I suppose I don’t even know where to begin with this. I’ve written about you in essays, poems, and stories, and admittedly, the essay was the hardest to write, because I’d rather keep my distance from myself. Fiction allows me to do that, and fiction allows me to change certain things so an unknowing reader would never be any the wiser. But what happened is not fiction, as much as it may feel like it sometimes.
At the time, you were upset with my brother and I that we found the evidence to incriminate you. When confronted, you lied over and over and swore on everything that you, claimed, anyhow, to be precious to you that none of it was true, that the email was a misunderstanding. And we gave you the benefit of the doubt. I remember actually believing you and now I’m not entirely sure why. But one cannot misinterpret texts which you, indeed, left open. But you got angry with me for snooping and “invading in your privacy.” Blake and I did not believe you this time, and I threatened to take the pictures I took of the messages to our father. But we softened–I because I was worried about what actions my father would take against himself, not against you. Blake because he didn’t want the family to fall apart.
But now, nearly two years later, I fantasize about what would have actually happened if I had taken it to my father. It would have been a mess, sure, but what happened regardless was undoubtedly a mess as well. I don’t think you realize how wrong it was of you to request that your children keep such a vile secret from their father, and pretend as if everything was the same. And last July, when it all became unraveled…I don’t even remember what exact emotions I felt. I remember repeatedly calling Blake but he was working. I remember texting him, and being exiled to the garage while you and my father talked for hours. In the days and weeks to come, I could barely function. I spent most of my time furious and upset, often crying. I remember sitting on a bench on Park Avenue and wondering which men walking by you had slept with. I wondered if you had slept with any of my professors, or any faculty at my school, or anyone I might have known. It filled me with disgust that I had to wonder that. I could not function as a normal person.
Blake told me not to tell anyone, but of course I did. I told all four of my closest friends, because why wouldn’t I? I was hurting, and am hurting, and I do not regret doing so. Bennett spent many hours with me as I cried and cried over your actions and your complete disregard for said actions. You played innocent and tried to downplay all the things that kept getting regurgitated, all housed on your computer and phone. I cursed you, called you a whore, said you deserved nothing, and although it has been a year and I know you have all of your meetings and therapists and other “sex-addict” friends to support you, I still stand by what I said. Whether or not sex addiction is a real diagnosis, I honestly do not care. I don’t think it excuses anything. If an alcoholic collides with another car while drunk and kills another person, they are held responsible, so what is the difference when it comes to your so-called addiction?
Speaking of therapy, I suppose I am glad you’ve found a support system, but I think you (and my father) forgot about your children. You roped us in from the beginning but decided not to take care of us like you’ve taken care of yourselves. Every time I saw Dr. Kumetat I would talk about you, my mother, and also my father, and cry, and become angry, and I had no solution for myself. He was right that hanging onto anger is toxic and only hurts me and no one else, but what am I to do when I live with you? And your marriage counselor’s suggestion of me moving out felt juvenile and petty. You took us to one single meeting with a woman who invalidated our feelings and basically told us to get out of your lives when, in fact, we are not the problem, you two are.
I do not know what to think of you as. You will always be my mother because you did, in fact, give birth to me and raise me, but you also committed a series of acts that demean your position. Would a mother really do such things? That is up for debate, I suppose. I am still filled with rage, rage that overwhelms me with just the very notion of your existence. I can’t stand the click of your nails on your laptop or phone (perhaps it reminds me of dirty activity, now that I think about it), or even the mere sight of your face. I hate that we resemble one another physically, because I am nothing like you. I will never be like you. I am so glad I do not want to have children, for many reasons, but one of them being that they will never have to, also, be deceived by their grandmother. You anger me. You anger me so much. And I do not have any idea what to do about it other than leave the room when you appear.
Going back to how I told my friends, I’m sure that would upset you. Don’t worry–I don’t think they had any opinion of you before, anyway (aside from Bennett). I wish I could have told more people. I wish I could have broadcasted it all over the internet, but I am somewhat sane and have somewhat decent judgment so I never did. But it, frankly, pisses me off that you received no punishment for what you did–you did not lose your husband, not even temporarily, your dog, your house, your kids, nothing. You kept it all. And you kept the respect and love of friends, colleagues, and relatives because it was all swept under the rug and kept a secret. You even post photos of bouquets of flowers for hitting “personal milestones” to Facebook–so clever! But god forbid anyone actually know why. Sure, maybe it’s unreasonable to request a widespread wildfire of shame to be bestowed upon you, but I am still angry because absolutely nothing has been done. You can claim to feel bad all you want, and while I’m sure that’s valid, I think you are unaware of how horrible a person you actually are.
I could go on, but there is no point. This is a futile situation. It’s not like I want you dead, or even gone, I just want you to know exactly what you have done and to suffer even a little. To suffer the way I have suffered. The way my father has suffered. I stand by everything I said–I think you deserve nothing, no matter how many times you have apologized and will apologize in the future.