I almost remember it like this, with Em glaring at a young, happy me. Happy that he just got a new game or had a nice time out with Mom or Dad. I almost remember her being angry at my naïveté. But if I were to be honest with myself, I know it wasn’t like that. There was no shouting or glaring or contempt. She saw a young, happy me and she bent down, whispered in my ear. She took away whatever trust I had in Mom and Dad out of love, not to be cruel.
I thought she was crazy. But something like that has a way of staying with you. A few weeks later, Mom bought me some game console and a week after that she told me I’d have to decide in court who to be with.
Fortunately, that never happened. According to Mom, Dad straight up said he didn’t want us. He ended up getting us on the weekends. Unfortunately for him, he mostly only got me. Everyone else was too busy. Looking back, maybe I should’ve been a little harder to get. I wanted Dad to like of me so much I became spineless around him, but I think he hated those types. It’s funny how that works. But, he tried. He would always mention how he’s proud of me. It’s cute looking back. I never believed it though. See, Dad had this “what a man is” speech that he always did. I got the hint.
It’s also funny how my being so timid around Dad caused so much friction with Mom. Dad never paid the child support on time and so it was our job to wring it out of him. I remember this one time, Mom got so mad at me. She yelled with tears in her eyes about how we don’t respect her or the money she makes. How we take her for granted because I “forgot” to ask Dad. I’m sorry Mom.
I’ll admit, it got better when we got older. I remember in Grade 11 I really wanted to be a writer and I told Dad. He really did want to support me, but his eyes gave it away. Later, when I told Mom about wanting to go into counselling, she did the same. But I get it now. Parents have a weird way of dealing with showing their love.
I remember this one time, I had some “girl trouble” and Dad talked about the divorce for the first time in 15 years. He talked while he scribbled on some scrap paper. I think it helped him focus. And, for the first time, I realized that they went through the same shitty divorce that I did.
Mom was a trooper too. When I was in university, I remember seeing Mom look so fragile. The worst part was that I couldn’t tell if she had gotten old or if she was always like this. Em told me, Mom would buy the big bag of rice but leave it at the bottom of the steps until we got through enough of it for her to carry.
He stopped for a second. He hadn’t gone to either funeral, but he always meant to visit. He thought maybe now he could be honest with his parents.
He told them about what the other had done to and for their children. Apologized for how much distance he created, for having a courtroom wedding that neither knew about, and ignoring most of their calls. He hoped that they didn’t mind lying next to each other. It just seemed kind of fitting. In life they separated, but here they were together again.
He promised to bring his kid as soon as he’s born then started to pack up. Before leaving he left a bottle of wine for Mom, a 6-pack for Dad, and some flowers between their tombstones.