Swing Batter, batter…
My parents started making it obvious that there was trouble in paradise, or their sullen forgery of paradise. I don’t think they ever genuinely wanted to with each other. I would learn later on in my twenty’s sitting in my basement drinking with my father that I was the mistake that forged their listless union. But don’t fret he was still happy he had me…
I was about eight years old. I believe it was spring time. When I picture it in my head I can still see leaves on the trees in our back yard. We had a comfy home in the county. It wasn’t quite the sticks but it was the last little neighborhood before you got there. The house was matte white and slightly uphill. It was one of those houses that appeared off center because there was a canopy styled garage to the right.
We had a large back yard with a few scattered trees and a large vegetable garden to the back left where villainous demon eyed rabbit would pilfer the fruits (ha!) of our labor. The back patio was cross-hatched brick tiles with four-benched wooden picnic table. My Dad let me try my first taste of beer there a few years prior I guess attempting to deter me from further exploration (as I take a sip of Coor’s Light while typing this).
If I remember correctly my brother and I had gotten off the bus and were making our way up the drive way when the first sounds of muffled chaos pulsed out of our childhood home. Timidly I made my way around to the back door where we traditionally entered.
My Mother burst out of the rear entrance screeching and yelling. At first it was indecipherable, and then out of the vociferous wave of insanity came words. Words eventually could be pieced together to make sentences. “I’m calling the cops!” she wailed. “He hit me, he hit me!” she announced.
My Father then walked out during this. And I mean walked, looking at her as if he were as amazed by the furious spectacle as were his sons. My Mother, now seeing the cause of her riotous outbursts focused her speech and spittle in his direction. “You’re going to jail!””You hit women, is that it?”
My father even in the midst of being berated by the women he had just accosted seemed unconcerned and even docile. He quietly shrugged her off and begrudgingly nodded making his way to the front of the house towards his car. At least that’s where I assumed he was headed…
At this point I had made my way inside my house and into my bedroom. I went directly for my baseball bat. I would like to say I grabbed my “trusty Louisville Slugger” but we weren’t exactly well off. So I grabbed the wooden baseball bat and headed out with a purpose.
I came out of my room, through the kitchen, out the back door, and onto the back patio. Overwhelmed with rage and helplessness I met up with him in the garage. I don’t know exactly what I said but I’m sure it’s the things people usually say when swinging a bat or any other blunt object at another person when their hurting.
I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to inflict pain on him. This was the man who helped raise me for eight years so far. Sure he was drunk as often as he wasn’t but he always had kept his calm, explaining things over and over again never getting frustrated.
It was probably a combination of him hitting my Mother and being angry he was leaving. It’s so hard to fairly speculate about how I felt then knowing what I do now.
My father just put his arms up and attempted to parry as many blows as possible until he could grab me. I was exploding with rage. I was trying to use every limb available as a deadly weapon. Eventually I burned out.
I honestly don’t remember weather or not he got in his car and left or if the cops came but it doesn’t really matter. It’s not important to the story or what I learned from it.
My parents split up shortly after wards and my Dad moved back in with his parents. The courts agreed my father would get custody on the weekends. My Dad never made us visit, he always said he wanted us to come but he would never force us.
During these splits one parent always tries to take the high road while the other repeatedly trashes everything about their former spouse. And my Mother was pummeling him with a verbal hammer, everything from his inability to listen to his alcohol abuse. She was relentless.
By about this time you should be realizing that while this story is in order, a lot of the pieces don’t fit. Who hits their wife and then walks calmly out the door? Why can’t I remember any previous violent episodes? How the fuck did he get partial custody? These are all questions I would eventually ask as I got older.
I never really asked those questions and countless others during my teen years. Like most teens I was way too invested in my own personal misery. But in my twenties I have analyzed so many aspects of my past and how it has affected me.
I found out much later, after I had already stopped hating and had forgiven my Father that he had never hit her. They were in a heated debate over something trivial I’m sure. She got directly in his face and pinned him into a corner as he attempted to exit the argument . He moved slash pushed her out of the way so he could leave. That’s what actually happened.
Reflecting it’s kind of watching some political debate on CNN. We could use any headline where someone jumps the gun and goes overboard. Now no politician can ever admit they were wrong just like your parents never admit to you when they’re at fault. They all treat us like eight year old kids. They think we’re too stupid or too occupied with Guitar Hero to know any better. And most of the time they’re right.
So now this lie or misinterpretation if you want to polish it up has to stick. Making it stick will serve some greater purpose.” It’s ok if they think we want Weapons of Mass Destruction all that oil will help us maintain our superiority and that’s what they really want right?”Then they have to make a statement that ensures that no protest can ever be made. “If you don’t support the war, you don’t support our troops!” Now the other party has to just sit and wait for everyone to come to their senses.
What’s funny is in this story my Mother was republican and my Father a Democrat. Now even though my parents generation never shares their political affiliations I’m pretty sure my Mother is a Democrat and my Dad a Republican. Conundrum…
Now my Mother didn’t lie and she wasn’t an evil and devious person. She was just worked up and emotional and lost it. Then once things had already gotten out of hand the ends justify the means. She wanted her kids and she would say what she what was needed to keep us. I totally understand and don’t fault her for that. Now the constant bashing for years to come we’ll write up as nobody’s perfect.
My Father on the other hand took his time and thought more long term. He didn’t shove the truth down our throats. He had the clarity to see that battling with our Mother would create and even larger rift between us and make the split up even worse. How strong must he have been to take that risk?