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