I wanted them to divorce since we first came to the U.S. I remember vividly praying for them to divorce by the time I was in third grade. He made her cry, and he would destroy all birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Disney trips, everything. I love my dad. I love him for the memories I hold when I was still in Peru. I am disappointed and numb to the much of everything else after. Why did he have to make my mom cry? Why did he turn every Christmas into an awkward and tearful event in which my brother and I just wanted to crawl under our covers and cry? My mom has always had the Christmas spirit, the birthday spirit, and the goofy funny personality that made any situation lively and happy.
My mother’s childhood was an exceptionally happy one. She was the second of six children, she went to a very prestigious school and was the daughter of an honest political figure, my grandfather. He taught me how to tie my shoe laces. I can still remember the smile on his face when I came to show him my masterfully tied laces. I was so small, and he was so old and happy… that’s the only real memory I have of my grandfather. My mother was all about family when we were in Peru; big Christmas gatherings with the entire family, tons of presents, music playing non-stop. Pinatas were a must at every birthday party, and the cakes had the age we were turning on them. Then we came here, with no family, just us and in all of that she still kept with as much spirit as she could under the circumstances.
My dad had a very different upbringing. His dad was not a very nice man. He doesn’t speak much about his family, but I do remember him telling me about how he asked for a bike one Christmas as a kid, he got a big wooden desk. A desk. When we went to visit many years ago and went to my dad’s old house where my still alive grandma lived my brother and I saw ‘the desk’. It was an oppressive massive block of wood. I remember my dad telling us how he wanted to break the desk , but even a hard kick left that massive wooden desk unscathed. He didn’t have much support from his mom, and when he was young enough to work he supported the house hold… they didn’t have much, and quite frankly from the pictures I found of his infancy it makes me wonder if he lived in almost squalor. Later in life his dad was put in hospital because of Dementia. His dad had bouts of rage and was later noted that they had shackled him with iron restraints. My father vowed to never be like him; to hit us, or speak badly to us, and so in that same manner when he learned of the barbarity that his dad was under he took him out and took him to another more expensive place. He passed away later on. My dad paid for the funeral and arrangements, and ever since then the only thing I would hear on him was how much my dad hated that “son of a bitch”… I can’t even tell you his real name, I don’t remember it.
Much of my life has been spent growing up fast; being the shoulder for my parents to cry on from one another, to be the mediator between them. God, how I wish they would divorce, how much easier it would have been on me… I would have been able to be a kid, a real kid… maybe not so precocious.
Then came the Cancer. My mom had her first Cancer… it was breast cancer; stage 3B. I can’t remember my father EVER being at any surgery, visit to the hospital after the numerous hospitalization due to the chemo (blood transfusions), or anything of the sort. I worked. I paid for my mom’s needs. I drove her to the ER, I stayed with her for all surgeries… I was alone. I was all alone. The only thing my father ever did was shave my mother’s head when all of it started to simultaneously fall out at once (it was the only time I had to leave the house to cry. The cancer was now looking at me with the face of my bald mothers head. I never let her see me cry, I never let her see me tired.) She told me she wanted him to do it because she knew that would make him cry… to make him see that “yes, I am sick. I do have cancer. And it is all your fault.” She always did say that he was the cause of her cancer. I honestly can’t say yes or no, because really who does know? So many factors… and maybe he did.
It has been years since they have spoken to each other. No real conversation has transpired between them. But fights still breakout, and feelings are still hurt, resentment is still had from both sides, and I am still the mediator. The only thing now is that it seems my father has done something that can’t be undone. He has faltered as a husband in fidelity. It has been for the last year or two that my mother has been little by little telling me, not wanting to dissolution me on my father. But here is the truth, I have had the same premonition for a long time. I am not blind, and truth be told men aren’t the brightest as a whole (there is always those that are the exception). I don’t have the best relationship with men. I don’t trust them completely, and through my entire childhood and adolescence I have learned to be entirely self-sufficient. I need only me. Is it the best way to see things? No, but tell me, how else can I when my predisposition in life has been to see two people not be supportive in anyway to one another. I believe it possible for others, but not for me. I laugh sometimes because when I was in the Andes and old witch told me that she didn’t see me with anyone in my future. I remember laughing, and she being very serious and searching through the coca leaves for the answer. I remember saying to myself, “that’s okay, it’s cool.”