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. 

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