If this is what it takes
The day my dad died was the happiest day of my life:
This is what I had always pictured myself saying to my kids if they were to ask me about my father, their grandfather, one day.
I never had the father son relationship you see on the silver screen where Mr dad and Little son go on a camping trip with some buddies … No.
Other than that I just always had the impression that my father’s time on this Earth was limited. I mean diabetic; para gliding, 1000cc bike riding … He’s always had a taste for the extreme.
That’s what comes to mind when watch him go in rage; boiling blood over mushrooms we rather should not have bought. His screams are pathetic but nonetheless hurtful … the way he treats my mother … the way he looks at me: the vision of a minotaur as he asks if I’m challenging him.
Before I continue I need you to know that my father had a bad childhood from what I have heard. Whether this is the reason for his outbursts and temper tantrums I do not know: I am not Dr Phil. It is the reader that must judge.
My furthest memory, I was three or perhaps four. We had just moved into our new house – my grand father’s house. My mother, who is a complete other story on the side, once stupidly went up the stairs where old granddaddy lived and decided to steal some hundred notes from his closet.
Somehow he found out and all hell broke lose.
I remember trying to stop my father – kicking and screaming as I watched in horror as he kicked my crying mom – bleeding and crying on the ground.
The memory always stuck. The promise afterwards: “I will never beat your mother again.”
And they did stop. Some few years later my sister was born and I believed we were an happy family – the fights in between were small – un-dangerous
Until she was older. The parents discovered a new passion for clubbing – I remember I use to think they were like the Oprah Winfrey Show. Like always having guests on their show as they went clubbing with many different people.
Everything was great then – weeks went by without as much as one fight.
Then they came home and the rage was unstoppable. I can not remember precisely what the fight was about and therefor it is pointless to speak of it but sometime later the truth had come out that my mother had cheated on my dear father with somebody she had met at work.
At the time I could not blame her.
So they got divorced and my mother gave my father full custody Me and my sister lived a hell. I felt like Cinderella as I got stuck with all the chores as my father continued the clubbing on a nightly basis.
Once I walked in on him sleeping with another woman – a much younger version of my mother. I was shocked – a part of me died at the sight.
Mrs Whore went away and my mother came for a weekend visit later the same day.
I could tell something was different as I met her eyes … I also knew that it was only a matter of time before they, my father and mother, get back together.
And as soon as they did – pretending to be another loving married couple, rest assured the fights followed nearby.
All in all things became better. At least much better than they had been if one considered the images that the three year old me had once witnessed.
Later on my father found he could not victimize my mother anymore and he found a new target.
All the anger inside needed to burst out: it needed to be brought down upon someone. Hades wanted to create the pain he was experiencing.
That target was me.
It is a part of my life that I do not want to discuss because I’ve been convinced, even if there is a slight chance that it might not be true, that I deserved the punches my father threw at me.
I convinced myself that I could stand up to him – but every punch I threw seemed to miss – maybe I never truly had the heart.
Luckily for me and sadly for my mother his pattern changed. My mother, unshielded, became the victim once again. I remember I had something cold and solid in my hands as I watched my dad push the chair and she fell like a doll to the ground.
My hand raised – the put-put stick came down.
My father was quick on the offensive – I probably got more hurt than he had. This was the night I was kicked out of the house for the first time.
So I lived with a friend for a couple of weeks and found myself a job – a small one that payed well enough to afford my camera. My mother visited me once there and told me, swore to me, that my father had changed.
I agreed to talk to him and the man I spoke to was my father for a brief ten minutes. When I returned so did the demon within him.
Many people have told me that it is my fault. That I should never interfere when my mother and father are having a heated conversation. Call me Sam but I don’t believe this. Perhaps what my mother says is true – I am stubborn, like my lion of a father.
Everything changed this year. The very first year that my father did not spend with the family. I remember my sister running down the road, in the rain, celebrating with a friend while my mother cried in her room.
