Thursday, June 23, 2011

a brief history of the inevitable.

My parents divorced in February of 1992. I was six years old - or as I likely would have told you at the time an elderly six and three quarters. I was precocious and inquisitive, likely to be found rattling on about imaginary friends and fairy tales or holding court in a room full of Barbie dolls. But in February of 1992, I was the only child of a marriage that lasted just shy of eight years, the only bullet loaded in for that particular game of Russian Roulette - and the judges and lawyers were firing the gun.

Full custody was awarded to my mother and my father never contested it. In all my years he has never done anything else for which I am as grateful. A piece of paper with a signature I'll never recognize mandated that every other Friday and sometimes on holidays I would find myself clutching a small suitcase and journeying an hour or two from my home, my toys and my mother. If these occasions made me feel anything but inconvenienced and lonely, I can't remember now.

My mother's family, which I have never referred to as anything more than mine, was loud and more alive than most. Four walls could barely contain us and we would often spill into cousin's backyards and onto aunt's kitchen tables. Laughter rang out over lively conversations, debates heated up over coffee and someone, somewhere, was always cooking something. When I recall my childhood - these feelings frozen in time, these bits of family video that loop my mind, are by far my favorite. So it was always with a heavy heart and a feeling of loss that I would climb into my father's car and take off up the highway for a weekend that I was sure could never equal the one that I was missing.

The ink had barely dried on the divorce papers before my father had moved the last of his things into the home of his former mistress turned girlfriend. Together they shared her stiff, child fearing townhouse and for two weekends a month I lived out of a suitcase in the guest room. They tried, often too hard, to make me feel welcome and keep me entertained but the rules were different, the house was cold and the food tasted funny. Sunday could never come quickly enough.

There were nights when I was reprimanded for crying, for missing my mother, for wanting to go home. I was made to feel guilty that my honest emotional distress made my father feel inadequate. The subject of whether or not he really was inadequate was never open for discussion.

1 comment:

  1. Great piece, very well written and paced.

    I was 4 when my parents split, and I don't even have memories of what they were like as a couple. This is a theme I will soon be tackling in my blog as well.