Friday, April 9, 2010

The Hoosegow Blues


Oftentimes and against my will, the sleepy little neurons lollygagging around in my head wake up and start poking around in piles of old and long forgotten files. When they’ve found one they feel is of interest, they fling it with abandon into the inbox of my brain. The hateful little bastards have a nasty habit of doing this when I least expect it.

A few days ago, Mr. Right and I were in the car on our way to a hotel we’d booked for our anniversary weekend. I was gazing out of the window watching the cars go by when suddenly and without warning, those dastardly neurons slam dunked a file into my inbox.

N96154. What? What’s this? Wait...yes… I know this.

There I was, on the way to spending an enjoyable weekend with my husband, and those evil little beasts who reside in my head go and find the old file containing my father’s prison number.

You’re nasty little devils, you are.

My father was in prison for thirteen years and has been out for eight. For thirteen years I wrote that number on every piece of mail I sent to him. In the past eight years I’ve spoken to him maybe six times, and yet my brain steadfastly refuses to purge those old files.

Thirteen years of old files. Thirteen precious years. Years I spent giving birth to, and raising the grandchildren he’s never met. Thirteen years of carrying around fear, remorse, guilt and shame over a burden that was not mine to bear. Thirteen years of writing letters, taking collect calls and hoping, hoping, hoping that those words about how changed and sorry he was were true, only to find out during the next eight that he wasn’t changed at all.

I’m very well aware that it was my father who spent thirteen years behind bars. But sometimes…sometimes…it feels like I’m the one doing time.

13 comments:

The Bug said...

First of all - Happy Anniversary! I hope your brain let you alone & you had a good time.

I don't have any words of wisdom about the past coming back to bite you. Mostly I just bury my head & eat to handle memories I don't care for. But I like it when you write - & maybe that helps? I hope so!

Amy said...

Bug: I DID have a great anniversary! Very relaxing. No kids & no puppy! I didn't let my neurons get me down. I just whipped out a piece of paper and a pen when it happened and began scribbling. The brain really is just an amazing piece of equipment. Can't remember what I did yesterday, but it remembers what my favorite outfit was when I was five.

Thanks a million for your comment and for the compliment.

ellen abbott said...

Hi Amy. I've been waiting, waiting for you to write again. We never stop hoping a parent changes and they never do. When my mom died, I was at last freed from that hope.

Amy said...

ellen: You're a doll. Thank you for noticing my absence. I've certainly missed all of you. It breaks my heart a little to hear you say that about your mother, because I understand it so well. Big, big hugs to you.

Whitney Lee said...

Happy Anniversary! Isn't it lovely to get away from all of the obligations upon occasion?

I hate that after much conversation and tears (not to mention therapy) I still run into the unrealistic hope that my mother will change. I've struggled to accept that she simply is who she is and that expectations of any sort set me up for disappointment. Thankfully I've got my sister to bitch to...she understands in a way that no one else could.

Happy Hour...Somewhere said...

It is amazing how some things are like the path worn by a dog chained to a stick. Round and round they go. They drive me nuts. So glad your anniversary was a good one~!

Amy said...

Whitney: Thanks so much for the good wishes! I know what you mean about your sister. If it weren't for Middle Sister, I don't know what I'd do. I'm glad you have one too.

Amy said...

HHS So your brain does this to you, too?! Thank goodness. I thought mine just hated me. Thanks so much for the anniversary wishes!

Inga K said...

Finally! You're back in writing mode. I've been waiting on pins and needles. I love it when you write.

Angela said...

I also love it when you write, Amy dear. And ever so often we make your ice-cream from the recipe you sent me! It is YOU and your friendship that counts for me, not what anybody else did, may it even be your father. I know what I am talking about. My father is ninety, and I haven`t spoken to him since 16 years when my mother died. He also will never change, but I have freed myself from him. And it feels good! Be gentle to yourself!! Love ya, Angela

Wendy said...

I call those "termninators." You must vanquish them.

Reya Mellicker said...

I'm glad you're blogging again, though I feel so sad reading this post.

You can't "purge" the emotions attached to family. Love is so binding! And he's your dad. The love is just there.

Sending much love in your direction.

Amy said...

All: THANK YOU from the bottom of my itty bitty heart for all of your lovely comments. You're all gems and jewels for hanging in there with me.