A father

You made a leather jacket in the middle of summer look cool.
You taught me what it was like to take care of a dog.
You supplied me with an endless amount of games.
You brought home random animals.
You fell for someone else.
At four, you and mom split up.
You gave me two new younger brothers.
You helped me build the best kind of snowmen.
You let me play on you like a jungle gym.
You gave me a book that changed my life.
At seven, mom got remarried.
He helped teach me how to swim.
Taught me how to ride a bike.
He told fun and exciting stories.
Sometimes he would get so angry his voice scared me.
The constant yelling from mom made me want to hide.
Once he left marks when he grabbed me too tightly, even though the reason could be understandable.
At nine I was counting how many times a day he or mom cursed at each other.
At ten, he and mom sat me down on the couch and told me you died.
He promised to be the best father he could be.
He helped me with school.
He defended me when needed.
Once he got angry enough to stab an entire tray of food over and over until all was left were crumbs.
He tried to convince mom to give me more freedom.
He was excited I would be attending his alma matter.
He and mom started yelling again.
I played music in my ears as loud as it would go.
Hiding behind closed doors was something I grew accustomed to.
Slowly, it started to fade a tiny bit.
Days would come where I missed you terribly.
Other days, life seemed pretty okay.
He’s been here to help with school.
Ask how my grades are doing.
Attend my sporting events.
Not show a lot of excitement when I got into college, because college costs money.
At 18, I wished you could have been there to see me graduate.
He helps me with my first car.
He gets on my case about paying for things and sometimes it feels like he forgets that I’m trying my best.
He and mom still fight and treat each other like strangers.
He still slams the door and yells if something happens that he doesn’t want to deal with.
Now, at 20, he has seen a decade more of my life than you have.
But I’m 20 and find myself wondering if the day will come where he is going to leave me too. ​

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