I didn't leave because I stopped loving you. I left because I had to. I left regardless of all the reasons begging me to stay. You, in my bedroom, in the middle of the night, kissing my forehead, listening to my breathing, making sure I still inhabited the land of the living. You, on the roof, amidst the little trees, teaching me wrong from right, that the world can be cruel but that there is still hope, even when the mean men turn up to chop down the big tree, the one that used to sit, slouching, in front of our house. That there is always love, yours for me, mine for you. That I should do what makes me happy, even if that meant this, us. It's been too long.
No, I didn't leave because I stopped loving you. I left in spite of that. Now I'm not sure if that still gives me the right to call myself a good person. I'd like to think that it does. I'd like to think that my selfishness, for the lack of a better word, doesn't take anything away from what you mean to me. You, being the first man I ever loved, with an ability to express interest in almost anything; the flowers, the sky, the stars, Houdini; stroking my hair when I couldn't sleep because I was scared of life, of what happens when it's over. "We don't know", you said. "We're not supposed to know." and I believed you. I'll always do. If you wake you tomorrow telling me that the sea is yellow and the sun is blue, I'll believe you. I'm a scientist, or some version of one, so I should probably check it out for myself before I do, independently, for three times. But I won't, because it's you who said it, so I'll believe you.
Like when you told me that Santa is real and I stood there, on Christmas morning, oblivious to the fact that Santa's handwriting is nearly identical to yours. Only now, over fifteen years later, do I realise what a cherishable moment that was. I know we have less of those moments now, and I'm the one to blame, but daddy, I grew up. I wanted to see the world for myself. So I came to this city; this city where the noise is inversely proportional to kindness, where I am me, and you, and everyone else. Three years in and I still feel so lost sometimes; happy; lost. But then I remember where I came from, who you are, and who I've become because of you — the (more or less) adult edition of the girl you used to check up on every night knowing full well that she was safely tucked in bed. For what it's worth though, I'm glad you did.
Happy Birthday Dad.
I love you.