1 Donut, 15 Years of Despair

It’s one of the most chilling events of my childhood: It is Bring Your Dad to Breakfast Day, and I am five years old. My dad takes me to the donut store down the street from my school and picks up a box of donuts for the event. We hurriedly eat two chocolate sprinkle donuts together back in the car, and he drops me off at school alone, box of donuts in tow. I give the box of donuts to my teacher and am immediately sequestered in a room with the other kids whose fathers don’t love them, where we will spend the next three hours alone.

In the grand scheme of my childhood, that memory is only a few hours long, but it had-and still has-an immeasurable effect on my life. I remembered that donut when I lost the vice presidential election in fourth grade, and again when I came home crying on the first day of sixth grade, concerned because a girl in my class didn’t know what continent we lived on, worried I was put with the stupid people (turns out everyone in sixth grade is stupid, but especially you, Lila). You may be wondering, “What do these events possibly have in common?” Well, I can tell you exactly what: Betrayal. Betrayed by sixth graders much dumber than myself, betrayed by the future Trump voters that elected my opponent over me (a white male, smh) and most importantly, betrayed by my father on Bring Your Dad to Breakfast Day.

At Hopkins, it almost seemed like that chapter in my life was over. Nearly everyone knows that we live in North America and tries to make informed political decisions. My dad even responds to my texts most of the time. I thought things were changing for the better, that is, until three days ago. I texted my dad with a pressing concern. I needed him to read a paragraph for my essay immediately, as it was due at noon. I didn’t get a response until many hours later, in which he superficially apologized, placating me by saying he was sure I’d get an A. In that moment, nearly on the eve of my 20th birthday, I was that five-year-old girl eating a donut in the car again. The exchanges may seem disparate, but they are underwritten by a common theme of betrayal and neglect.

Dad, that donut is a dagger, painfully reminding me of your betrayal at every turn. Julius Caesar said it best in his dying words: “et tu, Dad?”