Monday, February 7, 2011

Late Night Maudlin Street- Pt. 5- How to Make Amends


I remember the day it was final, my father standing in the kitchen in his navy blue pin-striped suit, me all scruffy, both of us resigned to the fact that this house was no longer our home, my mother had yet to turn up and i had my bags packed to return to school, i didn't say goodbye to my mother, just got in the car and went back and finished up the last few weeks at Podunk U., graduate and get on with things, i had a room rented at the beach, a room she didn't know about, i had real jobs in advertising that i had turned down, i didn't have much else, maybe i did but i certainly didn't feel like it, so the old man changed his clothes and we got in the car and he drove me back, there was some kind of street festival going on and i asked the old man if he wanted to stay and drink some beer, told him he could crash in my room if he didn't feel like driving back and he just looked at me and smiled, he handed me $60 bucks and cracked about how now that shit was final he'd have a little bit of cash since the assets weren't all frozen, it'd been about 2 years since he'd lost his job and his wife and now his house, she got that in the settlement, my old man had told me once during this whole ordeal that it wasn't all bad, the 28 years of marriage, that he got the two most important things in his life out of it, meaning me and my sister, said that for all the shit over the past two years there were a lot of good times he'd remember as well, told me i should try and do that too, told me one night that he had this respect for his young and wild son, told me that i reminded him of his friends who'd served in Vietnam, said that i lived for the three inches in front of my face and not much else, an ability to live in the moment and not worry about the past or the future, said at times he thought if he could live his life over he'd live it just like me, being young and dumb at the time i took it as the best thing anyone had ever said to me and coming from him it meant the world, it told me that he had a bit of an understanding of his boy who had a tendency to reject the norms of society, we stood and talked as the carnival blared on behind us and it was like neither of us wanted to leave, partly cuz we didn't know where or when we'd see each other again, he gave me his new address and phone number and i gave him the address at my place in Ocean City, said i'd be in touch and with that i gave my old man a long hug and he said take care of yourself son and he turned and walked towards his car, i stood and watched and waved as he drove away both of us staring at the most uncertain of futures...

Which brings us to my mother. At this point my mother and i barely spoke and though she tried to communicate with her son the son was having nothing of it, as i stated in the past Late Night posts if there was one person who could inflict pain on her it was me so i set off to inflict as much as possible, in my book if she didn't want to talk about why she left my dad then i didn't feel the need to talk at all, i could see it in her face every time i ignored her, i could see the hurt in her eyes, see the pain in her expressions and though i wouldn't open my mouth i wanted to scream at her "how does that fucking feel" and laugh, i wanted to watch her cry, i wanted her to lose the thing she valued most, what most decent parents valued most, the love of her child and man was i fucking good at that, i could make her crumble without every raising my voice, just well timed jabs that cut through flesh and muscle, right to the bone, when i left and went back to school she had no way of contacting me, didn't know where i was going after i graduated and someone had told me she actually thought i was moving back to Cleveland, i don't know if she said to keep up appearances with her friends and neighbors or what but i got a good laugh out of it, the long and the short of it was that this was the spring of 93 and i wouldn't speak to her again until the summer of 94, nothing, not a phone call or a letter or anything, she had no idea of where i was or what i was doing, for all intents and purposes i had vanished, as if she never had a son...

On the day that i graduated from college i got up and smoked a ton of grass, drank a few beers and headed off to commencement to sit at the top of the gym and cheer for a few of my friends, i was exactly the third person on either side of my family to graduate from college, my father and my cousin being the other and i could sit here and tell you how i felt slighted by not having at least one person there or how i didn't get to don my cap and gown and walk across the stage and get my diploma but in reality i didn't give a fuck, i actually had a fine time smoking dope and drinking and my friend got some great photos of me higher than John Glenn and smelling flowers in the school's courtyard, it was a fine time indeed and the day was warm and i was packing my bags and soon i would head off towards the ocean to try and figure some things out but as we all know what i figured out was how to walk into the wilderness and man did i like it out there...

The next summer i was back at the beach and making french fries, was on a break and walking to buy some quarts of beer at 10am when i turned the corner and about shit myself, there she was, my mom and her friend, she said she had heard that i might be working down here and since she was down here she wanted to stop and say hi, i was civil and we talked for a moment and then i told her i needed to score some beer and she asked at 10am and i said yep and i could tell she was nervous and wanted to ask me what i'd been doing and when did i grow dreadlocks and where did the tattoos and piercings come from, in all it was the most uncomfortable 3 minutes either of us had spent in a long time, her friend just hung back and watched us and then my mom asked me to dinner and i said when and she said tonight? and i said working, she said tomorrow? i said stop back and i'll see and then i turned and headed towards the supermarket, no hug or kiss on the cheek, just walked off and as i turned and glanced up the street i could see she was crying, part of me wanted to charge back up the block and ask what the fuck did she expect? part of me just wanted that icy cold quart of Mickey's to numb myself up, you see my mother and i had been close for most of my life, hell i was a momma's boy for the first ten or so years of my life but as i became a teenager i tended to talk to my old man more about shit but i was always joking with her, we'd talk about all kinds of stuff and since i'm a big lug i'd give her a hug and swing her around and she'd laugh, my mom treated my great for most of my life, right up until that point where she left my father and the communication broke down and i couldn't understand and she wouldn't help me to, for twenty years i was in the most stable of families, my friends used to say how i had the coolest fucking parents and when shit fell apart i was devastated, no one wants to see the two people they love the most turn on each other, you question every thing you were ever taught, you question if your whole life was a fucking lie and so when she turned up the next night to see if i could go to dinner i said no that i had to work, she had come some 500 odd miles to see her son for a sum total of 7 minutes and that was fine with him cuz he was a right bastard... to be continued.

10 comments:

daisyfae said...

i'm pretty sure you knew this one was going to make me cry... looking forward to part 6...

sybil law said...

Oh, kono. I've missed you.

twin said...

as the mom of a boy.....sigh. he is my world...& I can only hope he/we don't develope the same relationship as my mother & i. you really know how to make'em cry.....

nursemyra said...

Oh too heartbreaking Kono. It really killed me when my younger son withdrew into himself and barely spoke to me for three years. We have a fantastic relationship now but god that was a fuckin painful time. Lost count of how many nights I cried myself to sleep over him

Jayne said...

Kids can kill their parents. (And, vice versa of course.)
Continue, continue - want more from the one who was a right bastard.

livingladolcevita said...

Ah, fuck, Kono. You've made me cry. Big fat tears. (Beautiful, beautiful words).

Kono said...

Part 2 coming soon.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Listen, pal, part 2 had better provide some data on why mom walked out or I'm coming out there and demanding the full story. There are two sides to every messy divorce and, typically, you shouldn't trust either one to be the whole truth.

It was the opposite for me. I went 20+ years without talking to dear old dad. When I got married I dumped his name and too my wife's name. Boy, that showed him.

Re: Big Dumb Ben and the Steelers. The good guys won for once. Miraculous, since each team I back, no matter from what city, tanks. I didn't watch the last 0:02 for fear of another historic comeback. So I missed the end but that's okay.

JMH said...

It seems a bit of a sacrilege to comment, that's not the right word of course, but this seems so incredibly human that I want to participate. I am human. Empathy is an asshole.

Rassles said...

I'm always impressed by the boldness and utter confidence you beat into your posts. No hesitation, just raw awesome. Awesome.