It finally happened. I saw them both. We were all in the store. It was just a coincidence, happenstance….or are there no coincidences? I followed them around the store while my father longingly looked back as his unsympathetic wife walked faster and faster. It was as if he were trying to stop, but couldn’t. I could tell by the look on his face. It was ….”I’m sorry”….”I love you”…..”I have no choice.” She was cruel but her crocodile tears were starting. They always came….she was a professional. She could have won an Oscar so many times over the past 30 or so years…it was a true hidden talent….but I knew that’s all it was…a talent, acting…not real tears. Maybe this time she was genuinely scared. Scared of my wrath, as the anger was growing on my face. Scared of my letting the truth out, calling her out on her lies and manipulations. But I saw the slight grin surface a few times around each corner. She knew what she was doing and didn’t care. What made me sad…more than anything was that my father was going along with it all. Dodging me, pretending to ignore every time I yelled to him…asking him….”Please, please stop!…I need to talk to you! I have to talk to you!” I started to cry….the kind of cry that is almost inconsolable. Sobbing, my chest heaving with every breath and step I took.
It was as if I were in slow motion. I was trying to catch up so desperately, but there were people everywhere. The store was so busy and flooded with potential consumers that just seemed determined to block my every move. I finally caught up to them. I didn’t say a word at first. I just stared at my father for a minute that seemed like a lifetime. The type of stare that buckles your knees and says everything without uttering a word. I was puzzled, dumbfounded, hurt, shocked, visibly upset…but only slightly angry. My chest hurt so badly. I was squeezing as if I were in a vice. It seemed impossible to speak, but I finally could.
“Why are you doing this.”, I sobbed to him. “I just don’t understand. Just what am I supposed to say to Jakob”. I started to yell. “He is only eight years old…a little boy…he doesn’t know what he did “wrong”.” I was now spewing at him.
He had no defense. He knew he was wrong. He had hardly spoke to me in the last year and a half and had called Jake about ten times. His wife, who Jake had called Mom-Mom at one time, had not spoken to him in over two years. No phone calls, letters, holiday or birthday gifts that she picked out. He only received what my father picked out and signed her name to the card.
“Jake has done nothing!”, I screamed. “He is so innocent and good-hearted. He is kind and wants to know why “Mom-Mom” doesn’t care about him any more. He wants to know why everyone he has known for the past seven years has disappeared out of his life. He wants to know what he did “wrong.” I finally screamed at both of them.
She was “crying”…. A meek, simple sob that would absolutely be figured out by the majority of strangers and most family members. I knew it so well. My father was always reeled in., but he was different this time. He seemed to know that she was the reason, but he had no choice. He kept stumbling over every word. He couldn’t complete a sentence. He was crying now too. I have seen my father cry a few times, but not like this. He was truly sorry, empathic….with a look on his face that said everything. He was helpless. He was a pussy.
“We can’t trust you. We never could. You have always caused problems for your father and I will not see him hurt any longer. I am done with all of your bullshit for all of these years.”, she spit at me. Her eyes were dark with nothing behind them. I had heard this speech so many times before. It was ridiculous. I could not have possible been that bad for thirty years.
“What does that have to do with my son!” I screamed into her face. I was up close to her, intimidating and angry. I always knew deep down she was scared of me. Scared that eventually my father would finally listen to me. That he would would hear how she treated my sisters and I over the years. I was never afraid of her. I never backed down from a fight with her. I called her out on every evil, manipulative move she made. She had said to me so many times over the years….”I will deny everything I say to you, so don’t bother saying anything to anyone because they will never believe you.” She was right….they never did.
I was pleading with my dad…..”Daddy, please…why are you doing this to Jake?….I don’t want you to hate me, but it doesn’t matter if it means you’ll stop what you are doing to him. Jake is so sad some days. I don’t know what to say. I am sick of lying….telling him that you and her are so busy…that you work so much, even though you are supposed to be retired. I am tired of having my son think your wife is a good person when she absolutely is not!”
