I stole a rose from a wedding yesterday and as I held it in my hand, I remembered the time I got into your car and, in my drunken stupor, grabbed a withering red rose from your dashboard.
Who gave you this? I jealously slammed it back into its spot.
It was from my cousin’s funeral, you explained. Always so goddamn calm, even in that moment.
I don’t remember if I apologized. But even now, years later, I think about that moment and cringe in embarrassment. Years later, holding a rose reminds me of you. Lots of things remind me of you, all the time. Today – Father’s Day – reminds me of you.
The moment I learned you were a father always manages to pop into my head, uninvited. I had hopped onto your bed and boom: The way you did that reminded me of my daughter.
Huh? What? Who?
I was baffled and upset – how do we have a six-year friendship and you have a four-year-old daughter and I’m learning about this now? You asked why I was upset that you had a daughter. I tried to explain myself but I found myself unable to do so, because the truth would make me sound like a stage-five lunatic.
I am certain you will never read this, so I will confess. I am not upset that you have a daughter. I could never, ever be upset at the existence of a beautiful and innocent little soul. I could not be upset that you had a life outside of me, seeing as we weren’t together. I am hurt and sad that she is not mine. It hurt that I was not privy to the love and beauty that it took to create her. It made me sad, because in that moment, I realized I would never be the mother of your children, your wife, or yours.
In the middle of busy and loud Kartabar, when we had known each other for a short while, you looked into my eyes and wondered who your wife would be, what your future would hold, what your children would look like. Half of me shrunk into itself with hesitation: this conversation is far too intense for a first date. The other half knew, unequivocally, who she’d be: me. I had braced myself for the inevitable but that moment, as I sat cross-legged and wild-haired on your king-sized bed, shattered it all, for our relationship was never the same again.
Every rose, every wedding, every blue-eyed and rambunctious little girl remind me of you. Lots of things do, all the time. Mostly, the things I do not have.
Happy Father’s Day. And I really am sorry about the rose.