Chapter 13

Things at B’s house became more fragile, the longer Dad was sick. The more time that went by the more he wanted me to be his caregiver exclusively. I would be at work and I would receive calls night and day.

Thankfully, I worked for a wonderful family. I…

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Chapter 13

Things at B’s house became more fragile, the longer Dad was sick. The more time that went by the more he wanted me to be his caregiver exclusively. I would be at work and I would receive calls night and day.

Thankfully, I worked for a wonderful family. I had actually known the kids way back when I was a teen. I had run around with one of the daughters. Even if the call came through the  night, I would call my boss and let her know. She would say, “go ahead Terry, run over to him and then come back as soon as possible.” I was running three different lives as caregiver all at once, but I did it. Anytime Dad called, I was there.

By this time the half-sister and Al were completely out of the picture. Al has a routine he follows. It is part of his mentality. As long as he doesn’t have to part from this, he is alright. He went to work. He worked at a linen company and worked from 10am to sometimes 7 or 8pm. It was sort of crappy hours but he didn’t say much. He would come home and eat one of his frozen chicken patties and I don’t know what else. He watched TV and then went to bed at 11pm  each and every night.

I would call and check on him but still not allowed to actually go in the family house. It was one of those situations I was forced to look at as a fight or flight. I thought, as long as I know he is alright, I will let things rest, while I take care of my husband and wife team and Dad.

When I would go into B’s house either to play cards with Dad or be his caregiver, I was always met at the back door by her or the dog. As soon as I stepped into the kitchen she would start in on me.

“I am just so damn pissed that I am with a dying man. Do you know what we did when my own husband was dying? We all got a beer and gave him a beer and we would sing around his bed and get drunk.”

I just looked at her in awe. I couldn’t imagine this but of course I was not and still am not a drinker. I have seen the damage alcohol can do to people. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to criticize, but in my opinion, I want to know the stupid mistakes I make in life.

I never said anything about her remark and let her proceed to belittle me all for the sake of Dad. She would show me the cupboard full of medications and express how Dad was taking up her kitchen space.

She would show me the partial bottles that I needed to call the doctor on or go have refilled. She would show me her refrigerator and tell me how many dollars she spent on Dad just trying to keep in here what he wanted to eat.

She said she was on a limited income and could not afford to give him whatever without the fear of going broke. From then on I would call Dad on my way over and ask what he was in the mood for to eat, then I would go get it.

As he became weaker he always wanted egg-drop soup from the Chinese Restaurant. That got to be about the only thing he would eat, but it was alright. He would have me feed it to him and we chatted and gave each other eyes for words.

B got bolder as time passed by. She would begin to tell me about their sex life. I hate to tell you this, but I wasn’t interested in Dad and her sex life. For heaven’s sakes, this is my father we are talking about.

After while I wasn’t even sure if she was telling the truth, as Dad couldn’t make it up her stair case anymore, and if she did get him there, she pushed him all the way up the stairs. I was just standing by, holding my breath, waiting for him to fall backwards and topple on her and they both would come crashing down, but it never happened.

Then she began to tell me what a disappointment I was to my Dad. I heard things I had never even questioned in my own heart that I had done to hurt him. I knew that I had disappointed him in some ways. We always want more for our kids than we had and maybe I didn’t produce all he wanted, but I loved him and accepted him for all his faults. He was my hero, I had always placed him high on a pedestal. I don’t feel this way any longer after caring for Al.

She would tell me bad things about Al and the sister. She would complain about my Mom. This used to make me royally pissed. She never even knew our Mom. Mom had died seven years prior. I wanted to tell her off so bad but alas, I couldn’t. I wanted her to be out of the picture. How I thought she was so nice and pretty in the beginning is beyond my own imagination, for I now looked at her as the wicked witch of the west.

One time when I was at work she called me around 1am and told me, “your Dad is wet. If you want him dry you better get your ass over here. I am not changing some sick man.”

I would get up out of bed and make sure my people I was in charge of were alright and then sneak off to the five-mile trip to her house to change him. I would not see her when I arrived. She would leave the back porch light on and the door unlocked. I used to think, why hasn’t someone broke in here and kidnapped the old hag?

After cleaning him up I would race back over to the house I resided in on the weekends. After work ended I would run by Dad’s house and make sure Al’s car was gone. Relieved, I would head home to try to live some sort of life.

