I’m forever left thinking what kind of life I would be leading if certain events throughout hadn’t happened. The divorce of my parents when I was young left a rather large, if subtle, impact on my life. I was raised without knowing the man I used to call my father, and I moved from place to place; forever drifting from city to city, and repeatedly losing friends in the process. At the time, I was far too young to understand what was happening. All I knew is my parents fought, and life as I knew it was no longer.
Several years down the road, at my aunt’s deathbed, I was reintroduced to my father. It’s a story I’m sure I’ve told a thousand times. He seemed like a fantastic gentleman, willing to give his children anything and everything. He would bring my sister and I on adventures, from the shore to amusement parks, to regular visits to his friends. My outlook on life changed drastically as he showed me what being spoiled felt like. I became rotten, needy, and found myself wanting more than could be provided while I lived with my mother and stepfather.
Shortly after I’d started high school, I made the decision to move in with my father. Things were going amazingly well at first. But the fun and love in the household didn’t last longer than a month. I realized too late that I’d put myself in a dangerous position. I was living in my own personal hell; perhaps to atone for being the rotten child that I had become, perhaps as a test of my mental and emotional endurance. I was starved, I was beaten, and I was isolated from the world around me. My only escape was in my school, and the only person who cared to help me live was a friend who I grew quite fond of.
Without my friend, who we’ll call Rae, I might not be who I am today. Perhaps not even alive. For a year, I put up with the abuse at home, finding peace only in her warm embrace. She nurtured my broken soul, picking up the pieces as they fell to the ground. It came to a point where I couldn’t bear it anymore, but I’d already been reduced to a hopeless wreck; naught but an empty vessel bent on self destruction. Rae pushed me to seek counsel, and when I finally took her advice, I was moved back in with my mother.
For a while, I was fragile. I no longer felt safe in my own home, and I didn’t have anywhere to run. Rae stayed with me through it all, despite the distance between us. But my heart and soul were still weighed down with the grief that was thrust upon me. I found comfort not in the love of others, but in the hatred of myself. I found solace in the cold sting of the blade upon my flesh. I abused my relationships with others, manipulating them to my own will. Before long, I distanced myself from Rae, and grew close to someone else. Despite everything she’d done for me, despite the love she showed and care she’d given, I left her. I cut her out of my life entirely. And I moved across the country for Macintyre.
I promised myself I would become more mature, more stable; and for a time, I found it difficult. Mac helped pull me out of the pit of despair I’d dug myself into. We lived comfortably and happily for a few years. But I grew complacent. I stopped showing gratitude for the help and support she provided. I stopped expressing my emotions the way I did when we first met. I bottled up the sadness and anger that built within me, just as I did when I lived with my father. This led to complications I had never foreseen. She could only take so much; could only put up with the emptiness for so long. And she found love in another, just as I had years before.
I’m in a new place now, as some of you might know. I’m doing well for myself, and I feel I’ve matured enough to know where my boundaries are. But I can’t help but wonder. What would have happened? How different would I be if my parents had never divorced? If I’d never become spoiled by the man I called my father? If I’d never met Macintyre? I can only assume I’d be in a much different position. I wouldn’t be the man I am today. I suppose I can only be glad that my life unfolded in the fashion that it did.