Behind "I Hate You"

March 14, 2010
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My dad has been a sports writer since before I can remember. He was always on the road, coming home on weekends with bags full of presents. Only recently did he choose to stay home with me, my sister and our little brother, so that our mom could pursue her dream of being a nurse. He stopped touring with baseball, basketball, football and hockey teams to stay home with us and write a family column in the local paper about toasters, school plays and baby diapers.

I remember, he always had these amazing stories about touring with and interviewing amazing people......but we never cared. My sister and I would do anything in our power to avoid talking to our "dork dad", and my brother couldn't have cared less about anything even remotely related to sports. Our friends, on the other hand, thought he was the coolest guy around. They could talk to him for hours and ask his advice about anything. We never quite understood why he was so appealing to them.

Anyways, not more than a year ago, a year ago this January actually, it was a morning just like any other. But it was a day that would change our family forever. My sister and I were up in our room, arguing about clothes, as usual. I swear those were MY earrings and MY teal pumps she stole from me Halloween on '07, when she went to the dance as Alice, from Alice in Wonderland. Our brother was getting his usual enjoyment out of it. He kept running in and out of our room, yelling, "Chick fight!"

My mom was downstairs, attempting to make breakfast. But she couldn't. We had no milk. My dad was also downstairs, attempting to fix his portable radio. But he couldn't, either. We had no double A batteries. So, off to the store dad went.

"I hate you."

Those were the last words I ever said to my dad. It was stupid argument about a stupid car and I told him I hated him. How could I have been so stupid? "Hate is a strong word." That's what we've been told since we were in Kindergarten and someone stole "our" puzzle and wouldn't give it back. We'd tell them we hated them. But that was different. In two minutes, the two of you would be friends again. No harm, no foul. But when that person dies.....there's no taking it back. No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you pray, no matter how hard you cry.....they aren't coming back.

Man, it was a stupid party! I go to at least one every week, why was that the one Dad wouldn't let me go to? Why was that the one where I decided to "hate him"? I keep going over that morning in my head, again and again. Could I have mistaken what I said to him? Could I have, possibly, said "I love you", not "I hate you"?

I know it didn't happen like that. And I know that no matter how I regret having said those three little words, it's not going to change what happened that morning. My dad's gone. He's not coming back. He's not going to walk through the door and start ranting about how annoying our neighbors are. He's not going to drive us to school and actually GET OUT OF THE CAR! He's never again going to accidentally go to the grocery store wearing his slippers. Or, as he called them, his "driving moccasins". He never, ugh, he's never going to come to the breakfast table in his pajamas and BLACK socks.

I'm never going to have another heart-to-heart with him, even though I never wanted one. I'm never going to hug him, ever again, even though I couldn't stand it when he did hug me. I'm never going to have a second chance to appreciate him. I'm never going to have a second chance to tell him how much I loved him. Because I did. I do.

The last thing my Dad will ever remember of me, is me having a teenage temper tantrum, because he didn't let me have my way. He's going to remember those three words, I so wish I could take back: "I hate you".

But, even though I regret saying them, Dad, even from the grave, had a way of knowing how we truly felt. We found this in his wastebasket, after he died. It was the last article he ever wrote. Apparently he didn't think it was all that great. But I.....I believe it was his greatest.

"I know that whenever my kids insult me, whether it's a "You're an idiot," "You're a geek," or an "I hate you," an "I love you" isn't far behind. And it's the knowledge that my wife and kids love me that makes it safe for me to wear pajamas and black socks to the breakfast table."

My brother, he said, after reading this, he said that he almost wishes we had insulted him more. To me, this article was more than a wonderful story he wrote about us. To me, it was a release. A release of guilt. Of regret. Of hate, toward myself. To me, it was as if dad was looking down from Heaven and saying, directly to me, "I forgive you."

Dad, if you're listening, I'm sorry. I'm sorry for everything I ever said to insult you. I'm sorry for all the times I lied and went behind your back. I'm sorry for all the times I said I hated you.

I don't. I love you. And thank you. You have no idea how much your article means to me.

I love you. See you soon.


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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

Trulie said...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 3:04 pm
beautifully written
BlackHoleHighAlumni This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 4:09 pm
Thank you very much!! :)
Silent_Act said...
Apr. 8, 2010 at 5:53 pm
So well writen, it almost made me cry! It's so sweet how your wrote the question about forgiveness! Keep writing!
ZadaRox101 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 9, 2010 at 11:03 am
Thanks and I will!
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