1. Your father is not your real father. Don't laugh. Look me in the eye and tell me I'm joking. The man you've called "Dad" all these years is not your father. You're a college graduate now; you're old enough to know, mature enough to know. So now you know.
2. Your real father is Ken Saxby. Mr. Saxby, the guidance counselor. Yes, Allison's father. God, this is all spilling out of me. Don't you tell me that you don't want to hear this. Out here in the real world, the truth doesn't care what you want. I will say my truth.
3. I was already pregnant when I met your father. Ken was a beautiful, troubled young man, and he had these sad grey eyes, like harbors in a storm. His father forced him into the service. We spent the night before he shipped out to Kuwait in his Trans Am, drinking peppermint schnapps and making love on the hot leather. A month later, my mother introduced me to a boy sitting in our living room, tugging at his tie. A good boy. I married him.
4. He's always loved you. Ken sent cards on your birthday, year after year. I'll show you in a minute. He worked so hard, he's always worked so hard, picking up shift after shift at the autobody, at the post office, driving cabs, all for you. And every dime he saved went into your savings account. So you could have an SAT tutor. So you could buy textbooks. So you could study abroad. He would have given anything just to see you in your cap and gown. You really have no idea just how much you owe him.
5. But we never touched each other, not once. I watched those sad grey eyes watch me every time I dropped you off and picked you up at school. Every night I slept a mile and three quarters from the only man to ever touch my heart, next to a man who had none. But you always came first, you have to understand, every moment of pain was for you, for this, for now.
6. I'm leaving your father. Now that you're out of school, it's time for us to be the family we were always meant to. Ken has the car all packed; he and Allison will be here within the hour, long before your fath– before Paul comes home. We can't wait another minute more; another night apart could kill us. We'll go to Oregon, Ken has family there. We're not starting over. We're finally beginning.
7. You have no right to speak to me like that. You have no idea what I've endured, waiting for this moment. I've lived a lifetime with my deepest soul bound up so tight I would wake up in the dead of night feeling like I'd already died, like a ragged memory of myself. And these last four years, while you've been gone, every minute felt like drowning, drowning and drowning, down, down, never knowing which gasping breath would finally be my last. I would do anything now, hurt anyone, to breathe again.
8. It's all about your network. 95% of the jobs you apply for, you'll never hear from again. To them, you're just a résumé in a tower of résumés. Ultimately, it's people – professionals, mentors, and friends – who will carry your career wherever they're willing to take you, and people hire people, not résumés. Because you never know who might have the perfect opportunity for you down the line, and a missed opportunity can poison your heart forever. So get out there and meet people!
9. He's here. He's outside. Oh, god. Oh, my god. You will come with us, won't you? You have to. Who will your family be? Paul, who only remembers he has a family when they block his view of the Vikings game? Please, you'll learn to love Ken. If you don't come, what has all this been for? What has any of it been for? Please, you have to come. You have to.