- I feel like such a baby sometimes. I don't know why I'm still crying like this. I should stop. I'm getting ridiculous now.
I pretty much locked myself up in my room all night tonight because I didn't want my mom to see me in this pitiful state of mind. And I certainly didn't want to get her started on top of it. Something tells me that if we both started sniffling and bawling like this, the whole house would cave in on us from the suction of profound sadness alone. You know?
I just...I feel...
I don't know what to feel.
So...I said 'goodbye' to my father today.
I saw him get in the truck and literally pull away from me. Watching him drive off from his pseudo house until he disappeared around some random neighborhood corner...never knowing when I was going to actually lay eyes on him again.
I'm sure that, one day in the future, I'll look back on this journal entry and I'll be reminded of just how much this fucking hurts right now. But, hopefully, I'll have a better understanding as to why. Besides the obvious, of course. And I'll be able to deal with it a bit better than I am today.
Then again, maybe there's nothing outside of the obvious. Maybe I'm just sad that my dad's gone away, and there's no other reason needed to be really torn up about it. Because...even though it's only been a few hours, I can feel the distance growing between us already. And it sucks. It really SUCKS.
The morning actually started off with two or three messages from Jimmy LaPlane. I can't say that I was surprised by that. I had a few stressful thoughts about the short talk that we had yesterday. Nothing really bad, just...I wasn't quite sure what to think about what was going on in his head. Or in mine, for that matter. I'm totally sympathetic to Jimmy's position in all this, and that makes me want to look for ways to at least keep him from feeling so heartbroken about it all. I just...I wonder if I should have let a few more weeks go by before jumping into things all over again.
His first message said, "Billy? I'm sooooo sorry about yesterday! I don't know what happened. I shouldn't have said what I said. I just...I feel so EMPTY without you here. And I know that you probably HATE me now and don't want to talk to a total loser like me ever again. :( But that doesn't change how I feel about you, ok? I love you, Billy. Real, true, LOVE! I'm sorry that I'm so fucked up! Please don't hate me! I can't help being the way I am. I just wanna hear your voice again. Is that ok? Please get back to me. And I'm so sooooo sorry!"
Why does Jimmy think I hate him? I don't. I really don't.
Then his second message said, "Can we talk on the phone again, Billy? Please? God....I can't tell you how much of a relief it was just to hear your voice in my ear again. It just made me feel so GOOD inside, you know? The idea that you even think about me from time to time makes all of this so much easier to deal with. It really helps to make me feel less...'forgotten'...and worthless, you know? I think that part hurt more than anything else. So please talk to me if you get a chance, Billy! PLEASE??? I'll keep my phone with me all day today. Just...hit me up whenever you have a free moment. ANY free moment. Love you, Billy..."
Then I found a third message from him that said, "I'm being a PEST, aren't I? I'm sorry. :((( I didn't mean to bother you. I guess that's why you got sick of me in the first place, isn't it? When I called you at work? That's why you just dumped me out of nowhere and refuse to talk to me anymore. I get it. I'll leave you alone now. I just wanted to let you know that I missed you,and that I can't help but to think about you. All the time. That's all. I'll always love you. I'll shut up for now. Bye..."
I didn't get any opportunities to see the messages he sent as they came in, or I would have answered them. At least one of them. Just to put his mind at ease, if nothing else. But I got all three messages at once. And when I did the math, all three were sent to me within about a 90 minute period. All while I was spending time helping my dad pack and leave for his road trip to a new life today. So I guess I just had other things on my mind at the time.
I think I hurt Jimmy by not answering him right away. HONESTLY...I just didn't have a CHANCE yet. It's not like I was deliberately ignoring him. But...I think he was hurt, regardless. I'll try to be better about that. I don't want to be a jerk to Jimmy. I just...didn't know he'd crash and burn so FAST after our first talk last night.
Anyway, my mom took me over to my dad's house today. I thought it was going to be awkward, but it wasn't. Not even a little bit. She even helped load some of the remaining boxes of personal stuff onto the truck. I guess this was just as much a 'goodbye' for her as it was for me. Maybe even more so.
Trace was there, of course. And as soon as we exchanged a smile and a brief hug, I heard a high pitched, "BILLY!!!" And barely turned around fast enough to see Mikey running towards me as fast as his tiny little legs could carry him! Hehehe, I just naturally dipped my knees a bit and opened my arms wide to accept the little imp's assault as charged forward. It's so weird how we all instinctively know to do that whenever it comes to excited little kids like Mikey.
