This past Sunday, I received a text message from Ang, my best friend from home, as I am watching the new episode of Boardwalk Empire with my good friend, Jamar. As gun shots fired in the streets of 1930’s Chicago, I read the message, “I don’t think Jerry’s coming back after Christmas, maybe before.” What the hell is that suppose to mean? I couldn’t quite understand it…
We knew that Ang’s mother, Terry, was having some issues with him, with the two hour drive distance and working late killing any moment she had planned out. Not only does her mom need him, but so do his step children. Ang has to help her mother pay the bills, car payments, etc, all the wild, Jerry is working at a shoe store living it easy in his apartment in Hannibal, Missouri. Sometimes I think that either of them are giving their marriage a shot . Terry doesn’t want to sacrifice what she lost before; spending time with her children, a good paying job, a man who truly loves her. I believed Terry back when I was getting for my first semester at Bradley that he was going to be there for her and the kids, that Jerry would stick around when times were difficult, especially poverty line hard. As time worn on, Ang being back at SCAD and her younger brother finishing high school, their relationship was up. And then poof! He just decides to move after they were living together for only two years. This is so unfair for you, Ang.
What kind of a father would do that? To leave when Terry is jobless and is about to lose her house because of the eviction e-mail from Terry’s step son? I can’t recall the actual date of his departure but the next time I saw Ang, she was more stressed and not well. Their status had changed so quickly for Terry to notice before she was back to over 40 hours weeks that Ang had to pick up the slack. Ang becoming more of an adult than I am, while her step dad is looking for one in a brand new city, since the shoe market up there is nonexistence, he feels that it won’t be an issue. Weeks flew by, then came the months. When is it going to happen? No body thought it would last longer than temporary. We were wrong. By a long shot. I couldn’t have felt worse for her, after she decides to join the navy because there are no jobs in her field open to her at the moment and she needs to help out her family; her mother and younger brother. Her decision to join isn’t the point where I knew there was trouble.
It happened over Fall Break, while visiting Ang and Terry. A for sale sign has been sitting in the front yard one week before I left for my last semester at Bradley, the sight stings me a little as I walk up to her house. Boxes in the hall, scattered boxes in the living room, boxes in a corner in Ang’s room. To my amazement, they were getting a great start on getting the hell out of there, at least that’s what they kept saying. Ang was looking thinner, stressed about living in a new place, further away from work and her best friend, when she knew her ship off date was April 15th 2014. I didn’t blame her, I told her that she looked great, because i knew she was trying not to show it. Unlike Jerry, which she gladly vented about his overall bad parenting. Frustrated by Terry not telling her anything about their relationship, she took matters into her own hands and called him. “He seems content with Hannibal and doesn’t really want to leave. He has created a life for himself and so has my mom, separately. They’re on completely different schedules and can never compromise on spending time with each other. I don’t know what more I can do.”
Which got me to thinking about men, but more so in Ang’s case. All of the men, except her grandfather, in her life have always let her down. Her step dad, father, brother, step brothers, Rutger Strauss, her first major crush. No man to support her and her decisions, no guy to give her a shoulder to cry on when things were hard, no dad to take her to the father-daughter dance. I wish I had a magical cloak to cover her from the mistrust and betrayal brought by them. But I can’t and I think that’s the worst part.
Fresh off the Presses
This poem is somewhat centered around this; this being the father figure in Ang’s life not appearing in her life. I would love some feedback, brutal honestly, things that need improving, to add or subtract lines or phrases. Please let me know!
Another man, one more let down
to add to the list of few. All that remains
Air Nike sneakers, Star Trek poster, guilt.
Of course you would do this when no one was
watching, looking over you shoulder like a
jewelry thief at Tiffany’s. All shiny and new.
Just waiting, for the purple line train, to quickly head
back into the Loop, back towards the cloudy midst.
When one door opens, another door shuts up,
as the ticks on the wall, becoming more obsolete
and the visitors outgrew this horrid disease. They look
to you, poor heartless being lying on your flat line bed,
just to watch you die. What more is there to say, nothing.
From you, other than what they obsessively need and
the words you never said–I’m sorry.
At least there was always one that watched over,
protective, wise, held your hand during the first flu shot.
You made the coals of your terrible misfortune
into precious sparkly diamonds.
You gave everyone sunshine on cloudy days, When it
was February, you had May. I’d guess that you’d hear me
Say, what could make you feel this way? The answer is
the best part of her bed time story. Damn.
I wish that door never had to shut, but some things have to be buried.