The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
So here’s the thing. And I know you’re going to make some weird big deal out of it because you’re a mom and a nerd and you can’t help yourself. You’re going to, like, make it into a Facebook meme and then needlepoint it onto a pillow because you’re crazy. But whatever, here it is: you were right.
Not right about reading. Mom, reading is . . . something I do because I love you and because I want to get into college. The books you gave me were 90 percent less boring than the books I’ve read for school. But they were still boring. Did you know half of these books you picked have been made into movies? The reason is because movies are better and people who are reading books are always thinking, “God, this would be so much better if it were just not a book.”
Ok. Anyway. You were right about Dad.
I didn’t want you to be so right. I wanted you to be happy, for sure. But not right about this one thing. I wanted things to be so much more black and white, because honestly, it’s just easier to make sense of things that way. What happened to our family was much easier to understand when it was all because Dad was a terrible person. But he’s not a terrible person, now that I’ve gotten to know him. He’s just really, really complicated. Even after all this time, after the last three months, if you asked me how our family got to this point, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I’d be all like, “Uh . . . you tell me?”
And the thing about being in this hospital, Mom, is that I do know EXACTLY how I got here. I know the stupid decisions that I made, one by one, until I was in this beeping room with all this stuff stuck into my arms and up my nose. And I would not do things the same again if I had it to do over.
That’s regret, right? That’s what you were hoping to spare me and Joe when Dad first showed up this spring and you asked us to give him a chance. Regret. But here I am, drowning in regret, and maybe I’m not ever going to get a chance to make it right. So guess what. I know how Dad feels now. And I don’t want anyone else to have to feel this way.
So whatever you decide about him, Mom, then, ok. It’s your decision. I won’t be a brat about it. I want what I want. Joe wants his own thing. But for once in your nerd mom life, what we want most of all is for you to make a choice that will make you happy.
And if this is that, well then. I guess. Go for it.
Your favorite daughter (Cori)