Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It's Hard to Know Who to Trust

The gold band on the bureau sits alone
It tells me that you will not soon be home
I wonder where you are?
In my heart you're not far
You left with no Goodbye, I don't know why

I've already written about the time my dad packed up and left us. I was in 5th grade and honestly believed that he left to pursue his dream of gold mining.

Sadly, I believed that story until I was 33 years old. That was when dad traveled North to see me and confess why he'd left so many years ago. He'd suspected my mother of having an affair after their first year of marriage. In fact, he doubted that he was my biological father. His suspicions were maddening, and they grew with every accusation and denial. Finally, he packed up all of his belongings and left. In the middle of the day. Without a word to anyone. The only item he left behind was his wedding ring, which sat in the middle of the bureau in his bedroom.

Dad rented a car that day and then parked it on a side street where he could maintain a view of the house. So as we got home and made the discovery that he was gone...he sat quietly in a car and watched the mayhem unfold. I remember feeling absolutely sick to my stomach. And fearful, dreadfully so. Mom was hysterical and yelled at my sister and me. We were not to tell a soul that dad had left. All we could say was that he was traveling on business. I remember spending a lot of time hiding in my closet, singing to myself. Anything, to get away from the screaming.

Dad spied on the family for several months and then realized that Mom wasn't going to have an Interlude. She was too busy scrambling for money to buy food, because he had emptied out the bank and checking accounts, leaving us with nothing.

After many months, Mom eventually accepted dad back...but things between them never improved.

Once he was back in the house, dad started bugging it with microphones and video cams. He was intent on proving mom's infidelity and it became an obsession. He set-up microphones in the furnace vents, under the kitchen table, even on the nightstand next to her bed. The video cameras went outside, facing the back door...because he was convinced that mom was sneaking men into the house while he slept. Dad was never able to catch mom at anything. Ever. And none of us knew about the listening devices. Until dad told me all of this when I was 33.

My sister Denise wants to know how I've been able to forgive him. For abandoning us and leaving us with no money. For never holding a job for more than a year. For not coming home until midnight and keeping mom worried sick that he'd been in an accident because he hadn't called. His DNA bombshell. The confessions of the spyware. And the recent accusation that mom made a play for his 85 year old friend with alzheimers.

I explain it to Denise this way. He's the only dad I have. I don't want to lose that.