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The Indefinite Article.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Per Amber's Request - One for the Ladies

In an effort to cater to the females in our group who are feeling increasingly alienated by the frequent geek speak that populates chairjockey, i'm revealing my deep inner feelings about a recent drama that has me in its grips:


i am going to have to make a difficult phone call. i don't want to do it, but i'm going to have to. i'm having the conversation that i will inevitably have with my father in my head. it has been replaying since this morning, when it was decided that the phone call would have to be made. sometimes, i am aggressive and petty. othertimes i am sensible and polite.

what bothers me most, however, is that the call has to be made in the first place. this is a natural reaction to something that i don't want to do in the first place, but aside from my own defense mechanisms, in this particular case this phone call should never have been necessary. no one expected him, especially me, to show up to the wedding.

6 months ago i advised my sister not to invite my father. reading that sentence now makes me shutter much in the same way when i hear about people who commit crimes against children. It rattles me to the core, and i can understand why, at the time, lynda did not heed my advice: i must have sounded overly cruel and maybe spiteful; although, that was hardly my intention. A wedding announcement was addressed to him (and not his wife who has a tangible dislike for my sister) and sent off into what i knew would be a 'void'. She would never hear from my father, the wedding would happen, and life would continue as it has since my mother backed out of the driveway in Brownsville.

A similar scenario played out in 2001 when carolina and i got married. I sent an invitation to my father (and not his wife - i have my own issues with her; but also out of respect for my mother who would obviously be a little more than annoyed with her presence) and got much the same phone call that my sister received this weekend: a rant about how not inviting his wife puts him in a bad situation (i can't understand why); about how he can't believe that we think he doesn't love us; and about how we're always making him feel bad.

I am not a fighter. My sister is. The phone call i received four years ago ended with a very matter of fact explanation of how uncomfortable it would be for my mother and him explaining that he would be unable to make it (i can't even remember why - but i already knew he wouldn't show.) Lynda's phone call dissintegrated into a series of back and forth accusations (noted above) and crying. It crumbled even further once he called my other sister (nytashah) to ask her advice and cry to her. (If anyone has any doubts about where my drama-queen tendencies come from i guess they are from my dad, even though i could have sworn it was my mom who had cursed me with that.) My sister got that conversation second hand and decided that she doesn't want him there anymore.

I told her i would do it without thinking about how difficult it was going to be. This is a problem i have.

As i'm writing this i am realizing how much is really being left out. To a certain degree i really wish i knew everything about the relationship of my father and mother. On the phone with my sister my father swears that he loved my mother and that the both of us were conceived out of love. This i don't doubt because of the incredible capacity for love that both my sister and i have. The relationship died with one shot, from what i understand. My father cheated on my mother with one of his students (he was a teacher (chemistry?) at the time). It was a scandal that embarassed my mother as well as destroyed their relationship.

Even at 3 years old, i remember their final fight.

The ugly feelings lasted in my family for a very long time. My mother being the youngest girl in her family and the sweetest made it very difficult for the family. There is still a lot of lingering hatred. I, as a child, received the brunt of this hatred. I looked just like him, when i was 'bad' i was acting like him. i was made fun of for my name. i hid behind killy, so to speak; now that i think about it no one called me adolfo as i was growing up.

It wasn't so much of an issue at my wedding, being that it was in chicago and much of my family wasn't able to attend anway. Actually, my father's brother and sister showed up. Lynda's wedding is admittedly a much different story. Most of the family should be there.

So i am going to call my father and ask him to stay home.


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger The Bat, at 8:18 PM  

  • Such an appropriate post on a day that I went back to therapy after almost two years of not going. I went back in and said, "I know I won't get to see you again for a while," as she's all booked up for a while, "so I probably shouldn't get into my problems with my parents." By the end of the session, I was in a big puddle, 6 years old again, crying because they are so screwy and they made me so screwy and continue to screw with me.

    I feel for you. We have relationships like this within my family, only instead of adultery, we have this thing where my dad's parents pretend he doesn't exist. My sister and I were caught in the middle: we sort of exist.

