Wednesday, May 15, 2013

NICK, 38

You always remember what you were looking at. You don't remember what exactly was said or the syntax, or order, but you always remember what you were looking at when it hit. The reality that your life would never be the same. That you're parents weren't perfect. Ducks. I was looking at ducks. My parents took me the Zoo. In Philly they have this big pond, they're famous for it. It's in that book about a swan by the guy who wrote Charlotte's Web? No? Anyway it's huge, huge pond. And my Dad sits me there, and I'm so excited, so excited to go to the zoo with my parents, together. And I'm looking at these ducks, this duck family, with the mom and the dad with the green head I think, and these little baby ducklings,  and I think that's just like us, the three of us, together, and then he says it. That he's leaving my mother, moving back to Charlotte.  My mother doesn't say anything, she just cries, holds my hand. And it was done.  He said he'd see me in the Summers, he didn't even offer to take me with him. Like I was some consolation prize for her. "Sorry the marriage thing didn't work out, but here's this kid".  In one sentence my father managed to ruin Zoos and water fowl. And I just smiled and I said "Okay". I didn't ask any questions. I didn't ask about the work trips on the weekends, and sitting in the volvo when he ran into a friends house. I didn't want my mom to hear, or try to answer for him. I was a kid, he was my dad, and what he said I believed. Until the ducks. I went to Charlotte every other Christmas, every year she'd get me fishing equipment, and I don't fish.  He didn't get me in the Summers. The drive was too far for her, and she didn't want him to leave her alone with the baby. My mom tried to take me to the zoo, but I'd always get sick the day before. 

I don't want that for my kids, with Julie and I. I know things change, people change. I'm not saying I'm going to stay in a marriage that doesn't work. But if it does happen, if I do have to tell them, I'm going to make sure they're looking at me. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

It's the silence.


It's the silence that kills you. The deafening silence and an idle mind. Friends stop calling because they don't know what to say, and you don't know what to say either.  So you're glad they don't. Her parents don't know how to treat me, and mine are useless. My mother keeps sending me cards.  And I hear people, I hear people saying it because I'm sure I've said it. "At least they didn't have children".  Like that's better, like I can just wipe it away with no record. No one to be accountable to. We almost did, I guess it wasn't a kid really it was an almost. We had broken up for a year, got back together. We'd only been dating six months, and I was just about to take the bar, and she didn't know what to do with her life. We weren't really solid. We just weren't ready, it just wasn't- and I wouldn't have been a good dad, not then at least, but um "Thank God!" No one to explain this to. Not that I could explain it to anyone you know? People just look at you different. I have this buddy from grade school, who I haven't told, because he looks at me, how people looked at me from before. He looks at me like me. And when he asks how I'm doing, he's genuinely asking, not asking to make himself feel supportive. There's no congratulatory empathetic pause when he asks, he just asks, and if he listens for a response it's cause he chooses to.  I'll tell him eventually, when it comes up. But it's waking up at six in the morning with no shower running, no clothes left on the bathroom floor, no half drunken french press. No sounds of the clinking, the heels in the hall.  She liked the idea of a no shoes household but we never got there, she had to see how they looked, every morning. She could have worn them with the same outfit a million times but she had to see. Like it could change. So there was the clicking. She was small but loud, always listening to music, always humming, always moving.  Sometimes it annoyed me, she'd never stay put. But it's the silence that's what does it.