Judith is still gone. It’s been weeks and she’s still gone. She missed today. Ever since my family moved here, she’s never missed the anniversary of my father’s death before. Now I’ve no one to talk to; no one except a blank white box and a blinking black bar.
Despite concerns of Brett, I went to see my family. Safety in numbers, I suppose. We went out for dinner - Mother, Dean, Todd, and I. I really wish that Dean hadn’t been there. I have nothing against the man, but having him with us seemed like spitting on father’s grave. I know Mom loves him. I know he’s a good man. He treats her and Todd so much better than fucking Ryan ever did. Still, no matter how much better he is, he’ll still never be my father.
Fifteen years, Dad. It’s been fifteen years since you left us.
Mom told me you’d be proud of me. I still feel pain from the lie I’ve told her, and yet I’m so glad she thinks so. She wanted to know how the work on the novel was going. I told her the truth, that I’d lost interest and was working on another story. I haven’t had the heart to tell her I didn’t write Dreams in Darkness, that I lied to get my foot in the door, that Brett’s mad reasoning for hunting me is something so ridiculous. I spared her that. I let her keep thinking I was her accomplished son, following in his father’s footsteps. I know she hopes I can make it on my writing, support myself for the rest of my life on it.
She could barely pay for the dinner. It tore me apart to see the sadness in her eyes as she pulled out her purse. I offered to help, but she wouldn’t have any of it. Even with both of them working, Dean and Ma are living paycheck to paycheck. When all of this ends and life goes back to normal, when I get published, when I finally live up to you, Dad, I hope I have enough money to help Mom. She deserves so much better than all this, after everything Ryan, life, even you, have put her through.
She’s such a strong woman, even after everything that’s happened she keeps going with her chin up. I wish I could fight like she does. I don’t know how she does it.
I went back home as soon as dinner was done. Mom offered to let me stay the night, but I always like to be alone today. I went through old pictures from before you died. I was too young to remember most of them. I still remember my fourth birthday, when you came in dressed up like a clown. I was so scared. That simple, pure childhood fear of clowns, nothing that truly matters, would be so much better than what I live with now. I still remember my fifth birthday, when you missed my party and came home drunk. I still remember how mad Mom was, and I still remember that smell on your breath and that happy smile as you picked me up and told me Happy Birthday before collapsing on the sofa. You were gone a few months later.
I’ve been trying to write since I put the photos away. I’ve hardly gotten anywhere. Too many emotions making their way though me. Normally I'd talk to Judith. Instead, I only have this. Hopefully getting this out helps ease the pain, and lets me get back to my work.