Those next few months were full of so much confusion. There was something going on behind the scenes that nobody was telling us. I knew something was up, but couldn’t get a straight answer. Needless to say, what was up was nothing compared to what I thought it was.


My dad was still around the house a lot, my parents still saw a lot of each other, we did stuff as a family, we went places together, had movie nights, went to dinner together. Talk about confusing. It seemed like really the only difference was that my dad wasn’t actually living in the house.  And I missed him. A lot. My dad always woke up super early and watched sportscenter in the living room while on his laptop and drinking his coffee. It was comforting to wake up, because my room was right above the living room, and hear him moving around down there. I haven’t heard that noise in almost 3 years now, but in my head I can still remember it.


People kept asking me why exactly they were separated. I couldn’t give them an answer, I didn’t have one myself. I figured things would work themselves out and things would go back to normal. Everyone had rough patches, but my parents weren’t quitters. If anything they had raised 3 children who were raised to know that family was more important than anything and that you fought for your family and what was right.


Then came December. We used to go see the Nutcracker as a family downtown. This year it would just be myself, Shelby and my mom. We got dressed up and went to Brixx for dinner. We were having a wonderful time sitting in the round booth, chatting like usual. Then Shelby popped the question.


Shelby: “Did dad cheat?”

Me: “What!? Where did that come from?”

Mom: “That’s a conversation you need to have with you dad.”

Me: “Wait what why!?”


Bring on more confusion. That could never have happened, this is my dad we are talking about. My hero. The man I’ve looked up to my entire life. The man that has always been the go-to guy. The man that everyone looks up to. The man I have never heard a bad thing about.


After the Nutcracker, it was decided that we would meet with our dad in the morning to talk about things.


*They say there are two sides to every story, but I believe there are 3. Hers. His. And the Truth. From this point on things are a bit hazy on actual details, I heard many different versions and do not feel comfortable sharing exactly what was said because there are discrepancies in both stories and many feelings that have skewed what was told to us children. I don’t believe that either parent gave me a story with just the facts, it was a highly emotional situation and their emotions played into how things were told. They can tell me all they want that what they are saying is the truth, but I can’t let myself believe them. I guess that is just a sad fact of life.*


Basically what it boiled down to was my dad had an inappropriate emotional relationship with a woman that was not my mom and it escalated the issues that were apparently already present in my parent’s marriage, unbeknownst to me. My mom wanted to go to therapy to work things out, but they saw separate therapists and couldn’t come to terms with things.


Things were rocky after this. Shelby had no relationship with my dad, she was full of anger. I wanted to be angry and not talk to him and make him pay for it, I wasn’t strong enough. I needed both my parents. I was applying to college and would have to go to my Nana and Papa’s house to work on applications with him and then come back and keep working. There was more then one meltdown. I was also struggling with an injury that was halting my cheerleading. Meltdowns were actually quite frequent.


Things eventually started to progress. I had a successful surgery, was accepted to NC State, made their cheerleading team, and graduated from high school. My last summer passed and I went off to school. Both parents were apparently “dating” but we hadn’t met anyone because it was not very serious. I survived the fall and loved college.


Then second semester came. Michael was visiting, we were about to get ready to go out, and we had just come back from dinner with my roommate and hallmate. I got a call from my dad and my sister at basically the same time. I was really concerned because they were both calling me and I was worried someone was hurt.


I answered Shelby’s phone call first.

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