Dear Dad,

It was your birthday on Friday. I forgot till my mother reminded me with a text message. I’m sorry I cannot remember how old you are without recalling that you were born a year before my mother. I’m sorry I did not call to wish you. I don’t know how to talk to you and whether you even want to listen to anything I have to say.

We’ve been silent for so long. It wasn’t always like this. There was a time you used to love me. You got get me dressed and dropped me to school. You made sure that I got home on time. You took me swimming, running, cycling and enrolled me in recreational classes so that I could be a well-rounded, well-adjusted child. You took me out every Saturday to paint the town red. You took me to football games even though I embarrassed you with my foul-mouth. You handed me copies of National Geographic and Time so that I would learn about the world beyond our small existence. You made sure that I went to the best schools and received the best education possible. I was your daughter, I was a part of you and so proud to have you as a father who was not only successful and accomplished, but so involved in his daughter’s life.

Then one day, you brought me here. Our entire world turned upside down. You changed into someone I could not recognize. I metamorphosed into your worst nightmare: I learned how to speak about my sexuality beyond “she is a friend.” You started beating me with more and more frequency. You took me to a psychotherapist telling her that I was not normal and that she should fix me. She found out that you had been abusing me. She asked me if you had done anything more than hit me. I didn’t know what she meant then. She called the cops. They came to school and dragged me out of my classroom for my testimony. They grilled me for a few hours as I lied to protect you because you didn’t have papers at the time.

Your older daughter hated me. Your wife didn’t know what to say to me. And you abandoned me.

You had nothing to say or do to me anymore.

I had nothing that I wanted to say to you.

I had brought the whole family a lot of shame.

The silence between us grew into enormous black holes that never meet or greet each other. Over many months, seasons and years, I’ve grown accustomed to this silence. I’ve come to terms with only having one parent.

I watched the Women’s World Cup Final today. Watching football always reminds me of you because my love for football comes from you. But today I didn’t remember you while watching the game. I wonder if you thought about me while watching it or whether you ever think about me.

Tomorrow, when you see me in the kitchen or the living room, we’ll continue past each other in silence, like two ships traveling in different directions, who never meet.

I am perfectly alright with that.

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