Thursday, August 16, 2007


The process of my father's second divorce was distant to me. Off in college at the time, the everyday factors of the split didn't influence me. My stepmother had been having an affair with another music school teacher at her workplace. My father was oblivious, trusting in her. He tried to work things out with her on a number of occassions during the period in which they were breaking up. They had spent five or six years building a life together. They had a nice house, a yard, and us kids were out of the nest.

My stepmother said that she needed some space and got a separate apartment. One evening her coworker's girlfriend beat the shit out of her for cheating with the coworker. I remember my older brother getting some cathartic joy out of it. My father has always been a stoic man who is generally honorable and fair to the people he's around. When my stepmother got beat up for her infidelity it seemed like poetic jusitice to my older brother. I couldn't help but think it was like an episode out of Jerry Springer.

The whole thing was hard on my father. Like many working class men he's never had many emotional outlets other than those provided to him via romantic relationships with women. During the fallout period my father continued with his normal routine and then added more work to busy himself. He's one of those people who has to be doing something. He helped the old lady down the street with her house. He'd refurbish things for coworkers (he has experience in carpentry). When my sister's car would break down he would fix it. Still to get to sleep at night he drank a couple cans of milawaukee best and swallowed another anti-depressant. When he first began taking anti-depressants he told me that depression ran in the family. Most people who worked their entire lives and routinely have that life shattered will be depressed.

My poignant memories from that period of my father are of car rides. He would pick me up from college during breaks where I couldn't be on campus. Sometimes we would chit chat about my siblings, or how school was going. But mainly it was silence. It was nice spending time with him but those times made it clear to me that I didn't want to live his life. I didn't want to break my back for nothing, I didn't want to always take the higher road when people fucked me over. Now I wonder if I'm not a little more like my father than I thought. I wonder what good it did him, because working more and being the bigger man doesn't make me feel all that great.

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