Yesterday was your day and I didn't even think about you. I didn't whisper "Happy You-know-what", or wonder what it would be like if things were different. I only think about how you are in me when you come out because I'm angry, even though you are there every time I take a step. It's a testament to genetics, because I have never seen you walk, but I will always have your gait. I have your ghost in my feet and I hate it, and when people ask, I explain it away; how I have a weird little step in my walk “just like my biological father", and then I hope that they don't ask me anything else about you, because it is a very long story, and I grow tired of retelling it.
I do have your temper sometimes. I never experienced your fury firsthand, but when I was a teenager and I would get so angry, mom would always point it out to me. "You're just like him when you act like this." She didn’t even have to use your name; I knew. I hated to hear her compare me to you. I don’t think I’ve ever told her that. How much it hurt to resemble someone that hurt her, even while I hurt her myself.
When I remember you, it’s only to hate having any of you in me. How can you still hide inside of me when I know nothing about you? I’ve never seen your face, and I don’t dare to look for photos of you. I don’t want to see you in my face when it was hard enough to accept that you are somewhere in my heart, living through little quirks, despite how you never cared to be around when you were alive.
I lie; I do know of your token visits; I just don’t know if you meant them. Mom told me you stopped by grandmother’s to see me a few times when I was growing up, and you would bring your new wife’s son. He and I would play together, and you would watch me but not say much to me at all. I know it was too long ago for me to be able to remember it, but if I try hard enough, I can see this scene like it’s from an old movie; it looks like faded film on a summer day. You stand by mom and watch me and your boy from the orchard fence, and you and her barely say anything, besides her bragging on me, and you just stand solemn and stare. I wonder what you really thought when you would watch me. I don’t know enough about you to guess, and when I try, I know I’m just putting my thoughts in your head and my words in your mouth, but I can’t help it, and do it anyways. When I think in your head I am so proud to have a healthy, beautiful, kind, and intelligent young boy, and excited to think of the man you would one day be. I would see myself in the little things you do. I would see myself in the way you walk, and in your face. I wouldn't know how to express it, but I would know that things would be better for you without me around, and I would hope to talk to you one day and explain why I did the things I did, and why I made the choices I made. I wouldn’t know what was growing inside of me. I wouldn’t know I would never be able to tell you any of these things. It would grow inside of me until I was not the same man, and one day I would leave you in the span of a gasping breath, and without a second thought.
A man doesn't always want to be a father, and I understand that, but a real man will be one anyways. I know you never had a chance, and I know I need to forgive you, and maybe I will some day when I am a father, and when things like having a son and a wife to be there for aren’t so black and white, I'll be able to put it to rest, but for now, besides this one time, I do my very best to forget you.
Yesterday was your day, Phillip. "Happy You-know-what" to you.