    I really hate everyone today. I'll try again tomorrow.

    By Blogger Sara C., at 8:26 PM  

  • This weekend we spent time with adolph and amber. This all started, as a matter of fact, as soon as adolph and i returned from central market after buying the fish for the fish fry; my sister was on the phone a blubbering mess. Poor carol had fielded the carol a few minutes before i showed up.

    We sat in the living room discussing it after i had gotten off the phone and had a short discussion about what was going on.

    Later, sitting around the chimenea i was really lamenting the fact that i had not thought earlier to call you guys to join us. (i think amber mentioned that you might have had other plans.) We got on the topic of your post that i failed to comment on - not that i didn't have a reply, but that the topic opened such a large can of worms that composing it became prohibitively time consuming. so instead we just around a fire and talked about it.

    I also found out that you are actually a writer by profession, which is very cool. If nothing else, your existence is verified everytime your by-line appears. I bought the sunday paper to see if you happened to have anything in the entertainment section, but sadly have not had time (even now) to look through it.

    By Blogger Killy, at 8:39 PM  

  • On the way to Houston this weekend Amber and I talked the whole way through, no music at all as far as I can remember. She asked me about my parents and my take on whatever happened back when and I talked about my theories. In reality though, my parents are mysterious to me. Their motivations for doing things or liking things or anything are outside my comprehension. I came to think of this in reading Killy's story. Maybe it is better not to know or understand?

    By Blogger Adolph, at 10:16 PM  

  • Killy,

    We would have loved to have joined you guys but I was, indeed, on a mission for work, seeing a show out in West Houston. Next time, I hope.

    I wasn't in the Sunday paper, in fact I've only been in the Sunday paper once with a review of Glen Phillips' last album, which was a few weeks ago. Look for me two Sundays from now with a review of Ben Folds' latest album, which I'm picking up tomorrow. I'm in the Thursday Preview section a couple of times a month. I have an article on a band called The Methods this week.

    I never thought about it this way before but, you're right, whenever I see my name in print it puts a big old check mark on the box that says "Sara exists." And then another, smaller check mark on the box that says, "Someone that once made fun of Sara mercilessly just read Sara's byline and realized that maybe they should have learned their Latin roots rather than picking on the girl with the bad skin."


    I don't think it's possible for me (and, thus, other people like me: emotional basketcases) to not need to understand my parents' motivations and choices. This is a whole, consuming desire in my gut. I can't turn it off. It would be better if I could. I would be better off. What is it in our brains that makes me need to know and you able to say, "I don't know and I'll be ok with that"?

    By Blogger Sara C., at 11:38 PM  

  • i love you brother - you by my side when I am walking down that aisle is an honor you deserve and never second thought. you have been the only constant man in my life and i am glad that you are and always will be that man. i know that angel will never fill the shoes you will always wear...your sister, lynda

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:40 AM  

  • For much of my life, i didn't care about why my mother and father were no longer together. My sister was a very angry little girl; angry at my mother, angry and in love with her absent father at the same time. Feelings on the issue were noticibly absent from me ...

    After college i lived with him for a year while i worked as a teacher. Feelings started to bubble up one day while I was preparing a lesson on Frankenstien (how ironic!). I was sitting at my desk facing out the window and there was my father and the 9 year-old son of his current wife. Junior was dressed awkwardly in his youth football uniform and my father was on his knees tumbling on the grass with him.

    My mother, who could hardly afford food for us sometimes, made it a point to put me in little league. She would dutifully take me to practice where i would do horribly: i couldn't swing a bat, i could hardly catch, and i was scared of the ball. I want to say that she made every effor to practice with me, but i have to be honest. I don't remember if she did or not. I was a pathetic sportsman. I was benched most of the time; put into the outfield only when we were either hopelessly losing or so far ahead not even a monumental screw-up would mean a loss.

