- It's weird to be so in touch with my feelings these days. I used to think that I had a pretty good idea of what was going on in my head most of the time, but in the last few weeks...I'm starting to realize that nothing could be further from the truth. I duck, and I dodge, and I run, and I hide, and I substitute every uncomfortable feeling in my heart with some kind of instant distraction that will, hopefully, keep me from having to think about the things...that I just don't want to think about.
It just feels awkward. And wrong, you know? Once you notice how much hard work you put in trying NOT to deal with the things you should...you suddenly become aware of how much time you've wasted. How many opportunities you threw away. And how many cowardly deaths you've had to endure while pretending that the problems in your life simply cease to exist once you ignore them. They don't.
I don't know why I ever expected them to.
That said, I got a short message from Jimmy this morning.
I already didn't want to get out of bed once I was awake, because I really wasn't looking forward to spending the day with my dad. I wish I had a tangible reason as to why I wouldn't want to see my own father for a free lunch and a brand new bank account...but I just didn't. There was this nervous anxiety that began to build up within me as the time approached for him to pick me up. I could physically feel it. I mean, was I AFRAID? Why was I so afraid?
Anyway, while trying to find reasons to stay in bed, even contemplating faking sick to pull out of the day's activities at the very last minute...I checked my messages and hesitated when I saw Jimmy's name pop up on the list.
I didn't know if he was going to be angry with me and cursing me out, or severely depressed and begging me to tell him why I left him so utterly alone. But, surprisingly, it was neither. His message was short and to the point. He just said, "Missing you. I'm sorry that I got so upset. Hopefully...we can maybe find some time to talk. Just talk, nothing more. Ok? Love you. Always."
I could feel the hurt in his words. I really could. And I KNOW that Sam told me to clam up for a little bit and let him do what he can to help Jimmy through this...the guilt of it all just weighed really heavy on my shoulders today. Really heavy. That's when I felt it...
Me...running away again.
I was retreating from the situation. Shriveling up. Hiding from my own feelings as well as my common sense. And I felt bad about it. I didn't want to be the bad guy. I wanted to DO something.
So, I sat up in bed and wrote out a small message for Jimmy. Just to let him know that I got his note, and that there was hope for us to put this miserable situation at some point. I just said, "I miss you too, Jimmy. Maybe we can talk again some time soon, k?" I thought to say a little more, but I may have already said too much. I'm just happy to hear that he's ok. I don't know what I'd do if he had another 'accident'....because of me.
Thinking about Jimmy's brokenhearted attempt to reach out to me is probably what made me finally get out of bed and decide that spending time with my dad wouldn't be such a bad thing after all.
Can't confront one problem and run from the other. That's just counterproductive.
My mom checked me out before leaving the house. Practically picking lint off of my T-shirt as my dad pulled up in the driveway and honked the horn for me. I searched her eyes for a moment. She smiled at me, but...her smile and her eyes didn't exactly 'match' at that moment. I was like, "Are you sure it's ok? Me going out and...?"
She immediately said, "Of course it is. Billy, go be with your father. He'll really appreciate you spending time with him today." She held the sides of my face, and gave me a motherly kiss on the forehead. She was like, "Time is short, honey. Two weeks from now...you'll understand why this was so important. Ok?"
That's what she keeps saying, but...I don't know. It still sucks. Like I said, being in touch with your true feelings is the most awkward thing in the world. They never leave you alone. I was much more stable when I could lie to myself and deny it all without blinking. I'd much rather go back to that.
What do you know? Ignorance really is bliss. I TOTALLY get the meaning of that quote now.
Was our outing everything that I hoped it would be? Umm...well...more like what I expected it to be. That seems more accurate. My dad was really trying to make a big day out of it though. Like...he was cracking these really corny jokes, and trying to sing along with new hip tunes on the radio (badly). I could tell that he really wanted me to have fun with everything, but...I dunno...it was like he was trying too hard. It just came off as kinda fake. But I stumbled through everything regardless. At least he was making an attempt to bond with me. Some fathers can't be bothered to even do that much.
I knew that he loved me. He wanted to take care of me and teach me and keep me safe. I just feel so 'distant' from him since he left us behind. Not in a way where I lost any love for the man, it's just...I couldn't get rid of that feeling of being totally cheated by what he did to me and Mom. Even though I know he's a good guy at heart...for him to walk away from his family like that, I know that at some point, he had to just think, "FUCK my family! I want this, and I'm gonna go get it right NOW! No matter the consequence!" And that's hard to take. Knowing that my own father had to basically throw up a middle finger in my face in order to run from his problems and get laid. It hurts. I can't even explain how much it hurts.
But, then again...maybe I did the same thing when I cheated on Brandon with Bobby Jinette. I mean...it's true isn't it? Perhaps the adulterous asshole vibe is genetic...
He did help me get a bank account though, which was kinda cool. Banks are weird. Like Libraries. The second you walk in the door, everybody gets really quiet and starts to whisper for some reason. Lord knows why. Maybe it's so people don't lose their count when giving out cash. I'm taking a wild guess on that one.
I was surprised by how easy it was. I had a savings account before that my grandparents set up for me when I was only 11 years old, but this was different. This was, like...mine, you know? I even got a little debit card thingy! I thought I'd have to be 18 for something like that, but they had a starter one for me with a limit on how much I could spend at one time. Still, it was like having a credit card. I thought that was awesome. I even got an online account to check my balance and stuff whenever I wanted to. My dad just sort of sat back and let me ask all the questions and manage all the details while I was talking to the teller. Hehehe, I kept looking back at him and saying stuff like, "Is that it? Should I get this plan, or...which one looks best?"
