I am ten years old and sitting on the front porch steps. My dad is doing donuts through the U-shape drive-way in his F150 truck. Tim McGraw’s Indian Outlaw is blaring from the rolled down windows. The truck turns easily on the pinestraw drive as he waves and hollers and turns the wheel sharply once more.
My mom hollers at him about tearing up the driveway but she’s laughing at his adolescent behavior. She tells me it’s time for dinner and I head inside. Dinner is a loud/happy time in our house (unless mom has made something us 3 kids can’t stand) but tonight it’s spaghetti and the conversation is chipper. We eat in a hurry because we all have baseball/softball practice this evening.
An hour later I’m playing 3rd base and my dad’s hitting grounders to me. He always hits them harder at me than anyone else. It annoys me. I throw the ball to first and he makes a comment about throwing harder, faster, stronger. Then he hits one towards me again. I zip it towards first base, like I want to kill the baseman… it goes wild into the dugout. He makes me run a lap. I roll my eyes. Something about my smart assiness.
On the drive home he tells me how great practice was and how well I did. My heart jumps to hear his compliments. I thought I played like crap. Why did I have to run so much? I feel confused but happy to hear the praise.
We talk about the NFL, we talk about my grades, we talk about my throwing technique and about how fast I can get from base to base. I can steal 3rd and home… that makes his eyes dance with pride. It makes me feel larger than life to make him smile like that.
I called him when I needed to leave England. When I couldn’t be married anymore. I had endured all that I could, and the phone call was the last on the planet that I wanted to make. But I couldn’t survive staying in that place. My soul was dying a long sad death. I moved home.
I moved back under his roof. I had two daughters of my own. Yet everything had changed and yet nothing had. My emotions were exhausted, my dreams shattered, my heart… lonely. We talked about how divorce was a bad idea. How my marriage needed my all. How I should do everything that I could to make it work.
I lost myself.
This thought will continue soon.