Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Barrel Tipping

My step-mother cleaned out the apartment and left with my brother and unborn sister for Cour d' Alene. Dad was screwing the neighbor, a thin blonde named Leanne, who was in the process of her own divorce, and had a son, Freddy Jr, who was two years my junior.

The smoke from my step-mom's squealing tires hadn't yet dissipated into the Hayden Lake sky when Dad announced his impending marriage to Leanne. Instantly I was part of yet another family, an older brother to another idolizing youth, and surrogate son to a fawning hopeful.

Leanne was one of the smart ones who saw early on the true face of the stranger to whom she was engaged, and decided to call it off. But she showed her true face too, the face of an angel, and tried to take me away from him, to give me a chance at living a normal life.

Leanne took me into her bathroom and shut the door. I sat on the toilet, the cover of which was down, and she kneeled in front of me and put her hands on my knees. Her eyes had crimson rings and tears flowed in winding rills.

"Scott, I'm leaving your father and I want you to come with me."

I was stunned, and normally would have laughed at such a gesture, for surely she couldn't be serious. Clearly she was, and I didn't know how to respond.

"You are such a good kid, Scott, and I can't bear to see you live with that man any more. You need a mother, and I want so much to take care of you."

"I don't know what to say Leanne."

"He is CRAZY Scott. There is something seriously wrong with him, and it isn't healthy for you to be with him any more. Come with me. I'm going back to my husband, and I've told him all about you, and he is as excited as I am. And Freddy is crazy about you."

I started to cry. How could I tell her no, and at the same time the life she described sounded so pleasant, so stable. At least it seemed so at the time. I didn't ask myself why a man would want to adopt the son of the man that was laying with his wife, or how a woman could be so attached to a boy she barely knew. This was Hayden Lake, the capital, as I would find out later in life, of the Arian Nation. Anything and everything was not as it seemed. But for all that, the little boy in that bathroom only knew one constant in life, and knew what he needed to do.

A violent pounding erupted at the front door. "Where the fuck is my son, Leanne!?"

She looked at me like a rabbit in a snare and shook her head, and her tears redoubled. "Don't go, I beg you."

"I-I-I'm sorry Leanne." I got up and left her on her knees, sobbing into her cupped hands. Her brother Tom was in the living room with a shotgun trained at the front door. "Don't open it," he warned.

"Scott?! Open this fucking door," Dad yelled in his most serious and deadly voice. I was compelled, by years of training, like a duck drawn by instinct to it's mother, and unlatched the deadbolt and stepped out into the night. "Good boy, now get in the truck."

Tom stepped into the doorway and aimed the shotgun at Dad's head. Dad walked towards him like a prowling lion.

"Get back," Tom said with forced conviction, but fear produced a warble in his voice.

"Put that gun down now or I'll take it from you and bash your fucking head in."

The gun barrel turned nervous circles for a moment, then slowly lowered.

Dad yelled past him through the doorway, "He's MY son, and nobody, NOBODY can have him." He turned on his heel, strode to the truck, hopped in and tore out with a deafening roar.

He looked at me. "What took you so long to come out?"

"Leanne wanted to keep me; she told me you're crazy."

"And you believed her."

"Well, I already knew that." We both laughed.

"Nothing else in this life matters to me, you know." Dad reached over and gave my shoulder a squeeze.

"I know dad, I just felt bad for her."

"I understand."

16 comments:

jenbeauty said...

Is it your sole goal to make us all tear up everyday?! lol

You were tempted I am sure. What a life to grow up in. Not quite sure how your dad is wired, but something in you keep you on such a straight path. I am sure you have made some wrong turns, but it is amazing to see you write about that life, unabashed.

Thanks for sharing, again.

Scott said...

I know what you mean Jen. Everyday I try to think of something funny that happened and I keep coming up with these.

jenbeauty said...

Some of the most tragic times can have a funny moment or two. They pop out in your writing. I notice them.

Your life speaks volumes to me. It seems that your parents (and mine, born during the war or just prior)were the earliest "baby boomers" more of the me generation than ours. Everyone talks about the 80s and about greed. How about the 60s and 70s and our parents finding themselves and doing whatever they wanted.