And he'd just smile and say, "This is your bank account, kiddo. You set it up any way you want to." Well, THAT'S no help! Hehehe! Actually, there were a few occasions where he would lean forward and ask me a few subtle questions, like, "Are you sure you want that one? Remember to check to see what the additional fees might be." And stuff like that, but he did his best to stay out of the way and let me do it myself. I thought that was cool of him. It made me feel better. If only a little bit.
So I've got a bank account now. And a JOB! And maybe a boyfriend! Hehehe, what's next? An engagement ring? Seems like the next logical step right?
My dad took me out to a family bar n' grill type of place for lunch. AWESOME cheese burgers there! And they gave us some fried chicken quesadillas to share as an appetizer! And bottomless glasses of cola on top of it. Maybe it was the caffeine, or maybe it was just me getting used to spending time with my dad again that did it...but I think I started to enjoy myself a little bit more towards the end of our time out. I don't know, I just...I liked being his little boy again. I liked recapturing that feeling that my dad was Superman and I'd never have anything to fear as long as he loved me. Perhaps I'll look back at this book some day in the future and I'll have the words to describe what it feels like to have that male presence in my life again...but for now, I'll just smile, and giggle, and know that it was a great time. Flaws and all...my dad ended up making this day something special for me. I fought it for as long as I could...but why? Hehehe, I'd much rather be happy.
Happy is where I want to be.
It wasn't until we were heading back to my house that we got a chance to talk on a different level. I'm not sure what started it all, but I think I started to actually feel the tug on my heartstrings when I realized that I only had two weeks left with him. Well, he'd still be a part of my life, but...it wouldn't be as easy as having him drive up on the weekend and take me out for lunch anymore. Was this the feeling that my mom was talking about? The regret? The wasted time? Because...I think I was beginning to understand that too.
I asked him if he was almost all done with the packing, and he said, "Just about. We left the necessities, of course. But we'll be able to pack up the rest in a day or two. Trace and Mikey have appetites that would put your to shame, Billy. Trust me." He chuckled. "But Lynn loves it. She's never had her cooking so appreciated before. She can't get enough of them."
My smiled faded. I avoided the comment altogether. As always, the less I think about her, the better.
I don't know what made me ask, but I was like, "So...you're really going, huh? Just...starting all over somewhere else?"
He was like, "This promotion will mean a lot more money, Billy. And even more opportunities to move up in the ranks in the long run. Better job security. Better hours. I think it's the right thing to do right now."
I was like, "And...will you...I mean...will you come visit?" I couldn't believe how much it hurt for me to say that. I knew this day was coming. What's changed between knowing it a month or two ago and knowing it now? Why is the pain so much more intense?
He's like, "Of course I will. Billy, I'm not going to abandon you. I love you and your mother very much. You know that. You're still the most important thing in my life. That's never going to change. No matter how many miles we have between us...you are always going to be right here in my heart. I mean that. I'll never be out of reach. If you need me, I'll be there in a blink. You can count on that, ok?"
I figured...as long as the wound was slightly torn open again, I'd ask. I was like, "So...the whole idea of you coming home again...? That's just not going to happen. Is it?" I pouted slightly, and when I heard him sigh...I knew that I hit the nail on the head.
He said, "Billy...sometimes things don't work out the way you think they should. People change. Situations arise. Tempers flare. But...you just try to be the person you can and you hope that it'll be enough. Some mistakes can't be taken back. Some words can't be erased. Moving forward is all you can do. Mistakes and all."
I was quiet for a moment. Then I said, "I'm never going to make those kind of mistakes. Not ever. Hopefully, I'll be smarter than that."
Maybe I was still a bit hurt. Maybe a bit angry. But my father told me, "Don't say that, Billy."
I was like, "Why?"
He's all like, "Because, first of all...that's impossible. Everyone makes mistakes. There's no way around that." Then he added, "And second of all, I want you to make mistakes in your life. I want you to make as many as you can. You hear me?"
I thought that was...weird. I said, "You WANT me to make mistakes?"
He's like, "Yes. Mistakes are sometimes essential to growth. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes it's no big deal...and sometimes you suffer a loss that threatens to break you down from the inside out. But you take your blows and you become stronger for it." He told me, "Sometimes the harsh pain of defeat can teach you things that they easy joy of victory can't. If you don't think big, you can't live big. Period. You can't just curl up in some safe little corner and expect trouble to pass you by. Trouble is a part of life, and this is the time that you should be using to learn how to deal with that trouble. Learn to navigate through life. Learn how to intelligently problem solve while the problems are still 'small'. Because they only get bigger when you get older, Billy. Believe me. Ok?"
I don't know how I felt about that. Maybe it'll be something that I'll understand on a deeper level later. But I made sure to remember it. If for no other reason than it almost makes me feel better about the wicked things I've done as of late. When I think about it...Jimmy, AJ, Bobby, Sam...the mistakes I made with them really has taught me a lot. It's almost like those mishaps were preparing me for something bigger. Something awesome. And when my dad dropped me off today, one of the first things I did was send Brandon a message to say, "I love you. I know this is out of the blue, but it's what I feel. I just didn't see the need to keep that all to myself."
I don't know what inspired me to spill my guts like that. But, GOD, did it feel once I did!!! I almost felt a bit teary eyed when I sent the message to his phone. the emotion was sooooo strong. I had been holding it back, trying to analyze and strategize and search for the right moment where I didn't give him the power to reject me. But...like I said...I can't confront one problem and cower in fear of another.
Think big, Billy. Believe that it can work...and it will.
I miss you, Brandon. And I hope you don't freak out when you read that.
Ugh....and now? I WAIT! This part is going to SUCK!
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