One Man's Redemption: Part II- The Golden Time

When I arrived home after the visit that changed everything, I was determined to convince my sister (whose sadness around my father had hardened to hatred by this time) that our father was awesome. When I think now of how it must have hurt my mother to see me so excited about my visit with him, I cringe a little. And when, months later, I dropped the bomb that I wanted to live with him, it must have devastated her. She depended on me to talk to, she depended on me to care for and protect my little brother. But I wanted to be happy and free; I had tasted real well-being and realized I was starving. I wanted to live. I eventually persuaded my sister. We packed our things and my father came to get us in a Uhaul. I said goodbye to my mother.

 

 

 

 

 

I'm not the best with time lines (the concept of linear time never seemed quite right to me) so I'm not sure exactly how long we stayed. The honeymoon didn't last and things were rocky for a while. The safety and stability that we were suddenly gifted allowed our pent up rage to surface and my sister and I would have vicious fights; very much disturbing the peace of the household. My sister was hell bent on driving our step-mother crazy and she succeeded. The K-12 school we were enrolled in felt like a joke and neither of us took it seriously. We were usually in trouble. My father began to realize that something was very wrong with the situation we came from.  And when our step-mother gave him an ultimatum; he chose us. He could of sent us back but he didn't.

 

Things relaxed considerably after she left. It was now just the three of us and for me, it was glorious. After school and work, we spent long evenings and weekends together in that old house, watching movies, learning music and making up games that only we three could play. My father would play his old piano, while we would sing and laugh. He set up a studio in the old barn across the road. There, he taught us how to be musicians and performers. On Saturdays, we would take his old '67 baby blue Mercedes Benz into town to get our provisions. We would imagine that we were heading to some big gig or a meeting with our agent. For hours, we would talk about the mysteries of life and the universe. We made friends and could bring them home without fear of humiliation. Our father welcomed our friends and they loved him. Our long summer afternoons exploring the woods and fields solidified a life-long connection to nature . I have a vivid memory of sitting on the roof outside my bedroom window, tears of sheer joy streaming, my stereo speakers perched on the ledge blasting music out into the perfect summer day. The birds singing harmony, the taste of freedom; palpable and delicious.  

 

It was truly a golden time; only to be tinted by the pangs of guilt and worry slithering around in my stomach when I thought about or spoke to my mom. Feverish dreams of my abandoned baby brother haunted me. It was a struggle to ignore what my imagination was telling me they were going through.

 

And all things must pass...

 

My sister, while on a visit with our mom, finally found peace in Christianity and decided to go back to Vermont. She moved in with a family from the church. My father met a new woman and was in love. I felt a loss in my significance in his life but I wasn't resentful. I was happy for him. I stayed for a while longer but eventually it was time for me to go, too. I moved back east and lived with friends, boyfriends, whoever; a pattern of restlessness that never went away...

 

Through the years between then and now, my father was always there for me. Long after the farmhouse had sold and he and his third wife had moved to Rochester and then Florida; there were times, when I had lost my way and needed a place to stay, he would take me in. We even started a few bands over the years. Whenever we saw each other, we would remember that special time when anything seemed possible and everything was lined with music and magic.

 

After 15 years of hell, my mother finally freed herself from her horrible second marriage; the damage so completely done. To this day, she remains single and living in Oklahoma. We rarely speak. It's not that we don't love one another dearly, it's just the way we are; all of us. But I couldn't reach out to her fast enough last week having returned from a very emotional visit with my father. I had to tell her and she had to know...

 

To Be Continued...

Please reload