"I'm leaving. I'm not coming back from work tomorrow." she said. I remember it is if it happened yesterday, instead of 17 years ago. Her words mixed with excitement and happiness overpowering the uncertainly about what the future might bring. I stood there speechless and numb. I felt like I was literally about to die. I think at that moment I wished I was in fact about to die because whatever followed after she left was something I didn't have the strength to face ....I kept doing chores, pacing from room to room putting laundry away, trying so so sooo hard not to react. Not to hurt her feelings because I wanted her to be happy. At the same time I wanted to scream at her with rage. Crumbling into million pieces inside myself with overwhelming pain which just kept spreading quickly the more I realized what just happened. I felt like I was falling into a bottomless hole so fast and so deep I felt entirely lost. I was fighting within myself between wanting to cry my heart out and beg her to stay and trying to erase what I heard just few minutes ago spoken out loud to me .....trying to pretend it didn't happened.
This was too huge for me to handle. I was always a strong child. In all honesty I had to be ....I wasn't ever really given a choice. I have been through a lot. War, death, dealing with alcoholic father, domestic violence, emotional void, dealing with my eye issues, moving to a completely foreign country and trying to fit in while being the only one speaking the language....you name it. But at 14, I surely wasn't prepared for this. The one person that I cared so deeply for and defended always from father's violent drunken outbursts or pretty much anyone or anything while I could not even defend myself, .....and thought I could lean on always ....chose to leave me without much thought. I'm not even sure why I felt it was my duty to be a grown up. I'm not sure if it was because I was the eldest of the three children or because my father was just beyond irresponsible so I felt like it was my job to take on his responsibility. I would have never dreamed of having to say goodbye forever to my mother so unexpectedly without any prior warning and that this would be such an easy decision to make for her. I knew my father would do anything to prevent her from having anything to do with us kids out of sheer resentment and revenge. His decisions at that time (and even to this day) where mainly ego driven and had nothing to do with the well being of the family. I felt huge feeling of abandonment ....it felt overwhelming as if I was loosing a part of myself. There was virtually nothing that could have prepared me for that. After only months of arriving to the US. That was something I didn't know how to deal with. It was beyond my comprehension and maturity at that time. Admittedly, even now at almost 32 I still have serious trouble understanding her decision back then. I know things could have been worked out in a much better way. Ironically she was 32 then herself.
She met a man from work she had an affair with. He would bring her home few times from work and they would have coffee together in our living room while my father was at work. At first I had no clue what exactly was going on but soon I realized the nature of their "relationship". She wasn't really trying to hide it from me to begin with. All I can remember was that I felt both completely uneasy and confused. After a month or so of them knowing each other she fell pregnant and decided to have the child. That of course meant leaving us and moving away with him about an hour away from where we lived at that time. I knew she wasn't happy with my father because of his alcohol addiction and because frankly they where completely wrong for each other. It was easy even for me to see....and I was only 14. She always said she stayed for the kids......I'm not entirely sure that her "sacrifice" did us kids any good. At the end of it all, we the kids became complete strangers to one another over the year
I think my father knew subconsciously what was going on because after a day or so he accepted that mother left him for someone else. Just like that. I think he knew what he was doing all those years was going to ultimately lead to a disaster. All the affairs, wasted pay checks on parties and random women mother and I often found him with. I'm not sure I ever heard him say he cared. After he called her every disgusting name in the book he could have thought of ......he decided to comfort himself the only way he ever knew how.....with alcohol. He of course wanted to know if I knew anything about it .....but before I could ever say anything one way or another.....he decided I was the same way my mother was calling me all the names in the book as well. I of course, didn't expect or even hope for anything different.
I think the few months after that where a complete disaster. There where constant parties in the house. Loads of alcohol, complete strangers drinking till early morning hours. Of course there where also crazy fights I had with my dad as soon as he heard me defending mom in any shape or form. Things would get broken with anger in heat of the moment as his arguments with me escalated ....words that I could never forget no matter how hard I tried where said. I was not a rebellious child/teenager by any means but I couldn't stand lies and excuses he used to cover his mistakes and wrongdoings. There was a complete disorder and lack of any sort of structure ....like a normal home should have. But then again, my family was anything but normal. I missed my mother, but I resented her so much as well.
Because now I was expected to be the "mom" of the house at 14! .....actually I was forced into it. No matter how much I missed her, good part of what I was going through was the direct result of her selfish decision. How could she be happy knowing we kids where going through hell?
To be continued......
Check out the Part 1 by clicking on the link below: