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As our romance blossomed we continued to battle with my parents. I was 23 and being treated like a teenager. I couldn’t take it. My relationship with my parents was falling apart quickly and I had no idea how to fix it. My dad was very concerned that my divorce wasn’t finalized and that I wasn’t being the mother that I should have been. I was only concerned with finding inner balance and peace. I knew that when I reached that place, I would be the mother daughter friend sister girl friend exwife PERSON that I needed to be.

See that projected dot.... that's me standing there waving... yep... it hit us directly.

This time period also coincided with hurricane season in Florida (seems really appropriate looking back on it) and it was a very active season indeed. The state was nervously watching the approach of Hurricane Ivan.

In order to make extra money in addition to his regular job, Boy Next Door started working part-time with my cousin. They did all different types of odds and end jobs but as the Hurricane approached they headed out to the beach to help local residents tighten things down, move what they could, and evacuate the rest. They were out helping our community. I was so proud of him. Our family prepared to evacuate as well. We boarded the windows at my parents house, prepared all the vehicles, and set a plan into action. We were going to go to Louisiana where the boy next doors parents lived currently. I was excited to see his parents again, it had been years. Waiting for him to come back from helping people on the  beach I packed the rest of the kids things into my dad’s truck.

It was then that I was blindsided once more by my dad. He told me to go get in the car so we could leave. I stopped in my tracks. What do you mean let’s leave? Boy Next Door was still out helping people on the island. I wasn’t leaving during the hurricane without him. He didn’t have anywhere to go, he was supposed to be leaving with me to go to his parents house. It’s what was planned. My dad had no part of it. No intention of staying and waiting for him. The car and truck were packed to go, my daughters were in the vehicle. We were headed to the Boy Next Doors parents house, without him.

Hurricane Ivan wasn't kidding around... this storm was seriously angry about something

I fought like hell. Just short of spitting on my father I fought. To this day I cannot remember being as angry with him as I was then. The Boy Next Door wasn’t a nobody. He grew up with us, he was my brothers best friend, he had been in our house since he was 9…. and here we were leaving him. Because I wasn’t divorced yet? The betrayal I felt towards my dad ate at me. I had to go, I didn’t have a choice, my daughters needed safety and I didn’t have a vehicle to make my own decision with. I was at the mercy of my father and he was giving me none.

As I drove out of Florida towards Louisiana, towards safety in his family’s home I felt dirty and disgusted. I had left him there, to take the hurricane on his own, without a form of refuge. I wouldn’t know if he would be okay. I called him, crying, trying to explain… and again, he played the good guy. He took the higher road. He didn’t bash my father the way I thought he should have. He simply said he loved us and to hug his mom for him. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs.

This is what most of my hometown looked like after the storm. This is what he was left to endure while we relaxed in Louisiana in safety.

WHY DOESN’T ANYONE HEAR ME?

Showing up on his parents doorstep asking for refuge from a storm that we left their son in seemed completely insane to me. If I had been them, I may have run us all over with a truck, or fed us to the local gators, but they took us in their home. The hurricane pummeled our hometown. Of course all forms of communication were down so there would be no contacting him. I just sat beside his mom and worried right along with her that he would be okay.    Two days after the storm cell service was restored enough for him to send me a text message, full phone service wasn’t even back up yet. He was okay, but there was a lot of damage and he had never been so scared in his life.

In a good old fashion Romeo and Juliet sense, my father’s behavior did nothing but drive me further into the boy next door’s arms. I wouldn’t be apart from him again. I wouldn’t take any more of the crap that my dad was dishing out. It seemed trivial, I was an adult for the love of GOD. But it wouldn’t end there.

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