When my boyfriend and I broke up, we decided to stay friends.
Our relationship had been four hundred and eighty one days of jealousy and suspicion and tears stained on our cheeks.
I had always had more hate in my heart for him than I did love. But all the same, we decided to stay friends.
Fifty three days after we broke up, I kissed his best friend.
It had been quick and clumsy and lacking synchronisation. We promised to keep it a secret; the guilt rattling inside us like wind through a tin house.
This was the worst thing I had ever done.
Two hundred and sixty seven days later, I drank more alcohol than I had ever drank in my life.
I had enough hate in my heart to start a car; and although it had dwindled slightly over the last few months, it was still alive in me.
My mind and words bleached by alcohol, I told the boy I knew was still in love with me that I had kissed his best friend.
We had been broken up for three hundred and twenty days and he still loved me, and I still had the ability to break his heart; and I knew it.
I woke up the next morning crying.
I screamed and sobbed on my bedroom floor, air escaping my lungs so quickly I thought I might pass out. My arms wrapped around my rib age in a desperate attempt to stop my heart from bursting.
The image of tears in his eyes, the words "you are dead to me" escaping his lips, echoing in my ears. This was the worst thing that I had ever done.
Eighty five minutes later, my father found me. I was curled up on the floor, still gasping for air, all focus gone from my vision.
He helped me from the floor and led me to my bed. My body worn to the bone, my head pulsating from headaches.
He looked into my eyes, the blue of his matching the blue of mine, our only genetic similarity.
"If this is the worst thing you have ever done, you will live a very boring life." He said.
His words filled my brain as the voice in my head that does not sound like my own repeated them.
I looked at my father. Greying in his age, laughter lines prominent, his face spelling security.
To me, he had always been a family man, the provider, the protector, the rock that held our family together.
To me, his life had begun when mine had. It had never once occurred to me that he had lived before me.
And yet, here he was, warping my view of him entirely, humanising himself.
This man, who I had placed every ounce of trust in since the day I was born, was telling me that he had done worse things than the worst thing I had ever done.
I had once heard that children find it hard to admit that their parents are human. My father, who I had never seen cry and rarely saw smile, eternally wise
Who seemed to have a better grasp on the cosmic jokes of the universe than anyone I had ever met had done worse things than the worst thing I had ever done.
It felt strange. In finding out that my father too was scarred, flaws marked internally like barbed wire rakings, I experienced a new found respect for him.
The advice he always gave in doses; like cough syrup, sweet and laced with good intentions, no longer caught in my throat.
It enveloped my mind, it's edges folding in on me, becoming clearer, then sudden, exact understanding.
We all have our barbed wire.