•Play the song•
I was standing in the middle of kitchen, making myself a grilled cheese when it hit me.
My dad is dead.
I drop the pan, stumbling, resting my hand on the eye. After a few minutes I yank it back, looking down.
It's really red. Blistered.
Everything feels very...muffled to me right now. Like wrapped in several layers of plastic.
I see Harrison. He's saying something to me. He's trying to look at my hand. I don't feel the burn. He's dead. He's gone. I hated him. But he's gone forever.
I slump down, hearing the kitchen sink going under the layers of plastic. Harry's distorted voice says he's calling his father.
Would you have ever changed? Would you have ever loved me? I–he never will now. He never...he was never going to.
He's gone. He's gone. He's gone.
Oh god. The room gets hotter. I look up at the eye. The pan. I let the cloth by the eye. Oh.
It's on fire.
I sit and watch it. He's gone. He's dead. He's never coming back. I'll never...he'll never do any of the things I wanted. That I needed. He's gone.
I want my daddy.
I blink, feeling the tears clog my throat, and burn my eyes. The fire is getting worse. I should put that out.
Right now though, I can't move. I can only watch. Harrison left. I'm glad.
I look up at him slowly.
"Jessica?! Are you okay?" Benjamin asks, frantically putting out the fire on stove. He looks over me, noticing my hand.
"Oh Honey..." he sighs, helping me stand, and running my hand under the cool water.
"Where did my daddy go," I hear myself say.
He paused looking at me. "Honey..."
"I want my daddy,"
He puts his arms around me. "I know honey. I know. Let it all out."
I sob in his arms. I feel the layers pulling back as my tears spill. I hated him. I wanted him gone. But now that he is, I realize he'll only ever be the father who never loved me.
"I'm sorry Honey," he whispers, kissing my head. "I know."
He's gone and he's never coming back. He was a terrible person and I hated him. But he was my dad. He's was the only one had. Even if he hated me I—
I just want him to love me.
"Come on," he whispers, picking me up. He takes me into the bedroom. He lays me down, pulling me in his arms. "Go on. You can cry in front me. I used to see you cry all the time, remember? I won't judge you."
"He hated me. Why should I feel sad?" I ask.
"Because he was your dad. And we can't help but love our parents sometimes. Especially when they leave."
He rubs my back. "I know, honey. Whatever you feel, it's alright. If you hate him or love him or both. It's all alright. You're gonna be okay, honey."
"I didn't care at first. But now it hurts so much. It hurts so much, Benji. I don't want this pain anymore."
He smiles sadly. "Then let it out. Let it all out sweetheart. That's how you get it to go away. It's alright. Just put your head on my shoulder, and do whatever you need. Cry. Or scream. Or do nothing at all."
I clutch him tighter. He hit me. He hurt me more than anyone in my life. But I always held out the childish Hope, that one day, he would pop up and say: I'm sorry. I love you.
And it would be better.
I sob in Benjamin's arms. Screaming for a dad I never even had. And he just rubs my back, telling me it'll all be okay.
I cry and scream. My eyes are puffed and my throat hurts but eventually I cry myself to sleep. It's nice. I dream. Like when I was younger.
I had this dream all the time. I ran home after school and I walk in, and my dad greets me and my mom makes a sandwich. A grilled cheese.
That's it. That's the dream. Everyone is smiling and happy. No one is screaming. Or crying. Or cowering in fear.
There's no threats of violence, or mood swings with polls. There's no rigid diets, or colors you aren't allowed to wear.
It's just...a home.
I haven't had that dream in a very long time.
When I open my eyes, Benjamin smiles down at me. "Want a sandwich? It's grilled cheese. Your favorite."
I nod, and I eat it. I can't taste it, but it's warm against my lips.
It feels nice.
• • •
I sobbed writing this.