Monday, April 18, 2011

Homecoming - Chapter One

Some of you will recognize this. I have no idea where it's going.

I had a good life once. Now, I don't know what I have. A circus? A nightmare? I just don't know. When things started going bad it didn't seem like a big deal at the time. You know, it was just another day in the life kind of thing. A bad day is a bad day but life is like that. Hell, I was mature enough to know that you can't expect roses and unicorn shitting skittles all the time. You roll with the problem, come up with a solution, stay positive, and everything works out. Except sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it just get worser and worser until you want to cry which is wrong because men don't cry. I never did. At least so people could see. I think.

I decided to write this because, well, I think, hell, I know, I am losing it. It is not a happy maker feeling. So I am writing this in hopes it finds its way to my daughter so she will know my side of the story and maybe she won't hate me anymore. Of all the pain I have felt since everything fell apart hearing her say "I hate you!" was the absolute worse. I thought we would have time to talk, you know, work it out, after her outburst and the tears. We never did. If you come away with anything from reading this then know this: You never have time for do overs. It's now or never baby and the river stops for no one.

It all has to start somewhere. I know all stories need a beginning. I try to focus on THE DAY when it all went wrong. I can't make up my mind. Sometimes I think I figured it out and I am happy. The next day I can't remember or I think "How could I be so stupid! That wasn't THE DAY! You wouldn't believe how many times I have started this story and then tore the sheets of paper out of my notebook and smashed them on the floor. I got thrown out of Starbucks the last time. The lady was nice about it but she was serious about me having to go. I knew this because everyone was looking at me with "Go!" in their eyes. That didn't bother me as much as the little girl who had "FEAR" in hers. That made me sad and ashamed. I am working on not making bad noises now and I think I am doing good on my story. You would be proud of your dad.

I decided to start when I was still someone and me and your Mom were together. Oh, I think you were five when we made the first mistake. We decided to buy a house. We already had a house. A nice house. You seemed to like it. I liked it. Your Mom? Not so much. It was too small. I was okay with that. She wasn't.

As you got older she went for the heart. I started hearing about how the school district was not the best. We had to move for you so you would have a future. She would say that, smile, an add quietly "You do want her to have a future don't you? Or do you want her want her to be like the rest of your family?" By the time she hit "your family" her voice had risen to a notch below a scream. Well, I wanted you to have a future. What else could I say? So we started looking for a new place to live.

We looked for awhile and while we did prices had kept going up and up. The problem, for me, was the prices they wanted. I couldn't see how we could put a twenty percent down payment. We would be broke and still have problems covering the monthly payment on top of that. What puzzled me was how everyone else was doing it. They were too. Everyone was moving into houses that were huge but us. Everyone had new cars, fancy televisions, and were going to Europe. The world had won the lottery and we had never even knew that there was one let alone bought a ticket.

Your Mom's best friend, Shasta, was a brand new real estate agent then and she convinced your Mom that it was "buy now or be priced out forever!" To be fair it wasn't hard to convince me that she was right. It certainly seemed that way at the time.

So Shasta clued your Mom in on the facts of real estate life and together they ambushed me when I came home from work. Your Mom had been really sweet on the phone to me that day. It was nice. I expected, well, you can fill in the blank when you get older, but I was in a good mood when I pulled on to our street and started looking for parking. That was over when I saw Shasta's brand new Mercedes SUV parked where I usually did.

I liked Shasta but I didn't at the same time. You probably know what I mean or will eventually. She was a good looking woman who wore to much makeup, had impossibly white teeth, did you know people get their teeth painted!, and reminded me of a lizard. I don't know why. She didn't look lizardly but that's how I saw her. Sometimes I caught her watching me and her eyes, well, that was probably why, they had nothing in them and I swear I saw her tongue flick out. It was red and pointed. If your Mom still sees her you need to be careful around her. She is bad. Very, very bad.

