Last weekend, I grabbed lunch before the basketball game with my grandma and my mum. Somehow, as per usual, the conversation turned to awkward places. I guess my favorite uncle has never understood how my dad could move across the country away from his kids. And I ‘fessed up to something never before to escape my lips. ”Actually, he asked me first. I told him to go,” I told them.

I remember when he asked my permission. I was in 6th grade, which puts me at 12, I think? We were walking down the street and dad said he wanted to talk to me. He’d been offered a job out east, he said. He wanted to know if I thought he should go.

I walked along and stared at the cracks in the sidewalks. ”Does it offer more money?” I asked, my stomach tight, my mind warring between wanting my daddy near and teenaged freedom. ”Yeah,” he said. ”Then you should go. It’s more money.” And we walked.

Mum correctly assumed that I consider it my fault that my daddy moved away and never came back. My guilt complex is fucking cracked out crazy epic. Of course, if there’s such a thing as a regret complex, it dwarfs my guilt complex.