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To DOCTOR Brian Amaral, my architect.

I remember you when you were just Mister Amaral. It’s so rewarding to watch them grow up, isn’t it?

I don’t know why we ever crossed paths. Sometimes I’m overgrateful and sometimes I wish we’d never met. I know you feel the same. You never signed up to be someone’s surrogate parent, and you certainly never signed up for your makeshift kid to hinder your career or life ten years in the future. 

Through all of the conflicting feelings, I can honestly say that I cherish you. You were such a blessing to me and my life. Not just the program you oversaw, but you as a person. You did spend time and effort on me. You did suffer through some awkward stuff. And you did it for me. I know I was hypersensitive to your criticism, and you could be very harsh at times. You’re the first person to make me feel emotionally tortured, even if you didn’t realize or mean to do it. I was small and young, and you were everything I wanted to be. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t understand. I couldn’t see the bigger picture. But you could. And despite the impending doom, you hung on for as long as you could.  Looking back, I have NO idea what that looked like to you. I don’t know what you thought I thought about our relationship. But I want to make it very clear that it was never any sort of romantic infatuation. I just really craved your structure and direction, and therefore I craved your approval. I became obsessed with impressing you and being like you, and it got weird. For you, I’m sure it got scary. And I’m sorry. I really didn’t understand then. Faux pas.

But to me, you were the person who hung the sun & moon. You gave me so much, and so much to look forward to. You spent so much time on/with me, and that made all the difference. Any animosity that you have felt in the past few years is my frustration with being unable to revert back to the closeness we once had. But I understand why. Especially now. I don’t blame you, and while I do wish circumstances were different, I’m not angry at you.

I saw you the other day, and you recounted all of our memories. You still have my cards and notes on your office walls. I fucking needed that so much. Thank you. Thanks for that smile, for that energy. Thank you for being wise and for being you. Thank you for knowing me, and thank you for choosing to do so despite my baggage. 

I’m sorry for the trouble I caused, and I’m sorry for every insult or guilt trip I laid on you. You’re a wonderful father, husband, and teacher. You’re truly one of a kind. I’m glad there are people like you. You’re special. I love you. Thank you.

That Zayas kiiiiddd

Danielle

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