Daddy never came home.
Saturday came and went with no word from him. By the end of the day Saturday I took my spelling test, ripped it to shreds and threw it in the garbage. That’s all it really was now. A piece of garbage and isn’t the what you do with it? Throw it away?
Isn’t that what my dad had done to me? Thrown me away? I must be garbage. My little seven-year-old mind didn’t comprehend all of that at the time, but over time that was my deduction.
About a week after he never came home he called. My mother thrust the phone in my face. Anger flared in her eyes. Did she hate me? Was it my fault Daddy didn’t come home? Maybe if I had been a better daughter he would’ve come home? Maybe I demanded too much time from him, making him study with me every night.
When I talked to Dad on the phone it was brief. He never said he was sorry, or even ask about my test. He told me he wouldn’t be coming home anymore. He found a new place to live but I could come visit him.
I don’t think I said much back to him. I was so confused. What did I do to make him leave us? I wanted to know but didn’t have the courage to ask.
My first visit to his apartment was about a month later. There was a woman there, but she was a lot younger than my mom. She tried to be nice but I could tell she was trying too hard. She cuddled up to my dad and kissed him a lot. Every time she did I wanted to run out of the room.
Dad never snuggled with me when I went to bed, like that week before he left. He would just send me off and I would fall asleep eventually.
My visits were sporadic and each time it seemed like he had a new woman living with him. I wanted to tell them they probably shouldn’t bother to unpack but I never said anything.
I got really good at not saying what was on my mind.
I was learning at a young age to not become attached to anyone. That men used woman and then moved on. This seemed normal to me.
My mother was pretty much ignoring me as well. She had turned to alcohol and laid in bed most days. I got myself up and ready for school.
No one really noticed. Teachers never asked if anything was wrong. Even when I came to school with knots in my hair and wrinkled clothes. I was sure no one really saw me, or maybe no one wanted to see me.
She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13 NIV