In childhood and through adolescents I went to my grandmother Jasmine's house every weekend. And every weekend was spent with my mother sitting at the table making conversation with grandma, while my father either was off hunting with his cousins, or getting drunk and passing out. My mother would sit in her head replaying the moment when she made the mistake of marrying my father. And I wonder if she regretted it the very moment it happened. And through it all, I had no idea, and just assumed we were all happy and would live together forever.
For 18 years, she probably wanted to runaway from the same mundane routine. Even though her routine is just as mundane as it always has been, it is at least on her terms as an independent woman. I have no doubt that she resents every bit of him, even though she made four beautiful children with him.
As a kid, I was never aware of them having sex, until I overheard one conversation they had. Before they divorced, I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't having sex at all for months or longer. Because none of my siblings and I really had bedrooms or beds for that matter, sometimes we would sleep in my parents bedroom. One night I was pretending to be asleep in their room with the door open. I hear my mother saying something like "No" or some kind of refusal of sex, and I hear my father say, "So you expect me to jack off in the bathroom?" And something in my mind changed from then on about my perspective on men and relationships. I quickly fell asleep.
One day before I went to church, at the age of 14 or 15, he sat at his computer desk after we got back from grandma Jasmines. There, an envelope with a letter inside was situated on the keyboard. He opened it up and looked at me: "Your mother wants to get a divorce." I hug him and feel his confusion, and it's no telling what he did when he dropped my siblings and I off at church. Mom was probably at my grandma Lucy and grandpa George's house at the time, and stated that's where she would be and to take care of the kids for now.
Those months blurred together, because it seemed like he pleaded to mom and said he would change, and in fact quit drinking before all of this. Mom stayed at my grandparents, and dad put us on the bus for school and I really don't remember him working much or at least not a lot back then while my mother worked nights as a nurse. When all of us went to bed, he stayed up watching porn in the dark kitchen with the computer light reflecting across his glasses.
Eventually mom came back home and dad struggled to made some peace, and it just wasn't working for mom, so she told dad to move out. He packed up some of his stuff to live with grandma Jasmine, funny enough, back in his old bedroom. I remember the day he was taking his stuff while everyone except me was out of the house, and he took our desktop computer (the only thing in the world I treasured.) And maybe it upset him because I didn't cry that he was leaving, and I cried that he was taking the computer. I screamed for him to leave the computer.
Another memory I have after that was dad moving back in, and that evening as I was pretending to nap on the couch, I hear conversations between my dad and brother. My dad said he wanted me to go with him to help him pack up his things, and my brother told him that I (me) thought dad was weird. I felt how uncomfortable that was for everybody in the room and so I get up and help dad pack up his shit again to bring back. Well very soon after that, he was moving back out to live with his mother. Quickly he got a job at a factory and dated some women. One black woman he wanted to date, his mother (my racist grandmother) told him he wasn't allowed.
Between all of those moments, I struggled with my own relationship with the boy next door. I felt like I was in the middle of my parents' divorce, getting pushed and pulled and dragged, all the while I was sneaking my next door neighbor boyfriend in my bedroom at night to have sex. Surprisingly my dad never found the boy next door in my room even though we were very loud and the bed squeaked. Eventually my mom knocked on my door one night and asked who I was talking to, and of course I said: "I'm talking to myself" because that's actually not that weird for our family. The boy next door sneaked out of the window and shoeless into the night.
During all of this horrible shit with my parents, I experienced my first love and breakup, and I dated another boy I had intercourse with a couple times, and I left him to go back with the boy next door. And not long afterwards, the boy next door became the man that has lived with me for the last 11 years. I went to college to party, get shit faced, high, tripped. And those years pass so fast, although it does seem like the hard parts never end. And I've had terrible moments in my life that I feel will never end, and somehow they do resolve themselves--but I'm stuck replaying the past in my head.
This is but one story of my life, and I am the product of the many other stories that form their own dimensions. I have some animosity left for my dad that may be because of my mother, but he is a changed person. He is a person I can't relate to, I can't have a conversation with, nor can I tell good stories or anything about my life because we are so distant-- I wouldn't know where to begin. He really doesn't know me and I don't know him, and I write this to express what I remember of him and what he doesn't know of me.