He jumped into my arms and hugged me around the neck as I lifted him off of the ground. But I was instantly attacked by the overpoweringly pungent odor of him and began to cough and gag while Trace laughed at my reaction.
He was like, "Yeah...my baby brother got into your dad's cologne about an hour ago. Hehehe!"
I tried to give Mikey a brief smooch on his cheek where he didn't REEK of old musk cologne, but he was seriously making my eyes water so I had to put him down again. I said, "Ack...! You got all fancy today, huh?"
Mikey was too happy to stand still for more than a few seconds. He giggled, "I smell like daddy!"
But Trace told him, "No, babe. No...you really don't!" Then he grinned at me and said, "That boy's gonna need about twelve baths before we can get him back to normal. My God! He's been chasing off friendly dogs all day!"
Mikey said, "I had HOT DOGS for breakfast!"
To which I replied, "That...sounds pretty gross, actually..."
Trace was like, "It was pretty much the last of the refrigerated stuff, so we figured we'd just nuke a couple to fill our bellies before we closed up shop for good." There was a slight pause after those last words left his mouth. There was just this touch of 'finality' to it. One that seemed to make him sad. He cleared his throat and distracted himself by turning around to pat Mikey on the butt, telling him, "Why don't you help Mr. Chase keep the boxes in order, k?" And his tiny feet were in motion before Trace even finished his sentence.
Trace was quiet for a moment as he stared at the remaining clutter on the front lawn and in the driveway. I asked him, "So...you guys all straight? You and Mikey?"
Trace said, "Yeah. We moved almost everything of ours back home the day before yesterday. All except for the necessities, that is. Mikey and I wanted to stay here to say goodbye."
I asked him, "Home again, huh? How is that working out in your head?"
Trace gave me a smile, like, "I don't really know yet. My dad's a total geek when he's sober, you know that?"
I'm like, "Most dad's are."
But he looked back at the truck, and said, "Not all of them." Then he tells me, "I'm definitely going to try to give my old man the benefit of the doubt. We had a home cooked meal for dinner together when we brought our stuff in. Most awkward dinner EVER! Hehehe! But...I guess he's trying. It feels fake, but I think that's more because of me than it is because of him."
I said, "I guess I can understand that. Maybe it just takes time to adjust."
Trace was like, "At least now I know what I need to do to whip my dad into shape. Now that I have a decent example to go by. Hehehe! I don't know. I've never really been much of an optimist up until a month or two ago...but I've got a good feeling that things are going to be different this time around. Weird...but different. If nothing else, I'll have a challenge to keep me interested for the rest of the Summer." There was another brief pause between us...just a little bit longer than the last one. That's when Trace turned towards me, and looked me in the eye. He said, "I don't remember if I really expressed this to you or not, but...I just really want to thank you for what you did for me and my brother. Just for taking the time to open up your heart and care at all. Not many people would do that. Not many friends would do that. I owe you everything..."
I interrupted him, saying, "No, dude. Honestly, you don't owe me anything. You were in trouble. You needed help. When your friends need help...you help. Period."
Trace put a hand on my shoulder and said, "You did more than help, Billy. You changed my life. If it wasn't for you and your dad and Lynn...I don't know what might have happened to Mikey and me. We could have been living on the streets somewhere. Hungry. Alone. Hurt. Maybe even worse. I just want you to know...I'm never going to forget this." That said, Trace leaned in to give me the warmest, most heartfelt, hug around the neck. The kind of hug that overwhelms you with its sincerity. And he said, "From this day forward, you've got a friend for life, Billy..."
Hugging him back, I said, "No...I've got a brother."
Then I heard, "I WANT HUGS!!!" And Mikey ran over to blind us with his 'daddy stench' allover again!
I was like, "Sorry. Brothers!"
We did help with some of the boxes, trying to keep things in order and keep the breakable stuff from being placed at the bottom of the stack. A few times my dad led me into the house for a few more things, and...just the emptiness...it got to me. Every word spoken rang out with an entirely different echo now that all the furniture and carpet was gone. So strange. It barely resembled the place I was confined to after my little party foul way back when.
God...time sure does move fast sometimes...
My mom and Lynn were...'civil' to one another. There's really no reason for them to be friends, but my mom was much nicer to her than I ever was.
Just before Trace's dad came to pick him up and take him home, he was standing next to me, and said, "She's really not so bad, you know?"
I'm like, "Yeah. So you said. A bunch of times before."
He said, "Hehehe, it's true! She's a good person, once you give her a chance."
