Got a call from Baton Rouge yesterday. Well, no that’s a lie. I didn’t get a call but Kasper did. See, when my mom moved out of Texas about 3 years ago, she found someone to pay her phone bill so she told me it was safe to drop her line from my plan. Because of contract timing, I had to drop Kasper’s line and gave him my mom’s number. Because of that he gets all my mom’s old phone buddies calling him. The only thing I like about this, as petty as it is, is that my sister evades her bill collectors by throwing them off with my mom’s old phone number not thinking I would pass along her info. But I dislike my sis so much that I am more than happy to pass along any info I may have. It’s funny because she tried doing this with her student loans. I didn’t tell them how to get a hold of her. Pretty sure that will bite me in the ass later on since karma really hates me.
Yesterday my husband received a call from a number he didn’t recognize. Due to his own bill collector issues he screens all of his calls. It was Baton Rouge General. It was for my mom. It was a case worker from the hospital. She needed someone to contact her as soon as possible.
I had an instant panic attack. I couldn’t breathe; my chest caved in on me. My head felt tight, my heart raced and sweat started to prick at the back of my neck. I hate this! I know who it is and my first thought was “Oh my God! I can’t identify his body! I just can’t do it!” And I really can’t.
My dad is a homeless schizophrenic with a gnarly drug and alcohol addiction. He may possibly be gay but that’s debateable…according to him anyway. I don’t know what to do. If there is a God I don’t know if he’ll forgive me for agreeing with my mom to leave it alone. She goes on my gut, she thinks my instincts are strong…I mean it’s only because I’m rarely wrong. I told Kasper about a week ago to expect this. I’ve been dreaming of my dad (and that’s a big deal because since my stroke, I barely recall my dreams by morning if I dreamt at all), he pops into my head randomly and every time this happened before, he reappears in my life and it’s NEVER a good thing. I cried not long ago because the dreams were becoming stronger and I told Kasper while splitting a joint, hiding from the kids, that I think my dad is dead. He should be. It would save him. He is in so much pain. He’s mentally ill. Maybe that’s why he’s been in my head.
I haven’t seen my dad since…it’s been a long time, before I got pregnant in 2007. The last time I saw him he was back on drugs, drinking and smoking cigarettes. Now, my dad is silly. He has been a heroin addict since his early twenties. He used to do this thing my mom called a ‘back flush[?]’ She said it’s when you shoot dope, pull it out then push it back in quick. I’ve never shot dope so I have no idea if I described that correctly or even used the right terms.
Even though my dad has always done dope he told my mom when they first married that he would never smoke cigarettes because of how unhealthy they were. So when he started smoking cigarettes in his late forties we all knew he was far gone.
I should be clear, my dad was not in my life. It’s a very long story but he did not raise me. When I was a baby the state of Ct told my father, “In the best interest of those around you including the state of Connecticut itself, we request that you leave the state.” Of course, that’s not verbatim, but you get the point. He was asked to leave but not booted. I believe his choice was to leave or go to jail. He chose Texas where his brother was living. That uncle lives in Austin, or near it now.
I met my dad when I was about 2. My mom took us on a train to meet him. I don’t remember much; random flashes hit me, still frames of mismatched images like dirty shoes and clothes on a floor. A large window where I watched the rain. I remember sharing a bed with my sis and a cousin. That’s it. I didn’t talk to him again until I was 14. I wanted nothing to do with him. I’d rather hold the hand of the man molesting me than talk to my father over the phone….and that was what I did. Any time we moved growing up and I was put in a new school, all of my teachers had to be warned about my dad, the school had a procedure in place for my safety because my dad was always crazy. It was embarrassing.
When I was 14, my step-dad was arrested on an anonymous tip. Someone reported to my high school principal that he was molesting me. This was not the first time my mom was told but I guess because it was a school principal telling her that authorities were on the way instead of a concerned parent threatening to call if she didn’t rectify the situation, she didn’t force me to lie again or pretend it wasn’t happening this time. That same day, no lie, my dad called for the first time in almost 5 years. Four months later we were on a plane headed for Texas and I’ve been here ever since.
Throughout the years I stopped trying. My dad called me horrible names as a teen. He made me feel ugly and worthless. He never hit me or anything but you could see he wanted to quite a few times. I think he was just disappointed that I was his daughter. I really was worthless. I mean I was 15 when we met, I smoked cigs, did drugs, was used up by my step-dad still waiting to be convicted. I wasn’t raped…officially; I mean….I don’t know, I don’t want to talk about that right now.
My dad hated me.
When he started using again, the downfall was really quick and it was really bad. My mom kept trying to be his friend for some reason. He would come to the apartment my mom and I shared, with his girlfriend who was a doper and a prostitute. She was pretty rank. My mom would let them sleep on my couch. I’m not one to say what’s mine when living in a situation where everything is shared but God dammit that was my couch! Everything in that apartment was mine! I gathered it from relationships and old roommates and moving all around when I was 19-22. Not a long gap but I had gathered barely enough to furnish the apartment I found and put the deposit on and paid the bills for and put food in. I didn’t do it alone, my mom did her share squarely, probably more than me, I’m sure. She was used to providing, I was used to taking…let’s be honest, right? But at first I did pay the deposit…whatever, not the point.