I don't have that in me. I wish I could go and do some things I did at 23, just to feel like me. But then reality comes into focus and that is not me. I can't always have what I want when I want it. Does that make sense.

I have really great parents, for the most part. But there are times that I think back and go WTF?!

Scott said...

Makes perfect sense Jen, we think about our children first, which seems to be the norm. Parents like us were scoffed at in our parents day, and didn't exist probably in our grandparents day.

trinamick said...

You know, every time I read this, I am glad I ended up living with my mom. I was so fortunate not to have been drug from one family to another. I missed seeing my dad, but I wasn't exposed much to his crazy lifestyle. It's great that you have come out of it a better person for your own family.

mr. schprock said...

"It's great that you have come out of it a better person for your own family."

Amen. What a story, Scott. This should be a movie.

Scott said...

Trin - I definitely know what you mean. You went through a lot of the same stuff, but from the other end, kind of like the way my brother lived, with only his mother who refused to remarry. It had it's moments.

Schprock - I'm working on the movie bit. I'm trying to figure out how to use my dad as a character in a movie, but he doesn't fit neatly. This is how I knew he loved me, times like this.

magnetbabe said...

What a story. I'm happy to see you are stopping the cycles of broken families and putting your problems upon your children. You know how painful it is and refuse to do that to your family. I applaud you.

Scott said...

Thanks MB for all your comments today. I'm trying my best. I yelled at my oldest over the weekend for playing with the garage door opener, then found out it was my youngest fooling around with it. He was so upset, so I apologized and said, "Even if it was you that did it I shouldn't have yelled at you. I should have found a better way to tell you so that you wouldn't feel bad." He perked right up, and I remember those few times when dad would apologize to me and how it made me feel. I guess that's why I still love him.

Mrs.T said...

Of course I wasn't there, but.. I just keep thinking she did love you. You deserved that.

Tee said...

Sometimes I wish you could see what could have happend if you'd made the other decision - to stay with Leanne... But that didn't make any sense that her husband would take you in - you're right. I wonder what was going on with that?

Scott said...

Mrs. T - Thanks, that was a sweet thought.

Tee - Those are the crossroads and the questions you ask yourself for a lifetime. No way would that have worked out in my opinion.

Beth said...

So, Scott, seriously ... what do you think about your dad? Did you ever regret living with him? I know your mother has many sordid tales of hurting you as well. I'm wondering where or if you found peace before leaving them.

Scott said...

I think he is ADHD, so I feel a little bad for him. He's broken down a few times and told me about how his parents abused him, and how his ex-wife was so cold to him that it ruined his ego, laid like a cold fish. Hard to tell what came first, the chicken or the egg. But I could understand his infidelity if that were the case. As far as how we lived, that's his spirit, and the way he played life has him secluded in the hinterlands with nobody to lean on but yours truly. I love dad, and yes I have made my peace, otherwise I couldn't write these stories without remorse, but the fact that I am writing them with such candor is a testament to the opposite effect too.

mr. schprock said...

Hey Scott, on a completely different tack, I watched my tape of last Tuesday's Rock Star show. Wouldn't you figure that that would be the night Jordis wasn't "feeling it"? I felt bad for Jessica, the one who sang "Come As You Are" and the INXS guy said she was too slick, while completely excusing Jordis for her lackluster performance. Good show though. Talented kids.

Scott said...

We still have it Tivo'd, and the little guy refused to go to sleep last night when we wanted to watch it, so I'll see it tonight. Jessica is always in the bottom three, so performances at this point aren't judged solely on that night. INXS remember is looking for a lead singer. After her performance the other night, she would have to streak naked and flip off the band to get cut now. I feel bad for Jessica though, because she is a sweet girl, which doesn't come across on stage. I don't know who got cut last night, but I'll find out when I watch. It is probably going to be Jessica though, as her time is borrowed. Her saving grace is that she sings INXS songs really well, and that is ultimately what matters on Wednesday nights, where the bottom three sing INXS and the band chooses the loser.