Sunday, September 21, 2008

Leaving home

My mom and I left Sacramento in something of a rush. I didn't know it then, but things had gone crazy after Frederick drowned; there were lawyers involved, and legal action against my grandparents was being pursued; I was going to be asked to testify about my cousin drowning and my mom thought it best that I didn't experience a legal battle.

We moved to Washington in September of 1988. I hadn't seen my dad in months. We'd had a fight that last time I'd seen him, a fight about his drug use. He'd spent our most recent weekend together holed up in the garage with a group of his no-account friends, after promises that he'd hang out with me. They were getting high and working on their motorcycles. I wanted to be doing those things with my dad, maybe apart from the getting high, because I wanted to do everything my dad did and I was mad. I called my mom to come get me and take me home.

The fight happened when Mom arrived. There are so many things I don't remember about my life, important events, or my family, but I remember that fight as clearly as if it happened yesterday.

Dad was angry that I was making judgments against his lifestyle. I was a child, after all, and didn't know what was best for anyone. I threatened to call the police on my dad for drug use; I told him I was scared about his behaviour and didn't want him to end up dead. He said he'd rather be dead than in jail, and told me I was being naive if I thought there was anything wrong with what he was doing it. It wasn't a big deal, getting loaded, it was just to take the edge off. I wanted that, didn't I? For him to be able to relax? He was an adult, went to work and did what he was supposed to do. He should be allowed to relax on his weekends as he saw fit without a kid telling him he was wrong.

Mom took me home then, and I stopped calling my dad, stopped asking him if I could come over on weekends. We moved to Washington not long after, and I didn't see my dad again for nearly three years.

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This post is part of a series of posts about my father.

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