“Dad…” We had finished our food, and we were sitting outside with our feet in the jacuzzi. “Mom lied to you; I never said I wanted to live with her. You are the one I would and did choose to live with.”
“Son. I am happy you are choosing to live with me, but I don’t want you to think or act too rashly. Your mom…she…yes, she choose selfishly. I never expected her to demand for a divorce. It was huge surprise for me as well,” as Dad spoke his face slowly turned back to the emotionless state of yesterday morning. “She is still, however, your mother…you should try and work something out with her. I am sure she said some things that were harsh or belittling, but you should go to her office tomorrow and try and talk it out.”
“Dad, she said I would become worthless if I stayed with you. She said if I was going to be a worthless son, then she doesn’t need to keep me as her son,” frustrated just thinking of what my own mother had said to me.
“Oh that woman! Believe me, there was a time I was head over heels for her. We had been growing apart. I think what really sealed the deal was the incident with Jenny. That morning, that you walked into us fighting, it was because she had written up a story trying to “help” my career, as she said,” Dad huffed out. “I found out just in time to threaten the news stations; that I would sue the piss out of them if they slandered our family friends.”
I was shocked. I knew my mom was self-centered, but I never though she would actually use gossip about someone we knew, to inflate my dad’s career. “Did the Baileys know?”
“Yes. After I caught the piece before it was published, I went to Mrs. Bailey. She was furious with me; someone who worked for your mother was sent prior, to collect details and pictures. She thought I had been the one to write the fluff piece. It took some time, but I was able to calm her down and convince her that it was your mother’s doing. Jenny had come home as we were talking; she seemed hurt that your mom would use her personal hurt for my own personal gain. I must reaffirm, I did love your mom, but when I found out about this, my love died,” Dad ruffled his hair with his fingers, “She changed from the woman I first fell in love with. I will say it was a gradual change; she wasn’t always like this.”
Shocked is not the right word. Anger. Anger is a better way to describe my feelings. Jenny’s experience with John was terrible, only to come home to a caring dad, and to find out a woman she had known for sixteen years was willing to use her hurt for self-gain. I feel so disgusted with the part of myself that is related to my mom. “Jenny…”
“Son. I need to confess another thing. I overheard you talking to your buds that night about what happened with Jenny. I know I totally broke the father-son code,” throwing his hands up in the air in surrender. “I heard that you…that she…”
“Yeah. It happened. It’s all good that you overheard. I wanted to tell you about what happened, but I was trying to move past it first. I have. We are just good friends now,” finally truly believing my words. “Now that I am for sure friend-zoned, I have been focusing on my studies and practices. I have to admit I’ve been more like a zombie robot than a person; I’ve been completely unaware to your issues with mom.”
“I am sorry about Jenny. I feel somewhat responsible. I’ve been treating Jenny like a daughter; probably so much, that she truly sees you like a brother. I am sorry for that,” Dad squeezed my shoulder in a apologetic manner. “Now looking back, I wish I had lighten up on the unofficial Dad role so that she could have been my true daughter-in-law instead. Since that will probably never happen now, I’ll be better with the next girl.”
I only smiled. I had no words to contradict or argue with him. I knew it and he knew it too; that he probably was the cause to the friend-zoning or more like brother-zoning.
“Regarding your mom and I. I am extremely happy you were oblivious to our issues. Yes, it was difficult to experience and not show to you, but I am glad that your studies did not falter during this time. Also your swimming. Your swimming is what is going to make your life a success. No matter what happens, you must always live doing things that make you happy. Or you really would be a zombie robot,” hanging his arm across my shoulders as we sit looking at the water rings.
Almost chocking up but holding it together, “Thanks Dad. Mom never accepted my true calling. That’s one thing Mom said, that won’t leave me be…she said ‘she would abandon me, however, if I did choose to stay with her she would give my life meaning with all the things she wants me to be’. Why can’t Mom understand me. It’s not like I’m a mediocre swimmer. I will be somebody in my future. Why can’t she see my potential.”
“Your mom loves you in her own way. Controlling way, but a way. Hopefully in the near future she realizes she made a mistake and come to apologize to you. We will have to wait and see. I am taking back what I said before, don’t go see your mom. We will wait for her to come to you,” Dad had gotten up and was waiting for me. “You coming in? I’ve got to hit the can. Have we talked about all we need to?”
“No more alcohol,” standing up and facing my dad. “You are my role model. If you drink yourself to passing out, I won’t be able to strive to be a man like you.”
Dad’s hand grasped his neck again, “Yeah, I know. I really lost it after I picked up your jeep from school, and saw our wedding picture. The drinking didn’t start until then. Still, I will be throwing out all the alcohol.” Chuckling he added, “I now have some inspiration for some new songs; heartbreak and drinking always make great content for country songs.” But he also pulled me into a hug, “thanks Son for viewing me as your role model. You should know how much that makes your old man proud. I can now also write some songs on father-son bonding too; another great source of song ideas. God bless me for having a Son like you.”
Patting his back before pulling out of the suffocating hug, “No problem Dad. Well, it seems like you need to go do some productive work, and use that inspiration. I’ve got homework to do anyways.”
“Thanks son. Also I was planning on inviting Jenny and her mother tomorrow for the barbeque. Just wanted your ‘okay’ before I did,” Dad pausing at the slider door.
“No problem Dad. As I said, I’ve made my peace. It will be nice to have her over,” I must have truly moved on; I have no feelings towards Jenny except friendship.
Dad only nods then disappears into his studio. I head to my room. I text the guys about the barbeque still on for tomorrow; also, letting them know that a few more would be coming. Giving them an open invitation to invite their parents or any additional people. The more the merrier! Now, for that homework I skipped last night.