The fights were harsh this year. I remember my father going so crazy once upon a time that I tried calling the place on him. My anger shot toward my mother – who begged me not to. Why would she not get rid of Lucifer? Why would she allow him to feed off our feelings?
My mother, once, got fed up of being home alone – I remember, I was at a theme park at the time when she phoned me to tell me that she was going to the mall with her boss and her boss’s husband.
Little less than two hours later she phoned me again to tell me that Daddy had tossed her out of the house. My day was ruined.
I phoned my father to tell him that I was leaving with my mother. He had no objections – now thinking that I was not his child.
The weekend passed and my mother found us a flat. I was happy there – I felt free. The claustrophobic atmosphere of my former house had gone.
I decided to keep contact with the Devil – who I could feel, deep down inside, missed me. As long as he stayed away from my mother.
The problem was she could not stay away from him. We lived in the flat for two weeks and all of a sudden they were back together.
I remembered the first time he came to the flat. I was pissed off – he already pretended to own the home my mother and I had built for ourselves.
A month later we were back in the house.
I remember this perfectly. The day I moved back into my house – my birthday. The image of the card with the cake on was almost instantly torn to shreds
My dad took us out to a restaurant – a ritual for birthdays. We had not even got there and the shit had hit the fan. The car bricked in the middle of the road as he began too shout at my mother – his best friend had died that day and he was upset – again he needed to explode.
I got out of the car and my mother begged me to get back in as my father yelled in the background. We sped back to my home.
But before we got there the shit hit the fan once again. Some car had pissed my dad off and he pulled him over – threatening him with a gun. I was on the phone, crying to a worried friend, at the same time begging the other car to leave – I did not want my father to kill, even though I knew he probably never would kill in his life (I still have my doubts though).
For some reason we went to the restaurant anyway and somehow my shit birthday was to be blamed on me. I hated my mother for thinking it – and wished my father dead for drilling it into her mind.
We were kicked out on the same day we moved back in. We did not leave however.
So my mother an father continued to fight and I would get involved and take a few punches. One day came the mushroom scenario. My mother had told me to buy them after my father had told her he did not eat mushrooms. I bought them, sick and tired of eating food I don’t enjoy while my dad ate what he liked without enjoying it.
A friend was over at the time – a bad influence, I believed, upon my father.
Everybody was fighting with everybody. My grandfather had hit the friend – my father had hit his father – my mother and father were bickering – my sister was trying to attack my father.
I remember I cursed my dad and his friend came for me. My father cheered him on – told him to hit me. I fought back, but lost every bit of respect I had saved up for my father on that day.
The fighting continued for a month. My parents made peace. I was alone. The same old shit everyday.
One day, just the other day in fact, they came home with friends. All of them were so drunk that I remembered thinking that drugs had been involved. I knew something bad was going to happen that night.
I remembered my dad and I having an argument.
I remembered him leaving with one of the friends on the bike.
I remembered wishing him dead.
I remembered talking to my dad’s friend’s wife.
I remembered the deafening sound as the bike collided with the ground somewhere outside I remembered thinking “Please God No!” as I heard it slide. I remembered opening the door to see the bike laying on its side with oil leaking out of its tank as I ran, praying, that it had not been my dad’s bike.
But it was.
The first thought: I wanted this – I deserved the hell I was going to live.
The second: Look around.
My father walked crippled towards me – illuminated by the street lights. I yelled, I ran – furious! Satan can not leave me until I learn to love him.
I knew he was hurting, but I hit him.
Not of anger – but of love – the same love it had taken me so long to learn.
And I hugged him.
That night I got drunk with my father. I spoke my mind and he spoke his; drunk and in pain, but honest no matter how insane.
“If this is what it takes for my son to hug me then I’d crash the bike everyday.”
My story is incomplete and still far from perfect. But this one should have no sequel It is not a fairytale but it is true.
This story deserves a happy ending.
At least that is what I believe.