• "Your mom told me to tell you to keep up in school," dad said as we drove on home. Yeah, and what else is new?

    "What else she say?" I said, leaning back in my seat.

    "She also said for you to never...err...punch anyone again."

    "What did you say to her?" I asked suddenly. There was a long stretch of silence, and quietly, he said,

    "I told her about me...She went completely crazy." I didn't say anything, and he continued,

    "I left after she started spazzing out. I felt so guilty..." The rest of the car ride was silent as a graveyard, and if you can imagine the solemn graveyard, that's pretty quiet.


    Back at home, things were more boring than usual, which might be difficult to picture. Since I was suspended from school, it reasons that I was grounded at home, which I was. Nothing to do, even less than what I could do before...

    That's even harder to picture.

    So, since sitting on my bed wasn't exactly on the top of my to-do list, I stayed downstairs in the kitchen to pester dad.

    "Dad," I started, watching as he prepared himself a little tuna sandwhich, "what else did mom say?" Dad blinked, and stammered,

    "I-I'm not sure what you mean, Tom."

    "You were talking to her for five minutes or more. There has to be more."

    "There's nothing more," he said, and added, "All we talked about was you at school, my old life, and her..." Suddenly, he stopped, and it took a second for him to realize that he had just spilled the beans. Gotcha.

    "What about mom?" I interrogated, slowly walking closer to him. Dad looked away, and said,

    "Tom, I'm sure you already knew this, but mom loved Mary very dearly, even though she didn't know before that she was her step-daughter." He took a deep breath, and continued,

    "So, it's not diffucult to figure out that she was just as devestated as you probably were when she figured out...she...shot herself." I took a deep pause, and thought back. Yeah, I remembered. She was crying over the table, weeping and mourning like there was no tomorrow. Because that's probably how she felt.

    "I don't get it," I said, snapping out of my flash back. "Why would she be so devestated, even though she didn't really know who she even was?" My dad looked back at me, and replied with uncertainty,

    "I'm not sure why. But, I think the reason mostly revolved around...you." He paused, and said,

    "I really don't want to hurt your feelings, but you certainly weren't the...greatest, nicest kid...before."

    "Yeah, dad," I replied with my arms crossed. "No harm done." Dad nodded, and continued,

    "Yeah, so when a nice girl started befriending you and helping you...she thought it was a great oppurtunity and a breathrough for you. When she died, though, it seemed as though what led you to become the person you aresuddenly vanished, because that was true, and I'm sure she felt extremely sorry, for the girl...and for you." He paused and then continued,

    "She--I'm sure because of this incident--started drinking." He hesitated, letting it sink in, and then said,

    "Your mom was great woman. She was always caring, loving, and very passionate on everything she did." And then more to himself, To think she did something as low as I did..." I remembered reading Mary's diary. Her mom mentioned something about him drinking...too bad she didn't mention my dad was also Mary's dad. It would've saved me a lot of trouble.

    "Tom, what do you want for dinner?" he suddenly asked, changing the subject. I shrugged, and then said,

    "I don't need dinner." I went back upstairs. Was it mom's fault for getting drunk? Was it dad's? Was it mine? And suddenly, as I sat on my bed, I had a flash back.

    It's March 2, 2001. The teacher seems especially happy, though I don't know why. I don't really care, anyway. I sit back, and suddenly, the teachers announces,

    "Class, we have a new student today." From my left, I noticed a girl get up. She was about the same height as me, and had curly brunnette hair. I didn't notice her before, but suddenly, the alarm when off in my head, which mean, un-doubtedly, that this was the next person I was destined to hate.

    "Hi," she says a little nervously. A few kids said hi back, some in a more joking manner or some more sincerely. I don't say anything, though. I just continue to sit there, slumped in my chair.

    "I'm Mary Archibald," she continues a little more confidently, "My last name means 'courage' in German. It comes from my great-grandpa on my dad's side, but my parents are divorced now." I see a few sympathetic faces across the class, the most sympathetic one being my teacher's. Nice job, I thought. You just earned yourself some pity points.

    "Would you like to tell us about your hobbies? About your dreams?"

    "Well, I've always had this dream about finding my dad, and getting my two parents reunited together."

    "Well, that's certainly an adventurous dream!" the teacher says, pushing her back to her seat, probably thinking her speech was getting a little too personal.

    If only she knew...Nothing bad in my life probably would've ever happened dad had fessed up a week earlier.

    But I could'nt directly blame him, because as he said, the blame was to be shared. Almost always it isn't one man's fault, it's multiple people's thoughts.

    I had to stop playing the blame game, and just start making sure that I was in the right. And so I looked up to the ceiling, and whispered,

    "God, I'm sorry for everything I've sone--especially hating you. I--I just wanted to let you know..." And, however corny that statement sounded, I felt a great warmth in my heart after saying it.

    I felt relief.