When I think of my head and memories or feelings I see the garage of an old lady that has lived in her house for 50 years and has all her memories and treasures separated into boxes in the garage. That is what I feel like I see when I look into my head. I have spent my entire life dealing with the “bad” and “good” things that have happened to me. They are all put in to a box and set on a shelf. I have some issues that I choose not to deal with. They are left in the boxes, put on the shelf and closed up. It is just the best way for me handle them. Each box is labeled. I know where to look for when it comes to things.

One of my major, biggest, and most difficult boxes belongs to my Father. My father was my hero when I was little. He was the one I spent all of my time with. He was my playmate more than my father. We were always together because my mom worked all the time. I didn’t realize at the time that she had to work to make sure that I had everything I needed and that my father was a little bit irresponsible and so she had to work double. He would make forts with me from the appliance store next door, he would wrestle with me, he would take me to the “Candyman’s” store so I could buy candy. Like I said, he was a play mate. He spanked me a couple times in my life but for the most part didn’t really get on to me. Said he didn’t have the heart to do it. As I got older I was allowed to do more. I was allowed to hang out with my friends more and spend time outside alone more. I was okay. Times were different and I didn’t have to be home until the street lights came on. My mom wouldn’t get home until I was long past asleep.

Then things started to change. I started to realize that my father was not like other fathers. I think that is when I realized how much I could get away with! I pushed the limits, that was for sure. I never saw my parents fight. I think that’s why it was so weird and scary for me to hear them one night when I got up to go to the bathroom. They hit each other. She smacked him, he smacked her back. Then there was crying and it was over. It was over more than I thought. My mom informed me not to long after that, they were getting divorced. She told me it wasn’t me, that I didn’t do it, it had to do with them and they didn’t love each other anymore. She bought me a stuffed elephant at the Columbus Zoo and that is how I found out my world was changing.

My father moved out after that. Then the fighting started. The phone calls of arguing. Of determining if I had to go to his house and when. The first time I stayed with my father at his new place, his new Girlfriend was living there. That was something I wasn’t prepared for. I played my parent’s against each other. I lied, a lot. I was purposely mean. I didn’t like her, she wasn’t going to tell me what to do, and she needed to go away. She was a homewrecker. That is when I didn’t want to go anymore. I started fighting mom to let me stay home. I wanted to be with her. I was for the first time, getting to know my mom and spend time with her and be with her. It was amazing. Until that changed too.

Keith came. I liked him at first. I thought he was nice. We went camping and stuff. I had never done that before. Then mom informed me that we had to move. We were moving away from anything and everything I had ever known, including my little brother whom I adored. I may not have liked my step mom but I loved my brother. It all changed. I didn’t have my family anymore. I didn’t have my friends anymore. I was alone.

I made my mom and Keith’s life a living hell. I was mean, I was rude, I didn’t like them. I lied, I ignored, I didn’t want anything to do with them. I hated them. They ruined my life. They made me go to a new school. Make new friends. I didn’t have cousins, family, nothing. So I made their lives horrible. I fought to go to Ohio as often as possible. I wanted to be with my family. My father didn’t call, didn’t text, nothing. He just stopped giving a shit until the summer would come around. Then he would call finally and ask if I could go. Mom always let me. The last summer I went to Ohio I finally realized why my mom was so worried all the time…..

That summer something bad happened while I was visiting my father. Something that I have never recovered from. As soon as it happened I told my grandma. I don’t think she believed me. She told me not to say those things about my father and if I told someone they might hurt him or he might get in trouble. She told me not to say anything. That I didn’t know what had really happened. I believed her. I believed my Grandma. I never told a soul. I didn’t want to see my mom in trouble, my dad in trouble, my dad or my mom hurt. So I never told anyone. I just never went back.

I never heard from him after that. There were no cards, no letters, no graduation, no prom, not a word. Keith, whom I had treated like shit for most of my life was there. He watched me get ready for Prom, he took pictures with me and told me I looked beautiful. He watched me graduate from highschool and was there cheering me on. He was there. He didn’t have to be, he didn’t have to be there for me, but he was.

Once I was an adult and The Wife and I got together, I talked to my father about what happened to me. About where he was, what he did, why he wasn’t there for me, why he didn’t protect me. He never gave an answer. He never told me why. He just said he was sorry and that was it. It wasn’t enough for me. It wasn’t enough for me. I needed to hear why I needed to hear him say the words. Why wasn’t I good enough to protect or take care of. Why wasn’t I enough to want to be a part of my life. He had no problem raising some other woman’s kids. He was there for them. He watched them go to prom and graduate but not me. Why. Why. Why.

I have spent my entire life trying to find out why it happened. Why he let it happen. Why didn’t he love me enough to be there and protect me and love me. What did I ever do to him. When my father died I lost the chance to really find some answers. When we cleaned out his house, there was nothing about me in it. Nothing. I found my address. That he never used. There were some pics of my on his fridge that his lady friend put there. But that was it. There were things about my sister and my brother, but not me. That killed me.

It was like I didn’t exist. His lady friend said that it was because he couldn’t face me and what he did to me and let happen to me. So I was boxed up and put in her garage. I don’t think anyone knows how that felt. I didn’t exist. I was forgotten and not cared about and ignored. I was nothing. After all I had been through with him, dealt with from him, I was nothing. He didn’t care. I was nothing.

I still have not fully dealt with how I felt. How I feel. I have yet to try and make sense of anything. I just never had answers which is worse. I will never have answers. I will never have the closure that I desire and need. I am not sure what I am going to do with the Father’s box. With Audie’s box. I will probably leave it closed and on the shelf. It will stay there. There is no other place for it. There are no answers, no good feelings, no nothing. Just the nothingness that I felt when I walked out of his house, the nothingness I felt when I said good bye….

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