They say the Earth rotates at 1000 miles per hour. But in this moment, looking down at those two pink lines before getting into the shower, my world stopped.I cried. I screamed. My tears mixed with the water pouring down my face. I couldn’t open my eyes. I couldn’t face reality.

I was nineteen. We had just broken up for the umpteenth time.I was jumping from apartment to apartment with so called friends. I had a barely-over-minimum-wage job. I was nineteen.

Your drunken slur slithered out of my speaker, “I told you so..” Despite the lack of comfort, I had to see you. I had to make this right. I had to have the perfect family I had always dreamed of.

My heart beat out of my chest as I knocked on the door of whosever house you decided to live at for that time period. Still drunk, you answer the door. You assured me everything was going to be okay. You loved me, and I believed you.

I didn’t care that you didn’t have a job. I didn’t care that I paid for everything. I didn’t care that you were never at the same house with the same friends for long. I didn’t care that I had to haul you everywhere because you lacked a vehicle. I didn’t care. Because I loved you.

You’d drink. And drink. And drink some more. Your words would cut me like a knife. Your drunken acts of rage petrified me. The women you were indulging in behind my back made me feel worthless. But I was always to blame.

At nearly 3 months into my pregnancy, I was determined to leave. I tried talking to you. But the liquid poison and prescribed pills mixed you into a psychopath. As I sat around the bonfire, you inform me you had just poured gasoline on yourself. You take off your boots, take off your shirt, and inch closer to the fire. “Will you stop being stupid? You’re not going to do anything, just stop.” Bad choice of words on my part. “Fuck this.” As soon as you lit that lighter, you burst into flames. I sit there, frozen, as you run into the grass trying to roll it out. You laugh when it’s over. I watch you peel the dead burnt skin from your stomach as the cold shower rinses the excess gasoline off. I should’ve got as far away as possible. I should’ve booked it to the mountains. But it was my fault. I was leaving you. If you didn’t love me to the point you’d rather be dead without me, you wouldn’t have done it. You turned it on me.

I stayed at the hospital with you and your family. I cried. If I wouldn’t have told you I was leaving, we wouldn’t be here. You lied to the doctors. You didn’t need help. It was my fault. I was the bad person for starting all of this. I was in the wrong because I didn’t try to get the fire out, almost three months pregnant.

I had my mom pick me up at the Springfield burn unit. I still had a job. I still had responsibilities. I was still pregnant. I needed to distance myself from you. Give you time to think about what had happened. Give me time to think about it. That made me an even worse person. I didn’t care, because I was leaving. I should’ve stayed there with you. It was all my fault.

You have the scars, I have the memory that haunts my dreams.

But I took you back.

I didn’t want to lose you. I didn’t want to do this alone. I couldn’t. But the truth is, even with you, I was still alone. You broke me down every day to the point I thought I had nothing without you. I couldn’t talk to my family, I knew their answers. I couldn’t talk to my friends, I had lost them all. I couldn’t drown my sorrows with the liquid devil, because I was growing an angel.

Somehow, someway, I got out. I bought a nicer mommy car. I rented an apartment for just myself. I started a better paying job. I was preparing for motherhood.

You still had no job, no car, and no place.

Why did I still miss you?

I went through most of my pregnancy alone. You popped in every once in awhile, but never for long.

Thank goodness for family.

You never bought anything to prepare for the arrival. You never offered any money for me to get ready.

But don’t worry, I had everything I needed.

June 30th, 2015. I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. You knew I was at the hospital. You never tried to find out which one. Or ask if you could come. I didn’t offer. I did everything with my mother by my side.

Two IVs, labor, two epidurals, and birthing my perfect 7 pound baby at 2:39pm, without you.

No one watched me cry myself to sleep that night with my daughter by my side. Holding her tight, I thought we weren’t good enough for you.

Truth is, you didn’t deserve us.

I let you meet her, thinking things would change. They haven’t. They won’t.

In all honesty, I don’t want your money. I don’t need your help. Yes, it would be nice once in awhile. Very nice. But no, I don’t want it. What I want, is for my daughter to have a consistent father in her life. Not just random here and there after days, weeks, months.

I’m done.

You don’t know that she scrunches her nose in the cutest way. You don’t know that one of her first words, is ‘dada.’ You don’t know that she’ll scream that word until she runs out of breath, having no idea what a ‘dada’ really is. You don’t know that she likes her blankey over her face to fall asleep. You don’t know that she fake coughs to get attention. You don’t know that her favorite toy, isn’t even a toy, it’s her wipeys. You don’t know that she can sit up on her own. You don’t know that she’s almost crawling. You don’t know that she wakes up at 7 in the morning and likes to eat and watch Elmo. You don’t know that she has her ears pierced. You don’t know that sweet little laugh.

You don’t know, because you’re not here.

If when my daughter grows older and she decides she wants to meet you, I won’t stop her. I won’t talk negatively about you to her. I won’t talk you down to her. But I will allow her to know the truth. That you can’t make someone want something. That I wouldn’t allow her to be an option. That I did my best to protect her.

She’ll see the real you. Maybe not instantly, maybe not after a few months, but eventually, she’ll see the real you. She’ll understand that keeping her from you, was for her.

Until then, just know we are doing great. We struggle. We will for awhile. But I have an even better job, still in my own place, a decent car, going back to college, and a whole lot of love for my little princess. At twenty.

You live with your mother, no vehicle, unsure job, and missing out on everything. At twenty nine.

In closing, I would like to thank you for giving me the most precious daughter I could have ever asked for. My life has done a complete 180, for the better. You’ve done a terrific job at shaming my name. Your ‘friends’ see me as an awful mother. You’ve done well at pretending I’ve ever kept her from you. You get to go out every night of the week, no one bats an eye. Yet, I sit at home and raise my daughter, and I’m still the bad person.

We’re better off without you.

One day, a real man will come into our lives and indulge her in the kind of love a father should.

Thank you, for allowing me to raise our daughter alone.