E R A S E D

Some prefer to write in pencil while some prefer to use a pen. The reasons are endless but this is why I only use ink.

It was fine printing day in first grade and the teacher had given everyone a worksheet. That day we were to practice writing our first and last name in straight lines. To assist in avoiding asymmetry we were to reference the dotted line neatly placed across the middle of each row.

Turns out I was exceptional at knowing my name and how to spell and print it with perfection as deemed by the rules of those lines.

The next week we would write three sentences about our family using that same paper with those same rows and dotted lines. I had trouble because in the group at my table the kids chatted excitedly about their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers. I had a mother but it wasn’t clear to me if she and I alone constituted a family and besides, I had nothing exciting to write about her. Instead I wrote about how I had a mom and dad and two dogs named Spencer and Charlie (these were my classmates names). Deciding the dad part was too much I erased his name and turned it in.

It wasn’t a great idea because the teacher later asked me about my dad. See, when you write with conviction using pencil and then erase a letter or word it tends to remain visible though faint.

As I grew up I began to wonder how many times my father wrote my name or the word ‘daughter’ and then erased it. I wondered if it happened in his mind as soon as he knew I’d been conceived or before and maybe after he left. I wondered how many sentences in all the years I’d been alive he had kept me in and what emotions I would encounter if I’d read them.

One day, in the realization that the stories visible to the world never reveal everything I just stopped wondering. You can never know what has been erased in the making of the books you read, never know what the pages truly rest upon nor what rests in the ink of an author’s heart.

I forgave that man, my father, not because of his unwritten books but because of the books written into him that I would never read.

I loved that man, my father, not because of the sentences that I’d been erased from, but because I was written into the world with conviction so could not be erased and because life is written in love.