Dear James Aubrey,

I told myself I wouldn’t write this. Wouldn’t pick at that scar and spill it all out once again, but here I am anyway-spilling it all out.

You would have thought that I would have gotten it out of my system with my Vindication piece…said all I needed to say, but I haven’t.

As I grow older, I find that I am more in control of my feelings…sometimes at least, but maybe it isn’t about growing older, maybe its the mood stabilizer and anti-depressant combination I’m on.

Its 10 a.m….God, I hate mornings, though this morning feels OK to me, so I can’t complain. It’s that day that I dread every year. Actually I dread a few days each year for a multitude of reasons, but this day is all about you.

There’s so much I wish I could say and share with you about my world…But I’m not sure what you would think of me now anyway-maybe you would think I wasn’t making enough money, doing enough to pull myself out of this place I’ve been stuck in…You always seemed to be in control of everything-except that one low spot when you shacked up with some sloppy lady in a trailer park and begin wearing flip flops, which is still such a shock to me-considering all that you were…but we all have our low points, believe me-I’ve had my share…though that particular low point of yours seemed a bit worse than mine, still its all in the past anyway, right?

Here we are-2015, and man, do I wish you were here sometimes. But then again, its probably best that you aren’t. After all, you were born in 1929, or was it 1927? Apparently, you had a habit of lying about your age, so who knows, and by the time I was born, you were old enough to be grandfather…but either way, I do know that you would be much worse for wear now instead of that big happy guy hugging my mom in a picture (at the bottom of this post) taken before I was born. Tell me, with all the things I inherited from you, why didn’t you pass on that fabulous nut-colored skintone of yours, huh?

The last time I saw you, you were in your 60’s…mid to late 60’s. Your were bragging about your new child…you said ‘by the grace of God, I’m a father again’ and at that moment, I hated you so much. After all, this was the first time I had seen you since I was 8 or 9 and there you were, boasting about a new baby. You already had litters of children for fuck’s sake! Why was that particular child such a big deal? I presume it had something to do with feeling like you still ‘had it’, still ‘man enough’ to have a child-no doubt another child in a line, a very long line-of children that you abandoned when it was time for you to ramble on. And why boast to ME? You remember Me, right? I was that particular kid you deserted-the one who did what she could to use a step-dad to fill your shoes, but he was a cruel idiot and nothing like you-that’s what you left me with.

But this isn’t only about my anger, its also about thanking you for pushing me to try harder everyday. After all, in your life you were a restaurant owner, grocery store owner, newspaper reporter, car salesman, strip club owner, (which also meant part-time pimp), as well as a private eye, not to mention your failed campaign for state representative in 1980 (Hey, Kudos for running!). If you could fit all of those things into your busy world of a child-making lady-Killer, then surely I can climb out of bed and make money every day, right?

But there’s a hole-a space that’s always been there-ever since the night our gigantic home caught on fire  and became nothing more than ashes. I was 3, and I remember walking through the smoking rubble the next day looking for something, anything that was mine. the night before, I had watched our big, big house burn and finally collapse. I was wrapped in an itchy green blanket and wishing I could have saved my toys, especially my Baby Chrissie doll. I remember seeing the light of the fire reflected on her face at the top of the stairs as I was pulled out of the front door. All I could think of was the fire ‘getting her’, melting her…..and you weren’t there. Where were you when our house burned down? My mother has told me that you had moved out at that point, but I don’t remember that…I just remember never seeing you again after the divorce until I was 8…and by that point, I had heard so many bad things about you, it made me scared to be alone with you-to ride in your car silently to the zoo, and shopping and visiting forgotten relatives…I wish you knew that although I was shy, and scared of you, I still loved you again, and I loved our time together…I remember that you bought me a tackle box and fishing pole, but instead of trying to catch fish with you, I spent the time flipping over rocks to find snakes that would angrily swim away into the creek…and rather than getting angry at me for scaring the fish away, you just sat there on the creek bank, smiling and whistling…I’m sorry about that-I didn’t realize that all of the noise would scare the fish away.

When I finally saw you again in my late teens, you told me I was a perfect child, never got into any trouble with you-perhaps that’s because you didn’t see the things I did when you weren’t home, like accidentally drowning my puppy in my kiddie pool because I was trying to give it a bath…But the compliment you gave me-calling me the perfect child made me so happy…and it also made me hate you, because why would you walk away from the perfect child?

Your irresponsibility as a father and the chaos between you and my mother really fucked me up…much more than I have ever dared to say to anyone, which says a lot, considering how much I HAVE said about you. I’ve been told more times that I can remember that I should see a therapist so I could work this out, but I doubt it would help…writing helps me more than any therapist could. That’s why I am writing this to you today.

You should have been there-to look after me, to protect me and make me feel loved. Don’t misunderstand me, I know my mother loves me, but I also needed you to love me…and your absence has caused such a great big hole that I’ve tried so hard to fill for so long…trying to find father figures in people that wanted something else from me, which made me loathe them for not being able to fill your shoes, so I would become bitter and angry, feeling rejected somehow, which usually ending in me becoming cruel, because I didn’t want what they were actually offering, so I would purposely hurt, abandon and even completely (very regretfully) wreck lives, all because of my daddy issuesFucking daddy issues? Boy, that’s an understatement-and YOU DID THAT TO ME. And for that, I hate you.

But you made me who I am…I see you every day-your sly ideas and schemes, the cunning way you had about you? You gave me that trait, as well as the awful nose of mine that I hate-it looked good on you, but not so much on me…there’s also your persistence, Your curiosity, and as I mentioned in Vindication, your never-ending quests and that penchant for something new, which has been both a curse and a blessing. You also passed on your taste in what I refer to as ‘Pimp shoes…most people I know can’t appreciate a pair of shiny mock-alligator green shoes, except you and me, and sometimes your grandson…and your love for Mexican food-I could eat Mexican food every day-ALL day…and there’s the music you introduced me to on that one and only time I saw you again…when you took me to a jazz bar and we drank terrible, over-priced champagne together…I think I was 18, and I felt so grown up…so cool, sitting there watching the pianist and the way you snapped your fingers and actually danced in your chair, (something I would have never expected from you), as you ask me what I thought of jazz, and seriously, at that point in my life, my only experience with jazz had been the Pink Panther cartoon theme and some Doors songs…so I fibbed as I gulped down that awful drink and simply mumbled ‘yeah, I like it’

And here I am now… referring to jazz, really GOOD jazz as a heart that beats a contagious beat that pulls me in every time I listen to it. Jazz is a spell that catches you and reminds you that you’re really alive, and your heart takes on the beat of jazz and the world seems vast and open again.

Let’s wrap this up…I’ve said enough. Typing this has caused way too many quiet tears… and now there’s 4 mascara-stained tissues on the desk in front of me because of you.

Happy Father’s Day, you fucking lady-killer, business savvy loveable rogue, brave curious swindler, nasty Pimp, Kind Santa Claus figure, and my warm huggable father with that soft southern drawl.Where are you now, James Aubrey? Can you read this? hear my thoughts? Feel what I feel?

If so, Know that I miss you terribly and I love you so.

Happy Fucking Father’s Day, Mister James Aubrey Thomas.

Your ‘perfect child’,

Luci Alicia Ann

t44father & mom

 

 

Me & My Father

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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