First 30 Days Blog

24 jun

Affairs of the Heart

JoAnnaBoccardI crouched down in the corner behind my bed hoping they wouldn’t see me. Hoping they had forgotten I was there and could hear everything. My parents were having an explosive and angry argument in the other room. I knew my mother was mad, because her usually soft voice was dominating their conversation. Their voices raised and lowered and the words I heard were related to my mother accusing my father of being with another woman. The significant part of the conversation was at the very end when my mother told him to pack his bag and move out.

My father did move out and it felt as though everything in our home was falling apart. I can only assume that they made up because he came back after only a few days. He never again moved out, but I don’t know if he had any more affairs. Regardless of a betrayal they did love each other and remained married for the rest of their lives, maybe because divorce was regarded as something you just didn’t do. After my father died, my mother told me she wished she had divorced my father. I told her that if she had done so, I would have stood by her.

SECRETS I KEPT

Until my parents had the loud argument and he moved out, I did not understand the full ramification of his behaviors. Sometimes, when my father had an errand to run, he would take me with him. This was exciting to me, since we lived on a small farm and I was always bored. On one particular day he took me to what he called a “greasy spoon” café. He told me that it was his favorite place to eat, as it had much better food than the other larger restaurants. Presumably he had been there often, since the waitress behind the counter and he knew each other.

I watched him as he paid a lot of attention to and flirted with the waitress. It made me nervous and uncomfortable and I kept wishing he would stop. When we left the restaurant and headed for home, he told me not to tell my mother. This would be a secret between the two of us.

AND THEN THERE WERE THE PAPERBACK BOOKS

Had I not had the opportunity to read the books my father gave me, I may not have understood their argument as well as I did. He gave them to me discreetly so that my mother did not see them. He quietly told me not to tell her. It was our secret. It was another secret that he expected me to never reveal. This was okay with me. I enjoyed the books.

I knew they were hidden from my mother not because they were mysteries, but because they contained some sexually explicit parts. She would not have allowed me to read them.

AND THEN………..

It seemed that my father let me in on his secret life because he was treating me as his son. I was supposed to have been a boy, not a girl, and rather than continue to feel bad, my father decided I was going to hang out with him. Then it would seem okay, actually maybe normal for him to divulge his tawdry tendencies. So I was treated to something that was for me, a little strange, but because he was my father, I felt it was okay.

A SENSE OF HUMOR

There were many smaller secrets, ones that were insignificant when my father would tease my mother. My father had a bigger than life sense of humor. He was always playing pranks on the unsuspecting around him.

My mother would be putting clean sheets on their bed, tucking in the sides, making sure it was perfect. Trying to hold his laughter in and starting to turn red he would look at whoever may be watching, put his finger to his lips signaling to not speak out. He would then divert her attention away from what she was doing. My mother, used to his sense of humor would turn and pretend to scold him by using his full name. This was a harmless secret.

Then there was the time when my father wanted my mother to ride on the new escalators that were recently installed in our department stores. She was very afraid to ride on them, so my father convinced her by telling her that they took the elevators out of the building and she would have to ride the escalator to get to the second floor. He chuckled, turned red and put his finger to his lips signaling to me not to let her in on the real truth. I felt very bad for her. My father was lying to her and I wanted to tell her the truth. But, I knew my father would be very angry with me if I did not go along with his plan.

She was furious with him as she bravely rode the escalator and in front of eyes as she got off was, yes, a working elevator.

THE SECRETS REMAINED HIDDEN

I never told my mother about the books nor did I tell her about the waitress. I wondered if the waitress was the one they were fighting about. Had my father had an affair with her?

There was no reason why I should tell my mother about the waitress, or my suspicions. I was their child and I felt it was not up to me to come between the two of them. Obviously, I didn’t need to, as my mother seemed to have figured it out herself.

I became more tolerant and understanding in my observation of the relationships of others and of my own. Of course, there will be arguments, but that does not mean an end to the relationship.

EXERCISE

List a time you were asked to keep a secret from someone.

Did you think it was right or wrong? Did you do it anyway?

Did your parents or friends ever have a heated argument?

How did you feel?

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Posted by JoAnna Boccard on June 24th, 2010 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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