Sean Patrick Henry

I hope you find this.

One of the men at the shop said I should Google you. He says that’s what his son always says, “Just Google it.” Apparently if you know what you’re doing you can find just about anything on these computers.

So I did. I Googled you but there are a million pages of Sean Patrick Henrys on Google. I don’t know which one is you.

Another guy said I should try Facebook but that was even more confusing. I reached out to a few of the ones born in 1972, like you. They were nice. They said things like, “I hope you find your son” and “I’m sure he’d love to know you’re thinking of him.”

But I don’t know if that’s true.

It all started because of this kid. He comes into the shop looking for a hammer. Kid was in his twenties and he never owned a hammer before. He says he wants to hang a picture. Says he took it. He shows it to me on his phone.

In the picture is a boy. He’s got this scar across his face from a burn. The kid tells me that his father did it to him. He was high on some kind of drugs. Meth is all I could think of that might make people crazy. That’s what I’m always hearing about on the news. They say it’s an epidemic.

Kid says the dad got so high he thought his son had some kind of demon in him and he thought the only way to save his son was to force the demon out of him. He tried drowning his son. Now keep in mind his son is about six. So he drowns the kid and that doesn’t work. The demon is still in him. Fortunately the kid didn’t die.

So then the dad thinks fire. He pours a little gas on the boy. He’s crying. And the dad lights him up. The boy is screaming and the dad is scared. He’s terrified because the last thing he wants to do is hurt his kid. He’s doing this because he thinks the demon that’s inside of his son is going to hurt his kid.

At the exact moment the demon is expelled, the dad throws a blanket over his son. Puts out the flames.

The police find the man cradling his son. He’s rocking him back and forth. He doesn’t fight the police, he just hands him over. Tells the cops he got the demon out. He confesses to everything and says he’d do it again. He’d do anything to protect his son and he’ll accept his punishment. Gladly live out his life in jail knowing that his son is alive because of him.

I was blown away by this story. This kid in the shop says he’s a photojournalist and says the picture was in Time magazine or something. He was proud of it and wanted to hang it in his studio.

I ask him how’s it gonna feel to see that kind of pain on a daily basis. He tells me I’m looking at it all wrong. He tells me it’s love.

Love, I say. That ain’t my idea of love. Then he looks at me and you know what he says? He says, sometimes love is hurting someone if you think it’ll save them.

I called bullshit in this case. Man was a junkie who hurt his kid. But there was some truth to what he said. I couldn’t help but think about you and how I left you.

I told myself at the time that it was the right thing. That it was the best thing for you but I can’t help but wonder if it was.

I thought this computer could tell me something. Maybe tell me you were alright. Maybe tell me about your life. I see all them stories on the TV about families being reunited through the Facebook or Twitters. I thought maybe I could be one of them stories. Well, you and me.

But this ain’t as easy as they make it out to be, especially if somebody don’t wanna be found.

I’m thinking you don’t wanna be found. Maybe you changed your name. Sean Patrick was your mother’s doing. She wanted something Irish. Henry’s about all you got from me. Unless it’s true what they say about boozing being genetic. Maybe you got that from me too.

I hope not.

I don’t know if this will find you. Sonny’s daughter, she says sometimes things go viral online. Sometimes people pick up a story and they share it with some friends and those friends keep on sharing until a whole bunch of people have read it. I imagine that happening with this. I imagine you open up your emails and you see something from a friend telling you about this story they read and how they thought you might find it interesting. Maybe you’ll read it. Maybe you’ll recognize that I’m your dad and that I’m trying to find you and just maybe you’ll reach out.

I imagine a lot of things. Most of them are about you.

Anyway, I’m rambling. I could go all night when I start thinking about you. Start typing like I’m talking to you.

I just want to say I’m sorry. Even if you read this and you decide you don’t want to talk to me, just know that. Just know that I’m sorry.

There was a demon in me that needed to be expelled. After all these years, I think I finally got it. It’s safe to be around daddy now.

I love you.