'Letter to Father'

Charlotte Jones


Dear Father,

      I'm sure it will shock you to hear from one of your children after so long, but I decided to contact you and let you know that I'm very ill (flesh eating bacteria) and may or may not see you again. I really don't know. I did think it was time to try to communicate with you. I'll admit I'm not optimistic I'll ever hear back. You have a way with silence and that's one of my biggest beefs with you.

      I guess I'll start at the beginning. When I was a child, I thought you could do no wrong. I idolized you, thought you could work miracles and were as powerful as the universe. But you had other children and I began to realize that you favored them over me and I have to admit, that made me jealous. You took them fishing, but you never taught me to fish. It always did seem a little weird to me how you relished killing harmless earthworms by impaling them on a hook.

      I remember that time we planned a family garden and you gave each of us kids a little section of land and some seeds. The other kids got the soil that was already tilled, but all I got was a bed of rocks, so of course my seeds didn't grow. The garden hose wouldn't reach that far, so my area didn't even get any water. What were you thinking, to set me up for failure like that?

      Then, you turned around and gave my sister a pearl necklace. When I asked why I didn't get one, you never answered directly but it came back around to me that you mentioned something about casting pearls before swine. Just because I was a bit overweight, there was no reason to be cruel. Don't you see how I might begin to hate you?

      My siblings would ask you where they ought to go to college and you not only told them, you paved the way for them to get into some really good schools, and you knew I had better grades! But you ignored my pleas for help. I even got on my knees! They all said it was because they had a closer relationship with you, but I choose to believe it's because you thought I was smart enough to manage things on my own. But it wasn't very loving of you, even if you continue to claim to love all your children equally. Well, I don't feel very loved, not only when you didn't help me make my way in the world, but you didn't protect me either.

      Why didn't you raise some objections before I married that monster? When you saw me with those scars, you didn't even wince. If fact, you said nothing at all when I came to you seeking guidance. You merely grunted. I know I disappointed you when I got a divorce, but why couldn't you have welcomed me back into the family like you did my prodigal brother? I mean, all I did was make a marriage mistake. He squandered over a million dollars and served prison time for bilking his employees. Yet, you welcomed him back, and blessed him with fame, fortune, a swimming pool in the back yard, a book contract and a stint on Oprah. Is it because he said he was sorry and I would never say that to you? I don't feel like I need to be sorry for something that wasn't my fault.

      I'm not writing now to say I'm sorry either, because I'm not. However, I can't help but wonder if this flesh-eating bacteria thing isn't some plague sent by you to get my attention. Well, you've got it. I probably won't be spending eternity with you in heaven – I'm sure it's too late for that now, but I thought I'd write to let you know that at least for the moment, I'm still alive and kicking. And if you decide to write back, (or if you even exist) why don't you explain how you can allow all those innocent people in Darfur to die?


      Your child