I didn’t want my sister there but because she had kids with her and was pregnant, I let my mom talk me into agreeing she could stay until she got her whoring ass some housing but only because she had kids. I’m mean, I know, but there is a history there so wrong and painful I’m getting pissed off just thinking about it. So now that you know there are kids in the apartment as well, you can see why I didn’t want my stupid dad and his crack-head girlfriend crashing on our couch because they were too busy doping up in an alley to make it to the shelter in time to get a bed. Eventually, I told my mom, “No more.” But she didn’t have the balls to tell him no so I had to. I was the smallest person there, barely 100 pounds and I had to be the spine? I told Amy first to get the hell out of my house. She backed out easy. But my dad; all he did was get rid of her. He thought it was her and not them but it was him. How can you make your family watch you kill yourself? And that’s what he was doing, killing himself. He was going crazy!
I had to tell him enough was enough. I couldn’t do it anymore. I had my nephews and now niece in my apartment. He literally robbed us of pocket change. He ate food we could barely afford. He took up space we didn’t have. And all of this poverty was because of him to begin with. That blends into the history with my sister that I mentioned just before. My dad refused to leave so he slept on the porch. The following morning I left for my walk to the bus stop so I could go to work because my chicken shit ass still didn’t know how to drive (still don’t). I opened the door to the weirdest fucking thing. Apparently that night he went dumpster diving while we were all asleep. He found a stack of expired lottery tickets and spent all night scratching them. There was a plastic Circle K bag on the chair and on the floor in front of it, a pile of the lottery scratchings. Seriously…how fucking crazy is that? Even if there had been a winner the ticket was expired. Isn’t that fraud, too?
The next morning I told him he had to leave. I yelled and screamed, physically fought him while my mom and sis stood there stupefied in a state of disbelief of what they were seeing. They later laughed saying I looked like a mosquito attacking an old wrinkled up bull-dog. I guess it was probably funny to see, I mean I had to jump to try to punch the bastard. I didn’t do any damage. He broke my phone after slamming it against a wall so I wouldn’t call the cops but it was a Nokia (it was around 2004 or so) so I just picked up all the pieces, clicked them back together and called the cops. He hid in a bush until they left because 5 minutes after they left my house, he was on the corner. My mom called into work and we were leaving behind the cops to drop me off at my job. As we drove away from the curb, there he was. He stood there staring at us, blood oozed from his wrists into his open palms. It was so morbid and…..black. I can’t describe it any other way. If he were in a comic there would be an angry scowl mutilating his face and a large black scribble over his head. His eyes maybe would have been white…We stopped down the street and I called into work. We all then went out to breakfast or something, afraid to go home. He was gone when we came back.
That was the last time I had any real dealings with him. My mom kept trying. My sister started trying when she got an apartment finally. I think the thing that finally got my mom was when he took my oldest nephew “out to the store” and didn’t come back for something like 5 or more hours. He walked my nephew down the freeway to steal stuff or something. Then my sis found his crack pipe hidden in one of her closets. Then he was gone. And I was happy. He harassed my mom over the phone and she always answered her damn phone. Not sure if it’s curiosity or what. I can’t imagine it’s love but then again my mom can be dumb and do dumb things like…care. No one has heard from him in over two years. He doesn’t know I have a second son or that I had a major stroke 2 years ago or that I’m permanently, physically disabled because of it. He doesn’t know I’m not a whore or a loser or not a drug addict (let’s not debate smoking pot, okay?).
He’s never met my sons and he never will. I’m saving the story of my dad for the day I find out one of my kids is trying drugs. I plan on sitting them down and finally asking them straight out, “Do you ever wonder why you don’t have a grandpa on your mom’s side?” And I plan on telling them of how he beat my mom, raped her, left her stranded with no money or food and two babies; how he let his mother die asking where he was; how he forced his daughter into sleeping around for a place to stay at night, and robbed his family of everything that was there to steal, destroyed lives and trust and bonds and opened healing wounds and bled everyone dry multiple times all in the name of drugs. He’s nothing but an example of how fast we fall when we fail to maintain control. It’s a good example, my dad used to be really smart. He used to talk extremely well, he could talk Mormons knocking on our door into questioning their faith in a matter of minutes. He knew his history like a boss. He was a loyal bastard but he gave all of his loyalty to the highs of life to avoid the lows…his lows were so steep I’m sure he feels Hell is always lurking in the dark, though.
So what do I do?
When Kasper played me the voicemail my instinct told me this was not good. It told me he is in trouble when there was no name given. My gut tells me it’s time. My head tells me I’m just afraid. My mom asked my gut feeling because like I said, it’s rarely ever wrong. I feel like he is dying alone. No one should die alone…ever. “But what if your gut is wrong and he just ‘needs’ help?” my head questions all things from the gut. But my head is where I am most like my dad so how the fuck do I trust my thoughts? I’ve gone down this path before with him, multiple times. I won’t call that number. I can’t take the risk. I have kids to protect and I’d rather live with a sense of regret for him dying alone or unidentified than to discover I now have him as a constant burden alive and well. Is that the thing a good parent would do?
I can’t let my kids ever know him.