You know when someone calls you on something and you know that they are right, but you hate their guts at that very moment…Coach was right as always. I didn’t give my all; and I had enough fuel in my system to do more when I finally finished. I wanted to do another round to make up for my mistake but Coach, who had been on the phone the entire round, would not let me.
Coach’s exact words, “No. You messed up by not giving it your all. I want you to have to live with that little extra amount of energy. I design sets for you with a purpose. Like in a race, if you touch the wall and you still have more to give, you didn’t swim it correctly. Just like how you are feeling now. Your done today. Go shower and enjoy your day,” Coach hung up after his last words.
‘Crap.’ I do feel that way. I went all that distance but only to feel awful after finishing, and not because of sore muscles. I had showered and was eating a small lunch at the table when Dad came in.
Grabbing an apple, Dad sat next to me, “So, do you feel it? Did I do a great job? I really did enjoy pushing you and watching you put in the effort. You are one talented young man.”
“Thanks Dad. And yes, I am definitely feeling it. Be prepared for cooking a lot of meat tonight, but I did like having you around for the workout. Especially that one round, I was trying to make you proud. Good job Coach Matthews,” giving Dad a soft punch to the shoulder.
“Maybe I should switch careers. Maybe today, I have found my new calling…?” Dad made that iconic thinking face.
“Don’t quit your day job just yet. I’m looking forward to your new album,” cleaning up my plate and heading to the stairs.
“Fine. Don’t worry, Son. You will be mentioned in a song,” Dad said with a large smile.
Dad’s hooting and hollering followed me up the stairs.
The guys showed up around two in the afternoon. I know they were expecting my mom to rush them when they came through the door, instead they were shocked when she wasn’t there. “Is today not a mom day?” Jerry asked for the three of them.
Dad had thankfully walked away. “I’ll explain, but let’s go to my room.”
Ken and Matthew’s expressions made me laugh; they were desperately worried. “It’s never good when you have to explain in your room,” Ken murmured as we headed upstairs.
In our normal positions, I begin the long explanation, “My parents are divorcing. Maybe I should say my mom is demanding a divorce and my dad is agreeing. I won’t go too deep into their personal reasons, but Mom told me it as because Dad didn’t show her enough respect.”
“Are you okay with it?” Matthew was shocked and now sitting; he had sat up from the floor as I spoke.
“Yeah. That day my mom wanted to spend time with me, she threw a crazy party expecting me to mingle and make connections. She was sadly mistaken; I slept most of it in a corner. Then we had the wonderful talk of ‘her divorcing dad’ and ‘I need new friends’.”
That statement caught Jerry, “What!?! I though your mom liked us?”
I hated that I had to say my next words, “I didn’t know if she did or did not like you. I thought she liked you but wanted me to expand my friend circle, but clearly after that talk she thought you all were pulling me down. I’m saying what she said, not my own thoughts,” I added making sure that they knew I did not share my mom’s ideas.
They were silent for a minute. “No worries bro. We don’t worry about you. You would have, long ago, told us off if you shared her ideas. It’s just, at least for me, difficult to hear this from a lady I always though of as my second mom,” Jerry hunched over in his chair.
Ken and Matthew nodded in agreement. It was silent for a moment. “Did your mom comment on your dream of swimming too?” Ken sputtered in to break that silence.
“Yeah. She told me exactly what she thought about my decisions. That I would be seen as ‘worthless’ in her eyes. Also, if I did not choose to live with her she would to quote, ‘I will no longer see you as my son’.” That last part still stung; just like the day she said it to me. I can’t believe she sees me that way.
“Wow. Your mom is…wow,” Ken couldn’t complete his thought; which is amazing because he never shuts up.
“What do you mean live with her?” Matthew chimmed in.
“Oh yeah, Mom had told my dad that I had decided to live with her. ‘That I choose’. Which is complete nonsense; I would never choose to live with a parent who would never accept me as I am,” laying down on the bed and staring up at the ceiling; I relived that moment with my mom. Speaking at the ceiling, “After pretty much walking away from my mom and losing her as a parent, I came home to a completely drunk Dad. The house looked like a tornado came through. He was broken,” those words stung more.
“Bro,” Jerry said as he came to the bed. Ken and Matthew followed pursuit. Instead of just chilling with me they instead dog piled me. Matthew, Ken, then Jerry; I guess this was their way of comforting me.
“Dudes! Get off,” I muffle out into Matthew’s leg.
“Instead of a hug! This is way better, “Jerry sang out as he was enjoying being on top of the pile.
I have to ignore them until they believe the dog pile has done it’s job.
“Okay he should be good now. Let’s assume our positions,” Jerry yelled.
I don’t know if they could have gotten off any faster. They were off and back to their original positions; however, a smidge farther from me. “You guys are lucky Coach killed me earlier or I would return the favor.”
“What was the deciding factor? What made this all suddenly happen?” Jerry asked scooting a bit closer.
“Right. Yeah, Mom actually wanted to use Jenny’s incident to further my dad’s career. Dad found out about her plan and thankfully stopped it in time,” feeling ashamed for being that woman’s son.
“Dude…I don’t know what to say. I…I really don’t…” Matthew said completely shocked at what my mom could have possibly done.
Understanding how they are feeling; I too had been completely shocked when my dad told me. “Don’t worry about it. I felt like you guys when my Dad told me yesterday,” looking each of my friends in the face; they all shared an expression, disbelief. “I am ashamed to be related to my mom. Thankfully Dad and I are nothing like her.”
Suddenly Jenny and Brit burst through my door with Dad following in behind them. “There you guys are. More people,” Dad gestured to Jenny and Brit, “have come. Let’s all head to the kitchen and start the barbecuing.” Dad turned and left. Jenny and Brit followed pursuit. Ken and Matthew slapped me on the shoulders just before they left.
Jerry sat on the bed next to me and swung his arm over my shoulders, “You good dude?”
“Yeah, but how much did they hear?”