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Update in the dark

I've been quiet since I got back. Where the hell have I been?

The short version is that, as soon as I was back in the United States, my mother's abuse of my father hit flashpoint during his convalescence at home, he threw her out of the house, and finally - finally - they're getting divorced. Although my friends have wisely told me not to get involved, my dad's health and safety are at stake and I can't stay on the sidelines.


The day I got home from Vietnam, my mother called to tell me, among other things, that she didn't care if I died. A day later, she assaulted my father with broken glass, dumped canisters of his own urine on him, knocked him out of bed and refused to help him up (since he still needs a hip replacement, he cannot stand up or move without support). A day later, my father locked himself in the bathroom, called 911, and got a restraining order. I drove up that night and spent the weekend with him. He'd been badly abused since he came home to recuperate, so the cuts and bruises on him by themselves were a shock - but I was also stunned at all the signs of neglect. Trash bin overflowing. Cat litter a wasteland of mummified crap. Nothing in the fridge. Piles and piles of filthy clothes. According to my father, my mother was doing nothing but rummaging through his phone for old e-mails, trying to turn up anything he'd ever said about her in private. When she had sufficiently worked herself into a rage, she'd lay into him for hours - usually late at night, when no one was around to see or hear. Basically, she not only spent his whole convalescence torturing him, but depriving him of food.

My father extended the restraining order a week later. I gave a written declaration of what I saw to my father's attorney. When my mother was served at her friend's house, she immediately went out and filed for divorce. My father's attorneys were served; he signed the papers; the next step will be a permanent restraining order.

That's where we are today.

My weekends have been largely spent driving between Irvine and Glendale, handling as much of my suddenly immobilized father's business as I can, picking up the pieces, and doing what I can to keep him safe and, well, reasonably healthy.

I have no idea how to feel - or, more accurately, if I should let myself feel. I keep thinking that if I open up about it, it won't be so much getting it off my chest as expelling miasma from a stone vault. The fear that she'll harm or even kill my dad - the existential confusion, being blindsided by this on my birthday - the black and bilious hate I feel stirring in me - and almost as bad, the resentment of my father's weakness and neediness. (The words you fucking pussy have been on the tip of my tongue far too many times during all this.) The indignation at having to put my life on hold so I can deal with the fallout of a sham marriage between a doormat and a monster.

I wanted to come back and start moving forward. I felt momentum behind me, coming back to the U.S. All that clarity, focus, and drive...blown out like a candle. Like waking up and trying to hold on to a dream that ultimately just slips out of memory.

30 years old, and this is what I'm looking at for the rest of the year.

So what I "feel" can be summarized by the simple words fuck me, man.



My Vietnam trip is a happier (and somewhat hedonistic...two words: "fruit vineyard") story, so I'll have to find the energy for it soon. I think I wrote earlier that I went there "ready to change." I'm still trying to figure out if that actually happened or not. The last thirty days have made it hard to reflect.

For now, I'll say this: it's amazing how much weight you can lose on a diet that's 50% beer. :P

More next time.

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