There is a certain kind of hatred that comes with divorce.
And not just the hatred parents have for each other, no; I’m talking about the hatred the parents grow for their children. Maybe it’s short-lived, a flash, one second, he glimpses something in his son, the curve of his mouth, his eyelashes, that resembles his ex-wife, and for that second, feels contempt. Maybe she sees in her daughter, a slight swagger to her walk, or maybe more evident, the color of her skin, what would have been a dark chocolate but now a coffee stain by her exhusbands porcelain flesh. It is these things, temporary, permanent, that summon the most hatred. Some see past it, and others, they can’t. They flee. Bad divorce, good divorce (remind me again what a good divorce is?)- it doesn’t matter: the children will always be reflections, mirrors, of what once was. This pain becomes almost (in some cases, it is) too painful to bear. And this pain deflects onto the children. Onto me, my brother. Beautiful almond eyes, a fucking curse of my fathers. The freckles on my skin become shit stains of my mothers memory. When my mother missed my prom, and saw a photograph of me with my father, she cried. I asked, “Mom, what did you want me to look like, before I was born? I’m just curious, what were you hoping?” Her honesty:
“I was hoping you would look like me. But, the way you look now, it’s fine too, I guess.”
There is a hatred, a resentment, that a part of the child, one cannot measure how much, was stolen by the other partner. A laugh, curls, skin, her touch. But it is nothing that can be controlled: it just is. Can the other person accept that, look past it, and still love their child unconditionally? Maybe. Maybe not.
“Why do you smile like that, smile differently? Take away your dimples, change that full lipped grin? It is too much like your mothers, own your own fucking smile.”
“Because it hurts.”
I see my mother, and my father, standing next to each other, reflections thrown in the pots and pans on the kitchen table, curved and distorted, her face too mean, his scowling, faces I don’t recognize, not in me, and I wonder how it got to this. How did we go from family dinners to family trips out to restaurants to family oh did I forget dinner to family here’s some money go get your own food to family stop eating so much we don’t have to money to feed you. Pegah, where do you get that body from, your fathers side of the family? Pegah, where do you get your temper from, your mothers side of the family? We don’t cry that much. We don’t scream that much. We don’t sulk, we don’t yell, we don’t close the door and sob in our rooms. We don’t cut, we don’t bleed, we don’t have issues.You must have gotten that from their side of the family.
This is it, then. They blame my flaws on each other, so much, that I become a flaw, a stain, and taint. Something they can’t fucking bear to look at. Do you feel that, then? There is a certain hatred that comes with divorce. And maybe it used to be about the parents divorce, whatever caused the break, but it doesn’t matter anymore, because as the child of a divorced couple, let me explain: you yearn for years, that it becomes about you again, that one day they remember their daughter, and you are the one who brings them together.
They remember you alright, they do. You’re the face that keeps them torn apart.