“I don’t understand.” I said as more and more tears were streamed down my face. All three of us were unaware of anyone else in the store. The people all seemed to go about their business in slow motion. They were all a blurry haze of everyday life passing me by. My father didn’t seem to care either. Normally he would avoid any public display of this sort. His wife kept looking around…as if anyone really could give a shit. They had lives to lead, bills to pay, grocery lists to fill. She was always putting up a front. No, no…nothing is wrong in my life…I have the perfect life…a huge home, a rich husband…and I was able to turn him against his three daughters…it was so easy.
What kind of man lets that happen? What kind of woman lets a man choose her over his children?….But we are talking about her. She hates kids. She hated us as kids. Now as adults, she saw no reason to find any possible imperfection or nuisance to make my father’s life so miserable that he was willing to ignore his daughters. At that very moment… I didn’t care what he was doing to me. I was protecting my son. I was standing up for my child who loved unconditionally and didn’t understand what he could have done that was so awful that his own grandfather hardly spoke to him…..that his so-called Mom-Mom hadn’t talked to him in over two years and hadn’t step foot into our home in over three years in Pennsylvania before we moved to Florida.
My father just kept sputtering…trying to catch the right words. There was an obvious look of “I am so sorry for all I have put you through over these years. I wish I could change it all. I wish I had a relationship with you”. It was everything I ever wanted to hear, but it wasn’t why I was so angry….Jake…why would he torture a poor little boy that he used to take almost very weekend to fly in one of his planes. Jake loved it so much. He would tell everyone he could…”My Pap-Pap is a pilot. He has his own planes and lets me fly them all the time. I know how to fly a plane.” He was so proud…so sincere….it broke my heart.
It ended almost as quickly as it started. We were being pulled apart by her. My arm was out stretched….with so much pain on my face. He had the same look of pain. He kept asking me, “Do you need anything? Does Jake need anything? I’ll give you whatever you need! If you need any help. please let me know!”
I yelled… “No. …I don’t need or want that kind of help! I don’t need your money….I need for you to be a grandfather to my son! Don’t do to him what you did to me! He doesn’t deserve it! He did nothing wrong!”. Tears were flowing so much that I could see any longer. She was pulling him father away. I was screaming at him.
“Call Jakob!..Call your grandson! He doesn’t understand! He just a little boy you bastard!” It was my final good-bye as she whisked him far out of my reach. I was sobbing so heavily. I didn’t answer the people…strangers asking me if I were all right. My mind was boggled and nothing was resolved….as always. I had a glimmer of hope that everything was going to go back like it used to be… but it was gone as quickly as it came.
The sobs kept coming. I couldn’t control it…I was inconsolable. I hurt so badly for my child…..Jake loved him and her so very much…..I had never felt such pain and controllable grief…it was a loss greater than any death I had ever experienced….because it was a chosen loss…. by my father.
I woke up grasping my chest, tears streaming down my already soaked face. I was crying during the whole dream. I still could not control it. Jake was sleeping next to me. I hugged him so hard, but not enough to wake him. I love him so much…..everyone always tells people that you will never know such a love until you have children….I never believed it until I had Jake. I would die and kill for him. Everything was so fresh and real. I was there. My dad was there. She was there. It really happened….it couldn’t end like this? Why was it all a dream!!! Why was my son going to still question himself and what he did wrong to have this all happen to him. I was still crying, but starting to become angry.
I got up and went to the bathroom. I washed my face off and brushed my teeth. The clock said 1:46 AM. I cried the whole time.
It’s 2:58 AM now. I am done with the dream, but I am still sobbing uncontrollably. I had to wipe my eyes so many times just to see the screen. My chest doesn’t hurt any longer. I am starting to calm down. Jakob had a sleep over with his cousin, Skylar. She keeps waking up and moving around, but I think she is still sleeping. The computer is right next to where she is sleeping. I am going to check on her.
I just can’t believe it is over. It was so real. It still seems within my grasp….like maybe when I fall back asleep I could pick up where I left off…but that never happens in my dreams no matter how hard I try.
I guess no matter how much I say that I am OK, I am still not over all the hurt from my father. Maybe I will call a therapist in the morning.