAY, DAD, SHE’S FINE.”
What I did tell him was something I have never told anyone, something that I’ve always thought but never wrote down or said:
“I’m glad he’s dead.”
Mike didn’t judge, he didn’t say, “No you don’t, Samantha, your dad is your only dad. No one hates their dad, especially not you.”
And once I said it aloud, I felt better.
I felt relieved.
Today, now, at this very second, I feel guilty.
I don’t know if that’s true, I don’t know if I’d rather have him alive or dead, and if I do want him dead, why.
I feel so angry with myself.
What kind of child wants their parent dead?
What good came out of him dying?
What did I learn?
What did my sister learn?
No, you know what, fuck that.
I did learn something, something that Mike made clear last night.
I don’t want to be my dad.
I don’t want to shut people out who are trying to talk to me.
I don’t want to run around on my significant other, when they’re just trying to raise a fucking family with me.
I don’t want to hole up in my apartment all day, working on fantasy football drafts and smoking two packs a day.
I don’t want to quit on my life, just stop working because I’m too depressed to do so.
I don’t want to eat myself into an early grave, clogging my arteries full of shit and salt and refuse to change anything about it.
I don’t want my fucking kids to come visit me five goddamn times in the ICU, wondering what happened this time and how he was alone when this was happening and how if my sister or I were there, maybe he wouldn’t be so scared.
I don’t want to die alone with no one by my side.
So you know what I did after that conversation with Mike?
After we told each other we didn’t want to end up like our dads?
I fucked him.
In his driver’s seat.
While my boyfriend was home, sleeping.
Samantha Ventrella is a literature student, aspiring journalist, and frequent writer.