17 years into their marriage, my mother—with the help of a therapist—facilitated a divorce. He had been having an affair with one of his adoring bridge students for years and this woman agreed to care for him (a task which was considerable at that point).
Soon after he left our home, I immediatley ceased caring about all forms of achievement. My teachers were baffled. It was a true 180 degree pivot.
And then the anger came. It was like some classic horror film come to life. Just as he was supposedly vanquished, my father, like some crafty spector, transferred his darkness into my body. It felt like a sourness, a kind of permanent dissatisfaction. I was 10.
My grades plummeted. I withdrew from all activities and developed a fear of other children. I began using food as a drug.
Thousands of calories quenched the pain. I would creep downstairs after the house was asleep, avoiding the memorized creaks in the stairs. The refrigerator provided all I'd need to escape for the night.