Sunday, December 03, 2006

My past life

Go grab a cup of coffee--this is a long one~~~ Last night I had a dream that my step-father was getting married again. For you to realize how bizarre it is for me to even dream about him, I will have to explain a bit about him. When he and my Mom met, they were both in their late 40’s, with bad marriages behind them. He was a very striking, handsome man and my Mom was swept off her feet. He owned his own business, drove a terrific car, and appeared to be the epitome of a financially secure, humorous, attractive man. They had dated for about 2 years (on weekends since he lived the next state over and worked during the week) when he proposed to her giving her a glaring 5 carat diamond engagement ring. When she told me she was marrying this man, I was so happy, mostly because my Mom was happy. My own father had been an abusive alcoholic that I will post about later. Anyway, they married and had a commuter marriage for about a year because my grandma was very ill and my Mom wouldn’t leave her to move to the new husbands state. New husband was very very sweet about this and understood completely so every Friday he would drive 2 hours to our home, spend the weekend and go back to his job on Sunday night. Looking back, I think it would have been better had this arrangement stayed this way. When my grandma passed away Mom sold our house and we moved to new husbands town and begin our life as a "new family". That’s when things started to change. For the sake of keeping this a blog post and not a novel, I will abbreviate some of the things that ensued. Like most second marriages they each came into it with "baggage" which was to be expected. This was all in the days before pre-nups were everywhere but they had one because it was a second marriage for both of them. The house was his, but Mom was allowed to live there till she passed away should he pre-decease her but the furnishings in the house were hers. Also in the prenup was a line that if she passed away first, he got the ring back.Things went along for a couple of years pretty routinely. Slowly he started to withdraw. He would eat in a different room, watch a second television in a separate room, and eventually he quit talking. Mom kept trying to find out what the problem was but he refused to talk. Literally, not even a guttural response. Needless to say things were getting weird. At one point he started giving her invoices for the ½ of the utilities, he would keep a list of the foods he ate and eventually there were separate grocery lists, one for him and one for Mom and I. Yep, we were descending into some kind of weird hell. He then spent a year sitting in the living room. We could pass in the hall like complete strangers. I spent a lot of time hiding in my room because I was so creeped out. He eventually moved out-taking only the living room TV, he just quit coming to the house. Actually Mom and I started laughing a lot more again and enjoyed each others company. By this time I was in high-school and his absence was actually welcome because I didn’t have to explain this weird guy sitting in the living room. After he was gone about a year, Mom got a call from him. He wanted to meet for dinner. As it turns out they met at the restaurant he had been eating at for this entire past year. He said he was ready to tell her what was wrong. It had nothing to do with her or me, it was his own demons creeping up from his impoverished childhood. They ended up really talking like they had never talked before and he eventually moved back in and things improved. Mom was laughing again, though we still had to pay for any extra sandwiches or cookies we ate-yeah, I know still weird but manageable. Apparently when he was a boy, he was the only one in his family that spoke English. They were Polish immigrants and he was the one, as a young boy, that was sent out to beg for credit so the family could eat, which apparently is something they didn’t do on a regular basis. When he left school in the 6th grade (a fact he never shared with my Mom, she found out from his sister many many years later) he was put to work to support the family. He made a vow at that time, that he would never go hungry again which would explain why he would eat leftovers till they were moldy instead of throwing them out. This is another example of how our childhood molds our adult lives. (No pun intended). Fast forward to 1994-my Mom died. I was married by this time and living about 2 hours away. She was in a hospital near my home when she died and step father was staying with us. Mom had wanted to be buried in her home town that was about 4 hours from my home so we made all the arrangements and off we went. Then things started to get weird again. On the way home from the funeral, he asked for "the ring" back. Oooookaaaay-no problem, just buried my best friend and he is worried I might run off with the ring…Well, I got it for him and he then presented me with an invoice totally $13,000 that he said Mom "owed" him for her part of the water, heat, and RENT for the past few years. HUH? Yeah—Mr. Weird was back. By this time I was an adult and had a voice. I subsequently sent HIM an invoice for maid service, (all the years of cooking and cleaning, laundry, furniture rental, sex (insert big gross here) and everything else she provided for him. Quite the coincidence that the invoice for her services were about the same as his for the "rent" et cetera. Now the only contact I have with him is Christmas cards, getting him caught up on my family and just basically being kind to an elderly man with a lot of demons in his past. I think his is probably a sad life (he does have children from his first marriage) spent mostly alone, but that is the way he prefers it. Anyway, last night I had a dream that he was getting married---wonder if the whole cycle would repeat itself~~

2 comments:

The Independent Urologist said...

Crazy story. Good post. Well written.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

I think this is a very rich dream. With all that you mentioned, it seems like a scary transformation occurred. Would be interesting what else you dream over the next few nights. See if there is a symbolic link to them