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One of Lifes Lessons

“I wish I could just go live with Mom!”, he said.  His faint voice echoing through the walls, seeping through the  smallest cracks in the door, waning through the hall until it reaches it’s destination.  My ears.  Faint as it was, I wasn’t supposed to hear.  I did.

I’ve never really been hit in the gut.  I mean really really punched in the gut.  I can’t imagine it hurting anywhere near as bad as those words as they traveled through the innards and bowels of my being and came to a complete halt in my gut.  Festering.  Not passing through.  Just kinda hanging out, swimming in the acrid juice of my stomach.  Creating more acid, more pain with each passing moment.  

So this is how that feels?“, I say to myself.  Remembering, in a flash, those times, as a child or teen, when I had those thoughts as well.  No no, not just thoughts that stayed in my head.  No, the ones that made it from the inside of the head down and through the filter that separates the brain from the mouth.  I was being quiet though.

Now asking myself “I wonder if my dad heard me?”.  

(Laughter and pain in my head now as I prepare to share this with you)

I do recall a time when I was the teenager.  I was the smartest person in the house.  Mom and Dad, eh, they were “parents” and didn’t have a clue what was going on in the world.  How could they?  They were old.  We were using paper now (I even had a computer, yeah, one of those Commodore 64’s), not stone.  Dad and I had just gotten into an argument.  In my head, I could whoop him with one hand tied behind my back, I wasn’t scared of this ol’ man.  

My room was upstairs.  At the bottom of the stairs, probably about three feet in front of the last step, was the door that led to the outside.  I don’t remember what the argument was about, I’m sure it was very important.  Well, at the end of the argument I was at the foot of the stairs and Dad had stormed out the back door.  Yeah, big tough me ran him off.  Showed him.  

As he walked away, I give him my one last hoo raah.  He can’t see me, he’s walking away from the door.  I raise my fist in anger.  “I’ll show him!”, I said to myself.  And the bird sprouts it’s wings…the middle finger comes out as brazen as ever.

“Yeah buddy, take that!”, I said to myself

“…WHA!”, terror fills my soul

“..he just turned around, did he see!?!”

“…uh oh, OH GOD!!!…”

“he’s walking back…no no, scratch that…he’s trotting, running, back, I think he saw!”, that was the last thought for what seemed like 2 hours.  I recall that’s about how long it felt for him to get to the door. 

No longer terrified.  I was PETRIFIED!!  

The air that had puffed up my chest suddenly found it’s way into my stomach, through the colon, and out the rectum.  My brain, in this time of need, had just stopped working.  Shut down all bodily function, except trying to get rid of all the urine and feces, right there where I stood.  

Come, on!…Think..THINK…He’s AT THE DOOOR!“, I am pretty sure those thoughts could be heard.  Not because I said them, but because they had to be seeping through my pores. 

He had this look when he was really upset, mad.  I can’t describe it.  I think we all have a picture in our mind of our Dads that one time we made them really really mad.

The door swung open. 

“Heeee’s Heeerrrreee,”

“WHAT WAS THAT!?!”, he exclaimed.

(Turns out I still had a little feces left in me, just didn’t realize it until it too passed right then)

I was shaking. Still trying to come up with something….

“Uh..Uh.”, come on brain!

“I was..I was just throwing my fist up at you…that’s all…and and,” my voice had never sounded so girlie. Good grief. 

“….and my finger slipped…that’s all”, tears streaming down my face.

“ARE YOU SURE!?!”, he asked exclaimed.

“What, he’s buying it”, I thought.

“YES DADDY, I’M SURE.”, I was shaking like a leaf.

He turned and walked back out the door.  

I had gotten away with it, well, without getting my tail kicked anyway.  But turns out, I hadn’t really gotten away with it.  That’s one of those memories that has haunted me for the majority of my life.  It reared it’s ugly head when I heard my son say those words that struck me to my core.  I suppose it was payback or a wake up call.  I’m not sure.  But it reminded me of just how strong love is.  

That was not the first, nor the last time I would hurt my folks.  Remember, I’m a recovering alcoholic.  I’m not going to be naive enough to think that my dad didn’t know I was lying.  Sure he knew.  But he still loved me then, and has loved me everyday before and since.  

I also realize how much time I have wasted with my kids.  So many nights waiting for 8:30 to roll around so I could get them into bed and start drinking.  Come home from work, sit on the couch, and just wait.  Man, hurts me to the core.  

I can’t get that time back.  I can not dwell on that or it could plunge me back to the life of hell that I had before.  I can only move forward, and I am.  So thankful for the time I have with them now.  I’m glad I heard him say it, “I wish I could just go live with Mom!”, I love him.


Let me help you help yourself!


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