la Ketch

my life story

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

frances runs away to the bathroom - part 2

They were right. I had nowhere to go. I had no money, no car and no shoes. I was screwed. Also, we were so far away from anything. I couldn’t even walk to a payphone and call someone collect. I had to go back in. I waited for a while and snuck around through the side door, walked up the stairs to my room, grabbed a blanket from my bed and locked myself in the bathroom. This time, no one had a key.

It took them a while to figure out where I was. My sister, once again was the one who finally discovered me. I had turned on the radio to give myself away. What was wonderful about hiding in this bathroom was that it had a laundry shoot under the sink. If I put my head up to the chute, I could hear them talking about me like Tom Sawyer at his own funeral. I could hear my mom wondering if she should go find me. I could hear him telling her that I couldn’t have gotten far. I could hear that it was tense between them and that my mom was defending me. It was unraveling between them. Not that things were so tightly knit to begin with.

I slept in the bathroom that night. I opened the door for my sister and she brought me some food and talked to me. She was the peacekeeper and was trying to get me to be nicer to my mom but she always made it clear that she was on my side. The next day I got up and went to school on the bus early by myself. I planned on going back into the bathroom after I got home but I didn’t. Maybe if there had been a TV in there I would have. I get bored so easily.

Soon after, my mom explained to us about the divorce and this big shift happened. She started talking to us like friends. She started telling us how unhappy she had been all this time, that she had no idea what she was doing, that she regretted selling our house in California, that she didn't love her new husband that she couldn’t stand his kids, that she cried in the shower. She hated her life in our new house so much that she would sit in the parking lot at the grocery store – just sit there in her car for hours – so she didn’t have to go home. She admitted, finally, that she had made a huge mistake. She told us how sorry she was.

More than anything I love it when I'm right. When my husband tells me that I am right about something, even the smallest thing, I always pretend that I can’t hear him so that he will have to repeat it louder and louder until finally he is screaming the phrase, “YOU WERE RIGHT!” “Thank you,” I say. It’s delicious. I was really relieved to hear my mom say that she had been wrong about getting married so soon and wrong to make us move away but I’ve never held it against her. I’ve always been incredibly sad for her and what she went through. Especially now that I’m married, I can begin to see it but not until I have children with my husband will I be able to begin to conceive of what she felt, continues to feel. She was married to this man for 15 years and she had two children with him and she was in love with him. She should not be held accountable for decisions she made after loosing him.

The problem is that my mom will not forgive herself for it to this day. I feel so badly for her, carrying it around – her Albatross. And the money, she won't forgive herself for losing it. She gave a big chunk of it my ex-step dad actually. She gave him that house for a nothin. He had to give her some money for it but she let him give it to her slowly in payments. She did this because she felt so badly for “ruining his life.” Puh-LEASE. He’s such a fucker. I hope that house has termites and dry rot and that the septic tank backs up and that a plane crashes into it.

There were two really big moments that I remember crystal clear from this time. The first is when the three of us (me/mom/sis) were in a family therapy session with the new awesome therapist who we all loved. My mom told her how I had been rebelling and acting out and telling her not to move or get married and the therapist said, “why didn’t you listen to her?” For some reason that meant so much to me. FINALLY, finally someone – an ADULT was acknowledging my opinion as valid. I felt like I had been screaming at the top of my lungs for a year and a half and no one could hear me. It was such a horrible feeling. I have anxiety dreams like this. I’m walking around screaming at the top of my lungs at everyone about something very dangerous and important and everyone is just ignoring me. It’s a horrible dream. I’ve since learned that when I lower the volume, people listen more closely. It’s hard to remember though. It’s so in my nature to scream.

The second thing I remember very clearly is driving in my mom’s mini van with my mom and my sister and we’re discussing what we should do next, after the divorce. It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. This part of the world is so beautiful when the weather is nice, when it’s not raining but it’s always raining. People from Seattle will tell you that it doesn’t rain there as much as you think. They are lying through their teeth because IT’S ALWAYS RAINING. Consequently, when it’s not raining, it’s even more beautiful because it’s so green from all of the rain but also because you appreciate it more.

My mom asked us if we wanted to stay in Washington or if we wanted to move back to California. Since the day we stepped off the plane, all my sister and I could talk about was how we wanted to go back to California. We wanted to move back there desperately. We would lie on our backs in my room and say things to each other like, “Would you walk back to California?” “Yes.” “So would I.” But for some reason, for some crazy, crazy reason we all agreed unanimously that we would stay. We would find another house to live in together, the three of us, in the god damned Claw. For my sister and I, I think it was that we were just starting to get our bearings, finding friends, fitting in. I know for me the big fish small pond thing was pretty enticing. If I had gone back to California, to a school three times the size where people had way more money and there were so many beautiful girls, I never would have scaled the social stratosphere as I was able to there. For my mom, I think it was that she didn’t want to go back and face what she was running away from. The memory of my dad and all of her friends, many who were married to cops. Cops that hadn't been killed. We bring it up to each other now and again because we still can’t figure it out, “Why did we stay?” And then we joke that we only stayed because we happened to make the decision on the one sunny day of the year.


At 10:04 PM, Blogger Eve said...

Wow- that is awesome. Thank god for sisters, huh? And thank god again that your mom had the strength to leave... so many women don't. Just imagine what life would have been like then...

ps- I lived in Seattle for a year, and my dad was a cop, too.

At 1:59 AM, Anonymous JT said...

I just came across this blog and found that I just had to read the whole thing in a single sitting.

Wonderful natural storytelling ... you've got a real gift for crafting a compelling online narrative!

At 8:30 AM, Blogger la Ketch said...

wow, thanks jt. what a nice compliment! stay tuned. more highschool debauchery to come...


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