This time next week I will be packing my bags to fly out to Cali. and drive back to Nashville with my mom and her evil cat Lucy. I am so excited that my mom decided to retire to Nashville that I still can’t really believe it’s happening. I see only good things coming from her being geographically close to me now. However, there seems to be one bad thing that is happening in my subconscious.
For the last few weeks I’ve been having nightmares about my mom moving here. That’s not accurate, I’m having nightmares that my mom is moving here and bringing my former stepfather with her. A man that neither of us have seen for around 18 years now. I have these nightmares where she doesn’t mind that he doesn’t work, that he drinks himself to oblivion and then hits her. That she thinks I need to just get over it and make nice. While these thoughts have no basis in reality, they are messing me up.
Everyone has gone through shit in their lives. Mine was my stepfather. When my mom called me at my dad’s house to tell me that she had gotten engaged while on a trip to NYC….I cried. I mean, sobbed, terrified of what would happen. I knew this guy was a jerk. He had his moments, but he drank a lot and wasn’t nice to my mom a lot of the time. I didn’t even know that the scar above her eyebrow wasn’t from a sailing accident, but from him pushing her down the stairs!
I tried to make the best of the situation. I tried to not be devastated that instead of going to middle school with my friends I’d had since Kindergarten I was moving to California to be closer to my stepbrother….the stepbrother who threw darts at my Duran Duran posters and hung my stuffed animals from the ceiling when I was out of town.
We moved to California and there were the basic trauma involved with something like that. My stepfather was a lawyer and had to pass the California Bar Exam. He seemed to wait forever to even take it and then when he finally did, he didn’t pass. He didn’t have a job or seemingly any intention of getting a job. At our first place in Hermosa Beach I didn’t have a bedroom….I slept in the dining room. California dreaming my ass. After a particularly horrible stretch where my stepfather was drinking a lot and berating me and my mother for being lazy, etc….my mom decided we should make a break for it. She didn’t tell me what was going on, but called me to let her in the security gate of the building. I came down to open the gate and she was with a friend and they told me to just get in the car, we were leaving. My 6th grade mind raced through all the things that I didn’t have with me…but didn’t care. We were going to be free.
Except we weren’t. We were gone for a few days, they apparently “worked things out” and we went back. I am pretty sure that it was right then that I was completely over this man and hated him being in my life.
Everything was pretty much status quo until my Junior year of high school (status quo meaning he was a drunk bastard, didn’t have a job and was horrible to my mother at every opportunity!). The summer before my Junior year I had made a birthday dinner for my mother. I had to run to the store to get something and asked my stepfather to watch the food in the oven to make sure it didn’t burn. I came back. It was black. I was furious! As any 17 year old would do when furious, I cried. I screamed at my stepfather asking him why he couldn’t do one little thing. He proceeded to throw the burnt food at me and slap me across the face. Happy Birthday Mom!
That was it, I left the house and started walking to my friend’s house. I couldn’t even think straight enough to drive. I walked and cried and walked and cried. I called my mom later and told her I couldn’t come home until something was done about him. She asked that I give her a few days and she would work something out. The next few months were a disaster. As to not dwell on these more then I need to, here is a bulleted list that is not necessarily in chronological order:
- Restraining orders were filed and then rescinded
- One holiday weekend my mother and I were basically held hostage because one of the therapists my stepfather had been seeing had called the police because he was homicidal
- Another of the therapists he was seeing had called the police because they thought he was suicidal…that sounded like a great thing to me!
- The SWAT team was called out and stationed on the roof of the houses next door
- The Redondo Beach police knew our names and address by heart, which actually got me out of a speeding ticket (sometimes pity is good)
- My father came up from San Diego and placed my mom in a hotel, took me back with him and told my stepfather he should leave or my dad would make sure he left.
- During my stay in San Diego, the police escorted my stepfather from our home and served him with yet another restraining order….but not before he stole all of our stuff. My mom called me to tell me that from a phone she had to go buy because he even took that.
- After yet another retraining order was rescinded, I came home to find my stepfather passed out on the kitchen floor. (My mom and I lived upstairs, he lived downstairs, we shared the kitchen) I walked over to the counter, stepping over his drunken loser body and grabbed a kitchen knife. I was thisclose to ending this nightmare for once and all. But I couldn’t do it…I couldn’t let this man ruin my life even more. So I ran upstairs and locked myself in my room.
- I don’t remember specifics, but somehow my mom got him to leave. He gave back some of the stuff he had stolen, took his cat and his truck and left.
- We moved across town. Occasionally got random letters from him filled with hateful things.
- We moved again and I don’t think he ever got that address.
This monster made it impossible for me to go away to college. He ruined my mother in ways I can’t even comprehend. What makes me most angry is that he has obviously made me question my mother’s judgement, even now, nearly 20 years later. I want to be past this….but I don’t know that I will ever be.