Friday, November 18, 2005

False Start

For those interested in what happened to Brenner, there really isn't much to tell. I've thought about looking him up on many occasions, and have even looked him up on Switchboard over the last couple years. I appears that he is now unlisted, but current background reports are available if I wanted to purchase them--which is just a little scary.

Actually, that's not a bad idea. He had my vote as being the most likely to be jailed. I see that he is currently living in a California town where I had once spent a couple months working with my father before I took my first professional programming position (say that ten times fast). A coincidence I'm sure, but a passing strange one.

My dad and Brenner's mom divorced after their short and tumultuous marriage. Like most divorces that I have experienced, they can be likened to a false start penalty in football. Once the flag is thrown, the ball is set back ten yards, but the lost yardage is usually regained--but not enough for a first down. And always the inevitable punt.

The false start happened in a house boat on beautiful Lake Couer d'alene.

"I have some bad news," Cynthia told us. She was sitting on the floor Indian style, facing us as we sat on the couch. "Your dad and I are getting divorced."

"That took longer than I expected," I said. Cynthia was my second step-mother. My first was abusive and Cynthia came to represent the entire institution to me, though she was innocent of any such cruelty.

"That sucks!" Brenner said. "So what's going to happen?"

"Well," Cynthia said, "I guess we'll go our separate ways, and you'll come with me and Scott will stay with his dad."

Finally! I will be free of the little shit.

Brenner's eyes were moist. "But I don't want to go with you! I want to stay with dad!"

My heart stopped for a moment. His cold-blooded comment to his natural mother made me regret my own. I felt like reaching out to her, to take back what I had said, but the damage was done.

Cynthia had trouble speaking, for the words had cut her deep. "We'll just have to talk about it when the time comes." She went to her room and slid the door shut.

But the divorce didn't happen until a few years later, after we had moved to Juneau. They left on a typical southeast Alaskan day, when rain fell like a foggy mist. We saw them off at the airport terminal, no tears, just empty promises to keep in touch.

I talked to Brenner on the phone once, maybe six months later. I don't know why I called. I guess I romanticized him for our shared time in the trenches, which wasn't all bad. But like facing an ex-lover that you wanted to kill but since have remembered only fondly, the memories came flooding back with a single utterance from his puss-spewing lips.

That was the last time we ever spoke, some twenty five years ago.

11 comments:

Mrs.T said...

I wasn't able to have any contact with my half brothers until much later in my life. I find now that I still don't know what to talk about with them sometimes...

mr. schprock said...

Brenner probably works for a collection agency now, little bastard.

Scott said...

Mrs T - It's sad, isn't it? What you've learned of course is that you had nothing to really say ever I think.

Mr. Schprock - I was thinking drug smuggler, but you really hit him below the belt! =8>)

Eve said...

I can't imagine what it would be like to skip from step-parent to step-parent. My mother and father were married for 52 years when my father died.

My vote is for IRS tax auditor or proctologist - wait, isn't that the same thing?

Moni said...

My stepmonster was exactly that. lol I was eventually cast off from that family, which is okay. I guess she gave my dad an ultimatum. About 15 years later she saw me and invited me to their house. She seemed truly sorry for how she treated me. It's funny how coming face to face with mortality forces you to give your conscious a good clean scrub. Ha!

I think Brenner might work for the DMV in my hometown. ;)

The Zombieslayer said...

Brenner's eyes were moist. "But I don't want to go with you! I want to stay with dad!"

Wow, I couldn't imagine how she felt when those words hit her.

The Zombieslayer said...

Whoa. the Cowboys won again. You might be right about your Boys. They demolished the Lions offense.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Hmm.

Hopefully Brenner is not insane, or wreaking his petty vengeance on friends and lovers.

Scott said...

Eve - Funny! You are one of the lucky ones then, one of the kids I looked up to for being so stable.

Moni - Shame on your dad then. If I ever got such an ultimatum...

Zombie - I know. Especially now that we're parents...

As for the Cowboys, and like I said before, I may have spoken a little hastily. We won it's true, but we have problems. This isn't the 90's team, and I'm not ungrateful, but there are some hard games coming up that will really test where this team is. I'll wax poetic if we beat the Broncos.

UTMG - I seriously wonder about that myself.

jenbeauty said...

I don't think I would want him in my life if I were you Scott. There are some folks you just have to let go of. And the comment to his mom, so sad.

Eve said...

Denver scares me. Period. But I've promised Joely we would beat them so they have to because I try never to break promises. :-)