Time as a child has no real meaning, you wake up, eat, play, repeat. So it shouldn’t be strange that as an adult putting a timeframe on things is rough, this is no exception.
My father hurt his back [for my regular readers you know my Uncle did too, I told you curse of the family]. He was stuck lying on the floor for what seemed like forever. I had to pour out his bedpan on a regular basis which was in a word, disgusting. I also remember trying coffee and thinking it was not for me.
It was a tumultuous time, things were changing faster than I could keep up with.
My father after he recovered some was able to get around on his own. We were moving out of our little condo, but Mom was nowhere to be found. Our last dinner in the house my father, in a drug induced haze, called it the ‘last supper’. We ate on a box the size of a refrigerator that night.
Mom was still not around…
The day of the big move and I was, as always, on the couch watching TV. My father, moving things in and out of the house left the door open. My Mom runs through the door.
‘I knew she would be back’ I thought
In hindsight he probably knew she was there but as a kid I like to think she snuck in, ninja like.
‘Gabriel, I have to go away.’ she started
‘I love you very much and I will be back soon’ at this point she was crying
I remember distinctly being confused. I lived in my head a lot as a kid, we were to be seen and not heard, this tic would follow me into adulthood.
‘It’s okay Mommy’ I remember thinking
‘I love you’ The words were thought, but never left my mouth
She got up, hugged me and ran out the door.
My attention returned to more important matters, cartoons.
That would be the last time I saw my Mother in person. She would never be far from my thoughts however.
The move, a drive from California to Las Vegas. For a child it was weeks, in reality it was probably just a full day or two. We slept in the car the entire way, I also remember losing my cookie. I really wanted that too…
Once in Las Vegas, we lived with my Grandmother. She was just like my father unfortunately, but without the drugs.
One day, without saying a word to me, my father left and didn’t return.
It would be years before I saw him again.
A few weeks after the adjustment, I had an unexpected phone call.
‘Gabriel’ My grandmother said to me. ‘Someone is on the phone for you, it’s your Mom’
I excitedly ran to the phone. I had a second chance.
‘Hi Mom!!!’ I said
The conversation was somber, she told me she was thinking of me and couldn’t wait to come visit. She said I was being good. She said she would be back with us very soon. The rest of the conversation I don’t recall, but I do remember the end.
‘What do you want for your birthday’ She asked
I gave her the answer I always gave ‘An encyclopedia of Britannica’
I never claimed to be a normal kid.
And that was it,
No, I love you
No, I miss you
Goodbye, but sometimes goodbye just isn’t enough.