You were always so crystal clear, so witty, so on point. I remember being in awe of your incredible knowledge and humour. You always had a book in your bag and a teasing smile on your face. You loved fantasy novels, and The Beatles, and cooking chicken parmesan. Your house smelled like newspapers, pepper, and old leather chairs. You were dynamic. Then, seemingly overnight, everything you were, everything I admired, fell apart.
You were a father, and a great one at that. You were creative and inspiring. You told your children to dream big, laugh often, question everything, and love like wild. You took them everywhere, encouraging them to eat up the world and absorb the knowledge surrounding them. Museums, theatres, concerts, soccer games, and art galleries. The world was wide open with you as their guide. But like everything else about you, that all fell apart too. More like blew up.
There was a break-in. They smashed your windows and they climbed into your home. You were in their way. They beat you up, took your television, and left you. You were hurt but you lived. After that it was like your whole bright outlook was shattered. You’d seen ugliness, cruelty, and fear. Maybe it came at a bad time, when you were already suffering. Maybe you developed post-traumatic stress disorder. Maybe you were looking for an excuse to give up. I’ll never know. But that night marked a shift in who you were. That one desperate, violent person couldn’t be erased from your mind. The world you thought was full of wonder, you now saw as a place of ruin. I still wonder if you really survived the attack. Your body healed physically, but who you were before that night had died.
Time passed and you grew dark. You told your kids life was painful. You told them their dreams were too big, their laughter too loud. You never took them anywhere because you never left the house. When they tried to reach out to you, you pushed them away. You broke their hearts. You slept all day. You missed work. You missed paying rent. You never smiled or joked around. You stopped reading fantasy novels, listening to Penny Lane, and cooking your Italian recipes. Worst of all, you started drinking again. You snuffed out your signature fire. You drowned it until everything you used to be was washed away. It didn’t last a couple of months, it went on like that for years. We tried for so long to find you, but all we found was a shell and a bottle. I just kept asking myself how it all changed in an instant. Why did you disappear? Where did you go?
Your children are gone now. They ran away, took their things, and left you. I think you left them no choice. How long can people fight for you if you won’t fight for yourself? You blamed their mother, you even blamed them, but you never blamed yourself. I know you were traumatized, but you chose to let it consume you long after it should have. You didn’t want to let the darkness go. With the bottle by your side, you hurt them too many times. You might be right that they were poisoned against you, but you were the one who poured the poison.
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