This is just a small portion of a much longer chapter I have written. I left a out a lot out of respect for my family. However, if anyone ever offers to pay me for these stories, scrw 'em, they're on the own, lol :-)
What happened between my mother and my father will in some ways forever be a bit of a mystery to me. They were on again, off again high school sweethearts, both from big catholic families. My dad grew up in a house where he could never quite measure up; my mother grew up in a house of chaos. Lets all say it together “dysfunctional”. There are three things my family thrives on love, laughter, and drama. Sometimes I think we thrive on resentment as well, although it’s always simmering just beneath the surface. We love to play the blame game. You know the one? I’m messed up because my parents are messed up. My parents are messed up because their parents are messed up and on and on and on. In fact even as a small boy I was very familiar with the story of how my Great Grandmother in Lebanon wanted to be a nun, however she was betrothed to my Great Grandfather so basically his family just came and took her. I think it’s safe to say that kidnapping is a shaky foundation on which to build a family, wouldn’t you agree? It sort of sets the tone for the generations to follow. The problem with the blame game is it never really ends does it? Ultimately who are we supposed to blame, Eve? Well, hell I would’ve eaten the fruit too! I bring up my parents childhoods because they directly affected mine, from my father’s sense of failure, to my mother’s fear of every man becoming her father. It is those two things I think contributed the most to their break-up. For many years though, their marriage was good and they were happy.
Divorce affects each kid in a family differently. I think a lot of it depends on age. When my parents divorced I was six. I didn’t really get it. I don’t really remember any of it either. He was just gone one day and I was told he be coming for me every Sunday, I just accepted it. I cannot remember my dad in the house. There are pictures, and in them I am old enough that I should remember, but I don’t. I have earlier memories, ones that pre-date their split but it’s like my dad has been photo-shopped out of them. The point is other than occasional flashes, I have few clear memories of any fighting or of my dad’s growing surliness and isolation. One of the few memories of that time that I can conjure up is hearing the doorbell ring one night. I remember going downstairs in my Spider-man pajamas and finding my mother at the back door, locked out. I had to stand on a stool and unlock the chain. I remember her crying, just a little and carrying me to bed. She smelled like perfume and her breath smelled faintly of wine. That combination is one of my favorite scents in the world. It will forever take me back to the nights when my newly single mother would go out then sneak into my room and kiss me goodnight. I still vividly recall going to sleep that night, in my six- year-olds bed, with my favorite Mickey Mouse pillowcase, listening to the roar of the hallway attic fan, and realizing that my father had locked the door because my mother had gone out. She had done the same thing to him on other occasions. This is a strange memory for me because as I said before I have no consistent memories of my father in the house. But I sure as hell remember that night. I also wonder why I was the only one who heard the doorbell but I guess that in the great scheme of things, I’ll let that one go unanswered.
I could beat myself up, and more to the point beat my parents up for the rest of my life with questions like, why did their marriage fail? Should they have stayed together? Who would I have grown up to be if they had? But in truth all these are, are questions. Questions that can never be answered really and in the end will drive you crazy if you don’t let it go. My parents did get divorced and my father became a kind of stranger. I still saw him but to me he was the bad guy, and my mother was the good. He was the one who broke up the family and broke my mommy’s heart. When you are six, you are allowed such clear-cut explanations. One person is right, the other is wrong, so my mother became superwoman, and my father became an outsider. Only now, in recent years am I starting to see all the shades of gray in my once black and white interpretation of what happened between them.
There were many factors that contributed to my parent’s divorce; financial stress, my dad’s job and drinking, and my mother’s intolerance of her children growing up in a home like the one she had. We never did live in that kind of environment, but things certainly were beginning to go down that road. One of the reasons for this, one of the hair triggers for my father’s temper was the shadow that fell over our little family, the elephant in our living room, the one thing that aside from my repressed sexuality and estrangement from my father; has affected my life the most. A force of nature named Alli. Get set people, here she comes!