my silent scream
It started off as any other normal day. You had just turned 18 and you were excited for the road ahead of you. Even though you grew up in a slightly dysfunctional situation because your mother died when you were just a baby you make the most of it. You had a father who raised you and who loved you, no matter what. He was always there for you when you needed him and he picked up the pieces when you were falling apart and you did that a lot.

He was there the night you had to get your stomach pumped for the second time because you drank too much. You drank too much to mask the pain of everything going on in your life. Even though it was a happy one, for the most part, there was always something that you felt was missing. It was something you could never quite put a finger on for whatever reason but you never questioned it. You just filled the void and sadness with something that could take the pain away.

But he was always there by your side, holding your hand and telling you that you were going to be okay. He always told you that you would be something in this world because you were beautiful and talented and you believed him. He was your dad, after all, and he had no reason to lie to you. At least you didn’t think he had any reason to.

When he calls to you and says that he wants to talk, his tone is serious. A lot more serious than you’ve ever seen him before. It seems odd but you go with it because you don’t have any reason not to trust him. Even if he turned you into a little criminal when you were young. It was something that he justified by giving you an opportunity to have nice things. There was no need to question that. You had questioned it and it was met with anger so you never questioned it again. It was easier for you that way.

When he finally sits you down he isn’t sure what to say and you just stay silent. You aren’t sure what’s on his mind and you’re honestly afraid of what might come out of his mouth. You are afraid that this conversation could cause you to drink yourself into a stupor again to make the pain go away. You swallow hard and he finally opens his mouth and reveals something that you never thought you’d hear.

“I’m not your father.” You freeze for a moment because that is a line out of Star Wars and not something your actual dad says to you. It can’t be real and you are going to try like hell to convince yourself that it isn’t real. Why would he lie about being your father? Why would he not tell you this years before? Why did he choose that moment?

Your head is spinning and you feel like you can’t breathe and if you weren’t already sitting you would be now. Instead you grip the table, hard, and just shake your head violently. You don’t cry, though, because he has taught you better than that. And you almost laugh at the absurdity of that. The man that was in front of you was the biggest liar on the face of the earth and he has spent all of your childhood teaching you the way to grow up. It’s a joke, you decide, and you want to run but you still feel so dizzy that you can’t move. You just feel like you’re crawling out of your own skin.

There are so many things you want to say. You want to yell and scream and throw a temper tantrum. You want to tell him what a horrible human being he is. You don’t do any of that. No, you finally have your wits about you and you go to the liquor cabinet and grab a bottle of whiskey and pour yourself a glass filled to the brim. You know he is watching you carefully because he is afraid you will explode at any minute. At this point you want to prove him wrong just to spite him.

You pick up the glass and take a long drink so you finish at least half of it. The burn feels so good right now and you can’t imagine any other feeling in the world that would feel as good as that. Once you feel the burn you walk back over to the couch where he is still sitting, watching your every move, and you calmly sit back down. You look down into the contents of your drink and then you look up. The look on your face isn’t one of anger anymore. It’s of pain.

“Tell me everything,” you calmly say before he goes into the whole backstory. Your real father is his brother who left your mother when he didn’t know she was pregnant. He was in love with your mother but she didn’t love him. When she died he took you in and raised you as his own. He conveniently leaves out the part where he cut the brakes on the car your mother was driving to find your father. You don’t find that out until much later.

When he is done telling his story you aren’t sure if you believe any of this. Why would you? He lied to you your entire life and now he is confessing like he needs to get all of this off his chest? It all seems fake and disingenuous. You listen to the story because he is the still your father, even if he isn’t. He was the man who raised you and you feel that sense of commitment toward him and empathy toward his pain. You’ll never understand why he did what he did, though. It’s something that will eat away at you for the rest of your life.

Once you finally get away you go to your room and plop down on the bed, drink now full again because you are going to need it. You gulp the whole thing down and pretend the burning doesn’t hurt as bad as it does. Then you grab the pillow and scream into it as loud as you can so no one can hear your pain.