Disappearances, materialism, love

February 16, 2017

I learned to drive when I was eleven, and not one of those kiddy cars you see toddlers playing in all over your neighborhood, but a big shiny pickup truck. I remember my first time on the road like it was yesterday. I was a tiny girl- I could hardly reach the pedals with the seat pushed all the way in and had to angle my head funny to see out the windshield. Ian practiced with me for weeks. He always told me that I wouldn’t get caught if I followed the rules and kept my head down. Actually, he said that about a lot of things.
If I sit and think hard enough I can almost remember glimpses of life before my mother left. It’s not much a glimmer, a snapshot. But not all these memories are good. I remember my mother hiding in the bathtub from my drunken father, her ducking as he threw a plate at her head. Despite this, I still remember my mother catching me when I came down the slide or picking me up after falling. Frightened and hurt, my mother left to go grocery shopping and never came home. Divorce papers came in the mail, she didn’t want custody.
My dad moved us to a little town in North Dakota, then left. Well, not like my mom left- he came back every once in awhile. The one thing he could give us was money. Whatever we wanted we got- he thought that material items were all a child needed. For everything else, I had to rely on Ian. Ian bathed me, put me to bed, and kissed my boo-boos. But there was only so much I could do. As I grew up, my dad was around less and less- and when he was he was drunk or on God knows what else. That’s why Ian taught me to drive. Daddy would pick me up looking like a drunken sailor- he actually was the first one, I would push him into the passenger seat and carefully drive home. That’s what I remember about my childhood, a drunken father, a disappearing mother, and my big brother who tried so hard to give me what nobody could.

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