A Thank You Note To My Dad’s Mistress

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

I want you to know that I’m not angry. I don’t think I ever was. I’ve known you for so long and thought about you so much that you’ve just become dust to me. I’ve thought you to death.

Your intrusion on my life brought out the worst in my parents. There was silence and there was violence. Once the smoke cleared though, they became great friends. They became people I could stand to be around. The pressure was off because you didn’t matter anymore.

Did you know that I learned how to cook because of you? Yeah, because my dad was the one who cooked for us most days. When you took him, the second time, I had to learn how to cook for my mom and sister and the first thing my brother did when he came home to visit was take me to TJ Maxx to buy a cookbook.

I loved the food channel so I really felt like this was my time to shine. I could finally be Giada/Rachel/Bobby. I devoured this cookbook and my first day of my dad being gone was spent thinking about what I was going to make for dinner. I was supposed to be devastated, angry, and confused. Instead, I was focused.

Cooking ended up bringing me some of the best and most memorable moments of my life. It might have come much later to me in life if you didn’t blow through. I gained the experience of Paula Deen by the time I was 23. Food and its preparation became one of my great passions and it was born out of necessity. It was a chore that I adored and still do to this day. I’ve never stopped learning. Every moment that a meal I made has brought joy to those around me made up for all the times that my mom threw my dinners for her in the trash.

Also, because for awhile you were all my mom talked about, I learned that not wanting to give head all the time might be a huge problem. I was led to believe that in order to keep a man I wanted, I needed to perform a whole host of sexual favors whether I wanted to or not. It was a sacrifice that my mother was not willing to make but you were. I got to have extremely inappropriate and uncomfortable conversations about my mom’s sex life because of you. Anyway, you got your man, for a little while anyway. Then you went and started talking crazy about marriage and kids and I can’t believe you don’t know how that story goes. I could’ve told you that, love.

Finally, I want to thank you because you taught me to forgive. I’m absolutely serious here. I did come to forgive my dad and love him through many other mistakes that might’ve been unacceptable otherwise. I forgave my mom for not keeping it together for us even after the divorce. I forgave a lot of people who I might not have been able to if you hadn’t burned me like that first. It’s been so long that I’m sure you know that I’ve forgiven you too. I’m even grateful to you for everything you taught me about life. You made me stronger, more resilient, more independent. I learned that your happiness shouldn’t depend on your partner. I learned that I should be prepared to be let down. I became a doomsday prepper in my love life, waiting to get hurt and ready to tell him “I knew you were a shit from day 1.” I have come out the other side relatively unscathed despite many a heartbreak.

I have a real love now. I was prepping for awhile, but he hasn’t let me down. I spent the first two years of our relationship getting ready to find out about a side piece. I can’t believe I wasted that.

I’m indifferent to you now. If I saw you in the street, I think I might pop you a little head nod if I recognized you. I hope that never happens but anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. I don’t know who I’d be without you.

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Alma Girau

Alma Girau

Shameless. Latinx. Embroidery artist and writer.