Free Write Friday, August 4th, 2012

When I was a small child, my brother and I were taken from our mother and placed with our father, and his mother and father to live. We lived here for what it seems for about one year.

We lived in a two-story house, which is white and had a wrap-a-round porch on the front. It had very little yard space to play in, and an alley ran on the side of the house, so for children it was not a safe play area. I believe when my mind goes back in time, we must have been between three and four years of age.

The upstairs of the house was where the bedrooms were placed, and although, I do know I was the age of being out of a baby bed, I can still have visions of sleeping in the same room where my father slept, in some form of a baby bed or maybe it was a toddlers bed.

I can remember waking up in the mornings and my father holding my hand as we walked safely down the long flight of stairs. It is strange how we can remember bits of pieces of our young days, but even today, all the pieces are not connected. The puzzle looks put together, and the cardboard waiting for the missing puzzle pieces has turned brown from old age and sitting empty.

It was at this house that I remember much chaos. I can remember a lot of yelling and fighting. I can remember getting strange feelings that I was in the way. It seems like there was words of I am doing what I have to do, not because I want to, but you put me in a position of being a mother again, said by my grandmother.

My father worked the evening shift at the local bowling ally, and his parents cared for us while he was at work. We were not allowed to make sounds, and we could only play with one toy at a time, but very quietly. I can remember seeing my brother laying on the floor, and rolling some sort of car, maybe the size of a hot wheels, back and forth on the floor, never making a noise.

My brother and I never had any bonding when we were young. One reason was for the lack of using our voices. Another was my brother didn’t talk much. His vocabulary was very limited due to  lack of being  taught, or communicated with in any other way than was necessary.

My brother was kept captured in a high chair for a good part of each day, so he would not get in to anything, and I can remember tears and crying from him. I don’t know what I did with myself for most of my days, but I can see now where I am in my own life and Al’s life, that how we were treated as young children definitely helped mold us into what we are today.

I still cling to being accepted. I go over board to try to please others, even when I know I am being used. I hear my brother’s words when he is upset,  saying no one has ever cared about him.

This is not true, but the molding that was formed when very small remains in his mind today. Our stepmother did her best to raise us, and I am pretty sure she loved us in the best way she could. There was never bonding between mom and us kids, in the times that are most important, but there was a love.

I do remember when we lived in the white house by the alley, there was an elementary school that sat right across from our house, and if I was very good, or our father was sleeping  later than usual, or our grandparents felt they needed more quiet time, they would tell me to go to the school ground across the street and swing on the swings. They showed they cared somewhat, because they would always point to the yellow warning sign with the children on the front, this is where you play and this is where you stay. If I look out my front window, and I don’t see you, you will get a licking when we find you.

I would go over and sit on the swings and swing alone. My brother would not be allowed to go with me, because of his age, I think. Sometimes, a little girl about my age would come to the school grounds and swing with me. I am sure we chatted or laughed or maybe we swung in silence, I can’t remember.

One day many years later, when I was grown, or thought I was grown, I worked at a local restaurant burger joint. There was lots of teenagers who worked there. A quiet, taller than most girls, worked there also, and mainly worked my shifts in the evenings. Eventually, she and I became friends, and we got close enough that we even started to stay over at each others houses on the weekends. Remember those slumber parties? This is what we had. Sue, her name, introduced me to one of her friends, and so the three of us formed our little circle of friends.

One night on one of these over night stays, conversations drifted to when we were young. I have no idea of what was really transpired, probably silly things, like cute boys! I do remember one thing though, and will never forget it.

Sue talked about where she lived when she was little and how she used to go to the school-house near her home and she would swing with a little lonely girl. Her mother would see the young child sitting all by herself, and would ask Sue to go over and keep her company.

Sue and I discovered we were each the little girls that swung together when we were very small. She lived one block from the school. I find it amazing how God brought us together once again, after all these years. We were like lost sisters come together once again.

Now, even years later, she lives in a town near by, and I see her once in a while, and we always stop for a moment or two to hurriedly catch up with what is happening in our lives now.

So many times when I go by a school today, and I see the yellow sign warning children at play, I go back to my youth, and try to choose the memories of the little girl on the swing who sat with me, and turn my back on the sad memories of confusion of wondering whether I was wanted or not.


Thank you Kellie for offering me another chance to write for your writing exercise prompts!