As I got older, my friends’ parents began to die. Secretly, I was intensely jealous of their pain, not that I could never express this out loud. My envy seethed just below the surface at the funerals, bemoaning that I’d never experience such a day.
I was raised by a ruthless, horrid father, and as luck could have it, he’s immortal. His cruelty knows no bounds, and that cruelty extends far beyond the confines of our home. He has inflicted pain on more people than he can remember, most of them innocent — not that he cares.
At funerals, my father will openly giggle with delight — that’s the kind of man he is. Although he never physically abused me, the emotional torment he inflicted was just as severe. He’d drunkenly screech things you should never say to children, but in my case, it was a nightly occurrence. My self worth and confidence plummeted and have never recovered; I’m the type of client that even the most idealistic therapists abandon.
The first documented photo of my father was taken in 1901; it’s framed in our living room. His facial hair was much scruffier back then, sporting grizzly mutton chops, as was the style. I’m not exactly sure how old he is, but I know he’s old enough to have slept with Cleopatra — or so he claims. But my father claims a lot of things, and few of them are positive.
In his own words, he’s the single worst calamity the human race has ever encountered. Think of him as the devil on humanity’s shoulder, begging us to follow our worst impulses. War, famine, corruption — he’s claimed to have facilitated it all like an unholy bureaucrat.
In my lifetime, my father was the town drunk and a despised pariah whose name invoked disgust. Once, in elementary school, he showed up during lunch in a bathing robe and nothing else — well, except a half-drunk bottle of whiskey. He staggered back and forth, raving about the many lives he had lived. The administrators called the police, but not a finger was lifted to remove me from his guardianship.
The truth is, I wasn’t particularly well-liked either. I exhibited anti-social behaviors at a young age, and my actions alienated me from children and adults alike. People viewed me as an extension of my father, a rotten apple falling next to the rotted tree.
As I entered my teenage years, I began to seriously doubt my father’s outlandish stories. He seemed less of an immortal demigod and more of a raving drunk lunatic. I could never work up the courage to openly question him, but I’d quietly scoff at his claims.
When I was about sixteen, my father crashed his car, drunker than a freshman pledging for a fraternity, into a light pole. The police found him slumped over the wheel, babbling about how wet Cleopatra’s pussy was for him. He spent almost a week in jail before posting bail for that.
During his absence, I tasted the delectable morsels of freedom for the first time, and I was instantly hooked. All of the doubts I’d harbored bubbled to the surface, and a horrible realization emerged. My father bragged about his ‘many’ lives because he’d squandered the one life he was given. He was a monster and a lying one at that.
The night he returned, I felt an unrelenting weight return with him — and it was unbearable. Locked in my room, I hyperventilated into a plastic bag, panic gripping me.
Watching the plastic rise and fall, eyes glossed over, an unexpected calm overtook me unlike any other I have ever felt. As if I was possessed, I flew out of bed and glided into my father’s room — I can’t say if my feet ever touched the ground.
Sound asleep, snoring like a chainsaw; he didn’t stir as I loomed silently over the bed. My father had kept a buck knife in his bedside drawer since I was a toddler to protect himself from ‘fucking assholes,’ the irony wasn’t lost on me as I used that same knife to slit his throat.
The relief I felt as his blood flowed was nothing but a sandcastle, and soon, it crumbled into the sea. I awoke fresh the next morning to the birds chirping happily; I tweeted back with glee. Readying cleaning supplies, plastic bags, and a hacksaw, I tip-toed into my father’s room to dispose of the evidence. Only, there was no evidence to destroy.
Although the blood had drained from his body, and his corpse seemed lifeless, I knew he was still alive, mocking me with cloudy eyes. It wasn’t that he was breathing. He was not. It wasn’t that his heart was beating. It was not. I just sensed his awful presence, as only a son can.
Since that day, my father has not spoken, has not moved, has not done anything but rot in silent judgment of his failure of a son. I’ve screamed at him until my voice turned hoarse, airing every grievance I’d ever had, but he refuses to acknowledge any of it — his silence more painful than any words could be.
My father is immortal, and I’ve painfully accepted that he’ll be with me until the end. I just wish he would say something — anything.