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Friday, April 6, 2012

Every time you go away

   We sat at a stop sign somewhere in southeast Portland, old blue truck thrumming, and radio playing…”Every time you go away.”
   Now just a bit of back story; my dad got screwed over by my mother. My mom used us kids as a weapon against our father. She was bitter about the fact that Dad left her…he had to. My mom has some problems and they lead it to be impossible to be around her for any extended period of time without problems arising. Don’t get me wrong my dad was an ass at times in his life, did shitty things, but the split was solely in my mom’s lap.
   During the custody hearings mom had a sit down with dad and told him that she wanted to do joint custody, dad had been trying for some time to have this happen, and was definitely on board. Time rolled around to two o clock and the judge asked if there had been an agreement reached by both parties, and before my father’s attorney could say yes my mom’s counsel spoke up and said no and that my mother was seeking full custody with limited visitation rights. I can imagine my mother watching dad the whole time just to see the exact moment the knife went in.
   We sat at a stop sign somewhere in Southeast Portland, old blue truck thrumming, the radio was playing “Every time you go away”, the sky started crying and so did we. Dad was just starting the four hundred thirty mile drive to take us back to our mother’s house. Back to the abuse, the fear, and the torture my father had no idea was happening.
   “Why can’t we stay,” I think it was Jenny that asked that as we started off from the stop sign “we don’t want to go back.” Both of us were on the verge of completely losing it.
   “I wish you could.” and then dad did something that I remember to this very day, twenty seven years later, he started singing… “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you. Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you.” And every time he reached the word meat he would look over us with a funny face and exaggerate the word in a comical way.
We started laughing. My dad was a genius. I am not even exaggerating, my father was a genius; with that one word he made the world ok again, meat.
   The very next song on the radio was “Every breath you take.” And dad sang that song the same way, but we were already in a charged mood so he didn’t have to change any words for us to laugh hysterically. With one word and two songs one of the saddest days in my life was turned into one of the greatest treasures I will ever get.
   On that trip my dad made it snow, he turned red lights green and he sang to us. We only had to go four hundred and thirty miles, and it was one of the best days of my life. My father had to drive eight hundred and sixty miles, every mile breaking his heart a little more. And he loved us enough to not let us know how much every foot hurt him……

Chris McQueeney   4/5/12   11:59  P.M.

Thank you Lisa for asking what my favorite 80’s song was, that is the reason for two of the four I gave you.  

“Every time you go away”    covered by Paul Young
“Every breath you take”       by the Police


Anonymous said...

wow. crying at 3 a.m. so isn't cute. :)
now i feel bad for posting that one song.

this was a touching memory that you
beautifully shared. thank you.

christopher said...

How We Spin The World

We shall make circles
within circles, stripes on stripes,
and sing the true songs
under all the lights
as they pass above this place,
this sacred acre
we reserve for all
the deepest of the weighty
tales we dare utter
in the open air.
It is surely the right time
for your bright bright eyes.

Indigo said...

Heartfelt memory sweet friend. You can feel your father's love in your words.

Sorry I haven't been around, life gets the best of some of us. I'll catch up eventually. (Hugs)Indigo

Nadja Notariani said...

Somehow, dads have a way of making the world right again. That's why no one can ever replace 'Dad' in our hearts... no matter how old we get.

We cannot experience the true character of a person until they are crushed - it is then that their fragrance is released.

Ben Ditty said...

You're going to be so famous one day Chris. Hell, you're famous now :)

jennifer said...

Thank you for sharing! I so remember that! He also would grab the side of his tongue as if he were taring off a piece of meat lol. And yes he did make it snow( still amazes me! :) ) You know with the way we grew up, the things we've been through I often wonder ' was it just my perception or were things really as horrifying as I remember?' when you share your memories it validates mine. I'm glad we had eachother to make it through, cuz I know I couldn't of made it alone. Love you bud!

She Writes Here Now said...

Hmmm. I still am amazed at how life often comes around and shows us what we couldn't see at the time, steeped in our emotion.

Interesting how you've written of your dad's drinking before, and now of his brilliance, his tenderness, his ability to comfort when he was suffering himself. It's a good picture of reality, of how we love those we love and see so much more than labels given to their struggles.

Music is a great connection to memories of childhood. I think of this make sure to dance and sing frequently with my daughter ;). I have a feeling it will mean more than Christmas. Your story illustrates my hope.

Brian Miller said... endearing write man...songs take me back as well...i think at different times the memories too give us what we need...though dad may have drank, there are other times you know...

Other Mary said...

Though you tell us your dad is damaged and imperfect it's obvious he did right by you here. This is very movingly told Chris. I have one question though. n=Not knowing you for very long, I wonder how old you and your sister where when this incident too place.

Wander said...

@ all thank you for your comments!

@ Lisa I hadent thought about why those two songs meant so much to me untill you asked what my fav 80's song was, so thank you

@Christopher, thank you my friend!

@Indigo, good to see you!

@Nadja, thank you please let me quote you!!

@Ben, Lol my friend you are a good addition even if I don't get famous

@ jen, Sister I love you as well...the light will turn green...Bam, green light.

@ Amy dance, sing, and teach your daughter that parents can be magic too.

@ Brian, my dad's drinking largely missed my sister and I...even as a drunk my dad was an amazing man...and a pain in the ass at times :-)

@ Mary, I was 7 and she had to have just turned 9...not sure if you will come back here so I will Facebook it to you...

Nadja Notariani said...

You may absolutely quote me anytime you, ummm...unless I'm making an ass out myself. Ha!

Roggy said...

poignant. made me think of my own issues that i dont want to deal with at the moment. but thats the thing about good writing, makes you think even if you dont want to.

kj said...

i get it chris. you've written this just beautifully.

this is so sad. we all know that. that you were given a precious reason to remember doesn't change the sadness, but it does show the resilience and magic of a light touch at a dark time.

when are you going to approach an agent or publisher? if you don't mind me asking? :^)

happy easter. be a good dad tomorrow!


Wine and Words said...

Jeeze. I almost started crying own life circumstances being somewhat in the same ballpark at the moment. Your poor father. I don't know if you have children...but I can't imagine as a parent, having your children so unhappy and being unable to do anything about it due to a court order!!!! My stomach starts to lurch just thinking about it! Heart breaking. Amazing how your father found a way to turn a tough moment into a positive lasting memory through song. Ahhhh the power of music!