I write this to you as you sit in your cell, and I think about my own then, a boy in a home, in hell and the neighbor who heard. I think about the neighbors who hear, the men who hear, the one next door to me, who heard. What about them? Dear Neighbor, I write this letter with hopes of a better tomorrow, but my reality tells me different. I decided to write you because as far as a man goes, you were the closest to me in my time of pain and need. You only lived two doors down from my doorway of hell. The look you would so often give me, instead of a simple hello or nod, let me know you knew we couldn’t defend ourselves. Oh how I wished to have your age and size, maybe I could fight back or long enough so my mom could get away for the night. I often felt like a fool thinking tears would stop him or his blows to my mothers face. She was knocked to the floor more times than i care to remember. How often did you hear our cries? Was it hard listening to our struggles? Did you feel less of a man for never helping? These are questions I always wanted to ask you, but never would I. I’m not sure if you cared to learn our names. I guess its all better this way to get through your day not placing names to the faces of the broken.
Many nights passed as I day dreamed of a superhero, that would bust through the door and come to the aid of me and my mother. Often my daydreams would end up short-lived disturbed by the rage of one man, whose only outlet happened to be his oldest son and his wife.
So, as I write this letter to you in hopes that you read it and take a piece of our hurt away. You didn’t rescue me as a little boy in a world of darkness and confusion. As I look back on things now, I am able to see how powerful and strong of an impact the hand can have and be. For a hand can be closed tight or even open but when you add rage and hate behind its force, the dynamics of the hand changes and changes lives forever.
As I grew older I often wonder would I remain silent if I witnessed someone going through the pain I witnessed as a boy? Would I one day believe that all that I was going through was the norm and begin to strike my loved ones when angered? When I started to write this letter, I had no clue on where it would take me but I’m glad I did it. I realize my pain came from my silence. I feel free expressing myself in this letter. Even if you never reply, my thoughts are no longer in prison. I decided to be neither man - not you, nor my father. I am a man who speaks up when I’m wronged, or if I see another person wrongly treated. I want you to know I forgave you, and my abuser - my father.