I sighed, like, "I suppose. But every time I look at her face, all I see is the heartless bitch that ripped my whole family life apart and ruined my future. It's not really something that you can make up for with a bowl of ice cream and a smile."
Trace just said, "Sometimes life changes for the best, sometimes for the worst. And sometimes...it just 'changes'. There's nothing more to it than that."
I asked, "Is that one of my dad's humble words of wisdom?"
Trace was like, "Hehehe, NO! That was all mine. I'm not giving your daddy credit for everything, ya know?"
I will admit that it was hard to recognize Trace's dad as the boys piled into the car, rolling down all four windows to survive the trip home with Mikey bouncing around as though he were rose petal fresh. No messy hair, no sweaty skin, no glazed look in his eye. Who knows? Maybe he's going to really make a decent leap towards this whole parenting thing. We can always hope, right?
The front lawn suddenly became empty.
The driveway was soon to follow.
And the only thing left to do was check to make sure that there wasn't anything left to do.
What had once been a couple of months, then a couple of weeks, then a couple of days...had now been reduced to a matter of minutes. I found myself REALLY not wanting to let him go!
A lump in my throat, I watched as my mom and dad shared a long embrace beside the truck. My mom was crying a little bit, but did what she could to keep her composure. They traded one final 'I love you' and a kiss to achieve the needed closure on this chapter in their loving life together. The break up of a team. And well wishings for a future that may turn out to be better for them both.
It was time. My turn to say goodbye.
My father's eyes were so red. Heh...even at 15 years of age, he still towers over me. In my heart, he'll always tower over me.
Not knowing what to say, unable to hold back my tears any longer, I just collapsed into his arms and pressed my face against his chest. I felt his arms wrap around me, and it only seemed to make my sobbing even worse. He said, "I'm never going to be apart from you, Billy. You understand? You're the best thing I've done with my life. I know that you're going to grow up to be a good man." He heard me sniffling, and kissed the top of my forehead, and said, "I'm so proud of you, Billy. You study hard, take care of your mom...and go on to do great things. You hear?" I nodded, and he told me, "I LOVE you, Billy! Don't you ever forget that. If you need me for anything...anything at all...I'm just a phone call away. Got it?"
I sobbed, "I love you too, Dad..."
I held on to him with both arms for as long as I could. I knew the second that I let him go...I'd be accepting this whole situation as a part of my reality. I'd be giving up. And he'd be gone forever.
But holding on forever wasn't an option. And crying into his chest wasn't going to change anything. So...once I had gotten my fill...I prepared myself for the cold wind that was certain to wrap itself around me once I turned him loose.
I let go.
He looked down and dried my eyes for me.
I looked up and dried his eyes for him too.
Then he kissed my forehead again and walked back around the truck to get in on the driver's side.
Lynn had a small purse slung over her shoulder, and had a few bags and a small potted plant in her hand. All of which she was struggling to get in the front passenger side seat of the moving truck.
Did I hesitate to help her? Definitely. But...my father's expecting me to be a good man. That's just what I want to be.
I walked over to help her with her temporary burden, and waited until she got into the truck, handing her the last few items needed for the long trek to their brand new life. She quietly said, "Thank you, Billy."
She was probably expecting the usual...well, not a COLD shoulder really...but a luke warm shoulder at best.
Instead...I said, "I...I want you guys to have the best of luck. Both of you." She looked at me with a bit of surprise, and I'm like, "Take good care of my dad, ok?"
It wasn't much, but considering that I've probably spoken a total of 13 words to her the entire time I've known about her existence...I think she took it as some sort of an olive branch. And she was brought to tears by the sentiment. She said, "I will, Billy. I promise." And she leaned forward to give me a kiss on the cheek before I closed the door.
My father told me to be good, and I said that I would. Adding, "And Dad? 40's Not old, k?"
He said, "I'm 42, Billy."
I'm like, "Whatever, ya geezer! Get going! Hehehe!"
So...that pretty much brings me right back to me to where I started this entry. Sitting here on my bed, in complete silence, trying to stop myself from crying.
I don't know if I have the energy to write much more tonight. But I'll say this...through the punishments and the arguments and the divorce and the cheating and ALL of it...at the end of the day, I'm happy to say that my father is someone that I can truly be proud of. Someone I've laughed with, and learned from, and grew to respect in the short amount of time that I had him here in my life. To me? That's priceless. Because not everybody gets a Dad like that.
So let me end this on a high note and say...I hope that my dad gets every blessing he deserves. Which is twice as many blessings as he gave out.
Love you, Dad. Always.
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