My Father's Handwriting
A year ago, I was looking through my mother's high school yearbook. In the very back there was a page filled with my father's handwriting, unmistakable. At first, I noticed how my handwriting is like his but with a touch of my mother's floral, swirly letters.
Then I read it. I couldn't believe what I read!
My father had affairs throughout my parents' marriage. The last one he had, the woman insisted he leave us. He did. He caused us four years of pain because he is the kind of person who never looks back, who hurts people and never admits it. He lied to us, he forgot I who I was, he hurt all of us in so many ways.
In reading this 'letter' to my mother, a new story came to light. My dad and mom were high school sweethearts in 1968-69, and got married in '69 when my mother got pregnant. But in 1969, there was a time when my father broke up with my mom to date another girl who wanted to date the captain of the basketball team. So he dumped my mother, the captain of the cheerleading squad and homecoming queen, for this other girl. In his letter to her, he apologizes and there is this one phrase I will never forget: "Sometimes I do things that hurt people without even knowing it. I don't know why I do it, I just do."
And there it was -- that ounce of self-awareness I needed to know about for all those years. He knows what he does. He feels it. That was part of what I needed to forgive him.
Strange that it should come in the form of a yearbook full of people with beehive hairdos and crinoline...
© copyright, 1999, Shelby Rogers