Lonely Man Chronicles: 80 Proof Childhood

by admin on November 20, 2010

Lonely Man Chronicles

80 Proof  Childhood

He tries not to think of his family, the memories causing him to cringe and close his eyes from the guilt and shame. But there is something about Dewar’s White Label scotch that once consumed in great amounts, pries the memories complete with vivid images from their hibernation. To add insult to injury, the jukeboxes’ next selection, “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” begins to play. The all too familiar bass line causes everyone in the bar to toast one another or nod their heads in unison with the music. This song always reminds him of his father for as far back as he can remember.
“Fill ‘er up?” the bartender asks.
“Why not?,” he replies, tapping his finger against the top of the glass indicating his desire for another.
The song plays on , his memories flood back. His father beating his mother in front of him, strangling her while she cries out ‘I see spots in front of my eyes!’, temporarily halting his abuse. His father forcing him to give up his Summers from the age of thirteen to work in his restaurant, while all the other children fully enjoyed their time off from school. His father never, ever participating in his extracurricular activities or school for that matter, but always managing to find time to whore around and drink until the early morning. The only thing he can honestly say he inherited from his father is his work ethic. The man would drive himself to the brink of exhaustion, providing for his family the finer things in life but excluding himself physically from them. Then again when he was home, the entire family was terrified silly. When the garage door would open at night, when he arrived home from work, everyone would cut off the televisions, turn off the lights then run to their beds pretending to be fast asleep. Of course he would never fall for that.
His mother had had him after only knowing his father for two months. They got married only because of the pregnancy, out of responsibility and obligation. Not knowing one another fully, the arguments quickly started which inevitably turned into physical confrontations. She would leave the home frequently to avoid the battering he would inflict upon her, entering shelters or seeking her families support during these times. She would often leave with his two sisters, leaving him alone in the families four bedroom house until late night when his father would come home and inquire about their whereabouts. He would answer that he didn’t know, then pray that his father would not become angry with him out of frustration and perhaps slap him across the face. It had been done before. After the course of seventeen years of physical and mental abuse, his mother had reached her breaking point and filed for divorce after a particularly brutal beating by his fathers’ hands. During the messy divorce and the splitting of the family assets, the judge had asked who he wanted to live with. He chose his mother even after the blatant disregard she had shown him in prior years.
The formative high school years were filled with loneliness as the attention that he yearned for from his mother ended up being divided between his two sisters. When he turned sixteen, his mother had denied him his request to pursue his driver’s license, a given right in his mind or of any teenager. In retaliation, he would frequently steal her small grey Toyota Corolla at night, going to visit friends and joyride, being sure to arrive home before she woke up for work. During one of these infamous excursions, he had the crazy idea that he could beat a Corvette in a drag race on a open strip of highway not far from his house. He lost. Not only did he lose, but he ended up crashing the car, ruining the steering column of the tiny, less powerful vehicle. Coming home after getting a ride home from the scene of the accident from the very car he had raced, he finds his mother and his sisters waiting for him in the kitchen, arms folded, inquiring about the car. Surprisingly, his mother doesn’t get upset. She only calls for a tow for the crippled car and then heads to bed, with nothing having been said about the incident, not even the following day. Until this day, she has never mentioned it to him nor do other family members.
Weird, he thinks as the bartender returns with his refreshed drink sans garnish, and the Temptations fade out along with the memories of another lifetime.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Audrey Rowe 11.23.10 at 12:44 pm

Wow dad, this is amazingly good. I wanted to keep reading. This is something many would be interested in. Reach for the stars : ) Love you bunches

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