It’s a hurt he needs.

He’s meeting his girls. They are his life.
 He cares about nothing else really.
 Not anymore.
 Ping. He reads the text message.
 It wasn’t unexpected.
 Even so, he’s disappointed. Again.
 He feels his chest tighten. Just a bit.
 His heart aches. Quite a bit.
 But it always does these days.
 She can’t make it after all.
 She said, another time…soon.
 He tells himself, again, that he is losing her.
 But he won’t blame her. He can’t.
 It is he who failed her.
 His youngest daughter. His baby.
 She is slipping away.
 He doesn’t know what to do.
 He doesn’t want to lose her.
 But he doesn’t deserve her either.

He feels that same guilt with all his girls.
 Ever since their mother left him.
 Something he still doesn’t fully understand.
 She thought he didn’t change at all in thirty years.
 He thought she had changed too much.
 Probably, they are both right.
 But it was her choice.
 She drew first blood.
 She pulled the plug on thirty years.
 Yet he is alone with the guilt.
 He doesn’t see that changing.
 He doesn’t want it to. He’s deserves the guilt.
 He failed their marriage, somehow.
 And so he failed his daughters.
 He should have seen it coming.
 He should have fought to keep her.
 Truth? He didn’t want to…
 She was no longer the person he married.
 He didn’t know her anymore. At all.
 She turned cold. So cold. At least toward him.
 In the end. The last few years. She played him.
 He let her. He didn’t care anymore.
 And they went their separate ways.
 And all their lives changed. Forever.
 One in-law said the whole family died after that.
 He agrees.
 And so now the guilt.

He reads the text one last time.
 Replies that it’s ok. Adds a few hearts. Send.
 Except it’s not ok. He’s not ok. 
 And he doesn’t want to be. Doesn’t deserve to be.
 But if he could give her peace of mind, that was something.
 So he lies. And he plays happy.

His other daughters are all there
 His granddaughters as well.
 And he knows how lucky he is. Blessed.
 Still, his heart is heavy.
 The absence of one reminds him how he has failed them all.
 Even so he plays happy. For everyone.
 They deserve happiness even if he doesn’t.

Then he drives home. In silence.
 Always in silence.
 He can feel the ache. The sadness.
 He hurts always. Nothing else seems real to him.
 Except the hurt. The hurt is real.
 Hurt is how he knows he’s alive.
 On the outside looking in.
 At his family. At his life.
 That is now his future.
 People tell him to move on.
 And he agrees that he should.
 He needs to forgive her.
 He needs to forgive himself.
 But he can’t. Her betrayal cut too deep.
 It’s a hurt he needs.
 Besides, move on to what?
 He only wanted one thing. That is gone.
 So he lives one day at a time.
 He has his memories.
 He wants nothing else.
 Except to hurt. He wants that. Needs that.