dead letters

He sent Elle a letter a few weeks ago.  In it he asked two questions: Why don’t you send me pictures?  and Why won’t you write to me?  Toward the end of his note, he added his phone number and wrote next to it, You should call me sometime.

I couldn’t help but get angry at him, again.  No! I wanted to tell her, He should call you! He should not strap this responsibility on your shoulders and make you lug it around like it’s your guilt and regret.  That weight should be carried by him. That is HIS guilt and regret.

Sadly, he’s too self-absorbed to see that.   He is too emotionally conceited to gather the reasons why she, on her own accord, decided to have no contact with him.  After so many years of court-ordered visits and unhappy weekends with a man she barely knows, she is comforted by the fact that our most recent court battle favored her inner well-being and she no longer has to struggle with that feeling.  His false pride, however, still clouds his eyes and makes them unable to find what is so perfectly obtainable, if he could just for once try to see what she sees in him. 

Nothing.

It gets harder and harder to answer her questions, even though the questions are coming less and less frequently.  My standard reply is Because he’s not well.  That pretty much answers any question she asks me: Why doesn’t Daddy call me? Or Why doesn’t Daddy have a job?  or How come you guys can’t be friends?

That one is the hardest. 

At the end of his note, he writes to Elle, In case you don’t get this letter, I’ve made a copy to give you at a later time.  He truly believes that I keep the letters from her.  It’s the second such accusation he has thrown at me in as many letters in as many years.  Yes, two letters in two years.  She doesn’t understand why he would think that I don’t give her the letters and my answer, as always, is Because he’s not well. And he wonders why she doesn’t communicate with him.

I was forced to make a critical decision:  Do I override my child’s wishes to not communicate with him or do I explain to her how important it is that she responds to this?  I asked her what she wanted to do and received an emphatic nononono! headshake. In my mind, I knew she had to.  I had to let him know, through her, that I have never hidden anything from her, except the true reasons behind why he and I are not friends and never will be. 

Elle sent him a Father’s Day card in 2009 and he never acknowledged it.  She sent him a school picture from the beginning of her 2nd grade year and he never acknowledged it. 

He’s not worth a first class stamp.  I had her send him a postcard instead.

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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