I re-read the story last night – don’t worry, this part is almost over. I don’t know that all this was necessary for you to know, as it does not directly pertain to you, but there is one lesson I learned as a result of all that has gone so far. Pay attention, and remember, because it is one of the most important lessons I have to teach you.
The lesson is that your experiences in life, the good, the bad and the ugly, is what makes you who you are, who you are inside. Someone who went through life without anything bad happening to them would be a very one-dimensional kind of person. There is a certain kind of depth and wisdom that negative experiences will imprint on someone.
For that reason, I am telling you now that if I had it all to do all over again, if I was standing again at that fork in the road that lead to Seattle and home in one direction, and PK and ShitFuckTown in the other direction, I would still do the same as I did then. Who is to say that if I didn’t go that route, that I would have met your Daddy and had you? Who is to say that something worse might not have happened?
I learned very valuable lessons, fairly cheaply, in ShitFuckTown…important lessons that I am still learning from. So don’t ever what-if yourself, son. Do what seems to be right at the time and take your chances that it might not work out. Because what you go through makes you who you are, and to give up those experiences and memories would be to change what makes you…you.
That evening, PK and I went for a drive. I knew he was leaving the next day, and I just wanted to make it through the next couple of hours and into the next morning without incident so he would leave and I could get on with my life.
We drove around the neighborhood for a while, not really saying much of anything, just kind of small talk. I was vaguely surprised that PK didn’t try arguing more…earlier that day I had made clear again that I was not returning with him to ShitFuckTown. I chalked it up to the fact that he must finally have realized that it was a lost cause.
I should have known better.
We were sitting in the parking lot of the elementary school down the street from my mother’s house when he turned to me in the darkness.
“I don’t know how to tell you this, 2N,” he said, almost gently. One would almost think that he actually cared. “Your mom and I talked today, and when we get back, they’re going to tell you that if you don’t come back with me tomorrow, you won’t be able to stay with them.” He paused. I could feel the satisfaction coming off him in waves.
I didn’t really believe him. I figured this was more manipulation on his part to make me go with him, one last desperate card to lay on the table. I just stared at him and said, “It doesn’t matter. I’m not going back with you.” But inside, I wondered. I had nowhere else to go other than my grandparents, and they lived forty minutes away and I had no way to get there. A worm of uneasiness started squirming through my stomach. Would my mom really do that?
Turns out, she would.
“You’ve run away from everything you’ve ever done in your life. I can’t let you run away from this. You’re a quitter, and I wouldn’t be a good mother if I let you continue.” All this, delivered with some kind of smug, self-righteous attitude that screamed, grated in my head.
A good mother? Please.
A good mother supports her child. A good mother would remove her child from a situation where they were getting hurt, no matter what the reason was, no matter the situation. A good mother does not throw her child back in with the wolves and tell them to “buck up and take responsibility.” A good mother would have: Kicked. His. Ass.
“Really, mom? Really? Well how about you live in a situation where all your money is taken as soon as you make it so that your husband can go party, while you make do with underwear that have holes in them and one bra to wear all the time? Why don’t you live in a situation where your husband opens a door with your face, and “accidentally” knocks you halfway across a room? Or because you defend yourself, plows your head into a wall? How about you live in MY situation, in MY head, and THEN you can have a fucking opinion about whether or not I am a quitter!” I was raging. I have never spoken to my mother that way, not before or after. I was so hurt, so impossibly betrayed, that I didn’t even care any more. I felt like my heart was breaking into little bitty pieces and then she was walking all over them. Then telling me it was for my own good.
The rest of the night was spent in arguments and screaming and tears. My mom held firm, and through it all, I could feel PK’s satisfaction that my mother, my family, was supporting him and not me.
Finally I wound down. Nothing I was saying was making any sense to anyone, or they just weren’t listening. Finally I got up, got dressed for bed, and without a word went into what used to be my room, when this was home (and not where strangers lived). PK stayed up talking with my family and eventually came to bed.
What should I have done? I should have sat myself on that couch and refused to move, I should have told them that if my mom really felt good about kicking me out when I was asking for her help, then I would sleep on the porch. I should have walked myself to my grandparent’s in Bellevue. Anything, anything at all, rather than what I did. Which was to shut my mouth, give up, and go to bed.
Around three in the morning, I tiptoed out of the bedroom and fumbled around until I found the phone. I dialed my grandparent’s number, but no one answered. Again and again I tried, and no one would pick up the phone. I left three voicemails on their phone that night, but not surprisingly, it was three AM and they were asleep. I tried to sneak in a phone call in the morning while PK and my stepfather were loading the remnants of my great escape into the back of his red Chevy pickup. With every ring that wasn’t answered, I could see my freedom and my opportunity for change, my chance to have a different life, slipping away.
The drive back to ShitFuckTown took only ten hours.
Next: chapter eleven.