Opening the Box

March 30, 2012

The other day I sat down with my father and asked him some of the uncomfortable questions about his behavior when he was married to my mom. I am not sure what I wanted to accomplish but I knew I wanted to hear my dad’s version of his dalliances echoed so clearly from my mother and grandmother.  

The conversation was less strained and my father less defensive than I had anticipated.  And perhaps to be expected, my dad shared some unpleasant things about my mom, insinuating that she was unfaithful as well.  Some rumors he vehemently denied, one incident he chose not to discuss and on a whole he downplayed the affairs to only a few a year, which is still plenty but I had presumed it was more.  

Of course I cannot go to my mom and ask her for a rebuttal so her relatively uncensored anecdotes over the years will have to suffice.  I hate how my father portrays himself as so righteous and infallible.  At his brother’s funeral he said my uncle would have been happy to have any of his actions on the front page of the newspaper and, my dad added, “I feel the same way.”  That pride is incongruous with his previous behavior and I wanted him to own up to it.  

 

It’s a lot to digest.  My husband does not want to hear it.  Some things I promised not to tell anyone including my siblings, and I am not scheduled to see my shrink until next week.   


I Like You, I Really Do

March 22, 2012

The other day I went to my favorite pharmacy to buy formula at cost.

Because my kids love to play with the toys at the pharmacy I not only find myself buying unnecessary items but also becoming friendly with the owner and fellow pharmacists including the one who sells me formula at cost. Let’s call her P. P’s lamented to me about her long hours, difficulties of working with her boss and trials with her nanny.

I’ve had a soft spot for the owner because to me he always seems to have a smile. We talk about our kids, our real estate investments and headaches, the neighborhood and so forth. I kept my mouth shut when P tells me how impossible he is to work for. I think he is a micro manager, anxious jewish businessman and not totally different from my dad. I raise my eyebrows when she tells me how people have quit after a few short weeks and think of my own father’s foibles.

But then she told me something horrible. Something that clearly delineates a path between the Owner and my dad. Something I was raised not to even joke about. According to P, the wife of the owner called her to say that he attempted suicide over the weekend.

I was shocked. Here is a family man with a wife and two young daughters who depend upon him. A man with several seemingly thriving businesses. A local in our community with cheesy jokes and fast service.

I have held fantasies about checking out. When I was younger it was more about suicide, and my note would blame the transgressor of the day “it was because of YOU, I did this”. But these were more fantasies played out in my mind than anything seriously contemplated. As I got older, my delusions evolved to running away. Having been fortunate enough to travel and be alone in strange cities and towns, I am acutely aware that my imagined escape is more palatable than any achievable reality.

The devastation I felt and still feel with my mom’s passing is a direct result of her impact on my life and our relationship. I can only hope to have an equally significantly positive effect on my children and for this many of my escapist fantasies are now at bay.

The other night I dreamt of the girlfriend of my former boss on whom I had a major crush before he passed away some seven years ago. The girlfriend must had seen me in some light as some sort of rival. I dreamt we had met and she congratulated me on having three children, something she longs for. Of course the next day I looked up her Facebook profile to scour for signs of children or pregnancies. None. And I felt terrible for her. We had, once for a short period, lusted after the same man who let us both down. Ten years ago I would never have imagined the dichotomy of our lives and how grateful I am for mine.

According to P, the pharmacy owner is getting the help he needs so the idea of abandoning his seemingly enviable family and businesses is less appealing. I wish him well.