    So as my father and this stranger child rolled around in the grass all i could remember was getting punched in the face by a team-mate and not knowing what to do; i remember not being able to catch a fly ball; i remember my mother lamenting later in life how she knew i needed a man in my life to show me how to be a man ...

    So i stood up from my desk and drove as far away as i could, but coudln't escape my father's decision 24 years earlier. without that, how would my life have been different? would i be struggling today? would i have smoked pot on a couch in san marcos? how many more sisters or brothers would i have had? would i have been smarter?

    Now i have a son, and i am keenly aware that everything i do affects his life, and that everything my father did affects his life through me, and what my father's father did to him affected his own decisions.

    Is it important to know what happened? I think so. I think we are all re-living our parents lives. In a year or so, i expect to have another child (just like my father and mother did) and perhaps at that time, someone will come into my life and i will be in a situation much like my fathers. What will i do? Will i succumb? No, i don't think i will because i know the consequences of doing it -I know i will damage my children and my wife and the children that they have and so on and so on...

    I think knowing is important, but even more important is using what you know ...

    By Blogger Killy, at 8:42 AM  

  • i think for me it is important to know why, because it will be easier for me to forgive him if it came from a tangible and reasonable source. it would be more painful to accept his behavior is from a lack of compassion for his own children. regardless, i am at the end of this query. my journey is over. i have fought for 30 years to receive a gesture of unconditional love and acceptance from my father. my new life will begin when i take my first step with angel as husband and wife. with that step i am lightening my load and releasing him from my person totally. it will be a happy day.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:12 AM  

  • When my sister and I went to visit our grandparents in Wichita, KS in 2000, around 17 years since the last time we had seen them, we were suddenly surrounded by a close-knit family. Two uncles, their wives, with five very well-kept little children between them. All with blue eyes! Darling!

    My sister had no memory of these people, since she was three when my dad was told that he and his wife and children weren't welcome in his own parents' home anymore (the reason? I've heard so many explanations and none of them make sense). But I remembered my uncles and I remembered adoring them as a little girl, so I was excited to see them and get to know them again.

    The first couple of hours were the most genuine. My uncles told me I had hands like my aunt (the blind one who lives in Oklahoma. I have a blind, Okie aunt.) They told my sister that she looked Irish as a baby, that no one knew where that came from. They told us stories about when were kids and did we remember this and that.

    But any mention of my dad were references to when he was growing up. A bruiser, he was. They didn't want to know about him now. They pretended my parents didn't exist in the present. Things began to get weird at that point.

    Over the two days we were there, we got to see one uncle's just-started dream home. We saw the frame of his house, where everything would be going. A huge picture window right over a fireplace!

    And then we saw the other uncle's nearly finished new home. A huge, gorgeous house that my uncles and grandfather built themselves. It's something they do. They excitedly showed us the sprawling basement, where our oldest cousin (I honestly can't remember his name) had his drum set. And the master bedroom done up in deep, lush purple. And all of the bedrooms, every kid with his own, distinct room.

    I asked for ice water and had a panic attack in their living room as my sister and I sat silently as the family talked about church. We were of the same mind: while they were sticking together, finishing college, helping each other out, my dad was left to his own devices. His college funding was cut off because he married my mom and thus never got a degree. They had me when they were 18 and 19. He worked small-time jobs and we lived in crappy places. We left Kansas and nothing ever changed. Money was a constant issue. My sister and I shared the same cramped room until I was 23 and could finally afford to move out. My parents' marriage came apart over money. And as we sat in the midst of what could only be seen as luxury in our eyes, we couldn't help but hate, really hate, those people.

    I've been back to see them once without my sister in 2001, but we've lost touch again. They weren't invited to my sister's wedding. They don't know anything about us. They don't call, they don't write. They have their life, they're not concerned with ours.

    And what hurts me the most is the fact that my grandparents have a son out in this world that they no longer know. My uncles no longer know the brother they grew up with and looked up to. They don't know his struggles. That's what they chose and it burns me up inside. They don't deserve to know me.

    By Blogger Sara C., at 11:16 PM  

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