"Let me tell you something, now that I've got you in the car and you're not going anywhere. I didn't appreciate your telling Mom that you were leaving because of me. I had to sleep outside that night and we almost got divorced over it."
"...you wanted me to lie to her?"
"Don't go and move in with your boyfriend and then tell me it's because of something I did."
And so there it started.
Oh, I knew Mom talked to him about it. How could she not? She'd thought - and so had I - that I would live with her until I was married, that my leaving would be a happy occurrence, with me moving on to the next phase of my life. I wasn't supposed to leave because my emotional survival depended on it; it wasn't supposed to be like that, and she was angry at him for making it so.
But he'd denied he had anything to do with it from the beginning, insisted on it, until both Mom and I believed his mind simply wouldn't accept any other possibility.
And then for him to bring it up on his own - well, I definitely wasn't expecting that. Maybe he was, actually, wondering whether he'd done something to make me leave. Maybe he wanted me to reassure him that he hadn't.
Not a chance of that.
I told him things I'd wanted to for a really long time. That I needed to leave because living there, with him, was giving me panic attacks. That he was emotionally abusive. That most of the time he was not a good father. That he never said he loved me or was proud of me; all I ever got from him was anger and criticism and swearing. That if he'd hurt me physically the way he'd hurt me emotionally, child services would have taken me away years ago.
It went by in a blur. He was angry, but not as angry as I thought he'd be.
And it was so, so strange for him to be the one to bring it up.