Anyways I come in the house trying not to show my irritation about having to park almost a block away and your Mom was dressed in all black. She looked beautiful. Shasta, the lizard lady was dressed up too but she always was. Even her casual clothes were dressy. Your Mom got up to greet me smiling her happy smile, handed me a drink, and kissed me.

"What's the occasion?"

"Shasta has very good news for us."

This was followed by more of the happy smile. I took a deep drink of what Sandy had handed me. She had not stinted on the alcohol. I hardly drink and it went down warm and landed like sunshine in my tummy. The after taste made me grimace but that always happens.

She took me by the hand and we went over to the sofa. There were a bunch of papers spread out on the coffee table with pictures of nice houses and a calculator in front of Shasta. Not a good sign I thought.
Honey. Shasta says we can afford the house of our dreams!"

She had greeted me with a smile but now Shasta decided to be talkative. Her voice even changed. I had to try real hard not to smile. She was being businesslike. I took another drink, settled back, and looked over at Sandy. She smiled at me and winked.

Shasta started off with a big smile and said "I'm so glad I can help you two! I've done some research and I am so happy to tell you that you qualify for at least $800,000 dollars and ..." She went to a dramatic pause, made eye contact with both of us, smiled even wider than I thought possible, lizard people have stretchy faces,and told us "I did some research. The days of twenty percent down are soooo over you guys. I can get you in a house like this Michael" she handed me one of the brochures, "new construction too, for around $3,200 a month on a five year ARM. We can ..." I cut her off by asking "What is an ARM? I mean I know what an arm is but...?" I laughed. No one else did. I watched Shasta's eyes flick Sandy. A cue she didn't hesitate to go with. Her hand landed on my thigh as she twisted on the sofa to share the good news with me.

"Mikey. We're talking our dream house. We can do this!"

I knew I was being an asshole but sometimes I get stubborn about stuff. "I want to know what this ARM is."

The look in your mothers eyes confirmed I was being an asshole but I still looked at Shasta waiting for an answer. She waved her hand dismissively in the air and told me "It's a loan that resets after five years to a higher interest rate. It's no big deal as your house will be worth a lot more. You can sell it, buy another one, and still have money left over. I mean, seriously, housing prices aren't going down but interest rates are." She giggled and Sandy joined in at the absurdity of that idea.

"No really Mike." Shasta was boring in with her sincerity levels maxed. She leaned forward and I tried not to get distracted. Men are bad sometimes. Even dads. "I wouldn't do you too wrong. This is a great deal because we'll go in with zero down and roll the closing costs into the loan. If we have to we can get another loan for the down but I have some lenders who should be able to do this deal with no problem. In fact I am positive we can get the developer of the home you're looking at to take care of the financing end."

Sandy had the brochure in her hand now and it was open. She pointed at one of the houses and told me, "I really want this Mikey." In many ways and times I have found myself to be a weak man. This was one of them. I just wanted her happy. Yes, it was for selfish reasons mixed with good ones. That isn't unusual I think. I knew my life would be uncomfortable if I said "No." I also knew that I wasn't going to have to say "Yes" eventually or face a possible divorce. I couldn't live with that. I didn't want to lose you. So I said the magic words and got my first reward. A passionate kiss from your Mom. That was nice. The squealing that came after it from both of them was a little too much but I understood and in a way I felt good too. We were going to be just like everyone else.


  1. The vampire squid claims another victim trapped in a nation-wide net of deceit and hopium, laced with the ""[TM]. The TV told me that I can't lose, but I'm nervous because what if it doesn't work?

  2. LOL - it ate my TradeMark "AMERICAN DREAM" because I put it in angle brackets. Oh well.

  3. Way back in a younger time I came home to my wife and infant daughter. The wife had a new friend like Shasta, only this one sold vacuum cleaners. (Yes, seriously). She wanted to sell one to us for $500 and we would get something called a Mastercard on top of it. I said no, then I got the message, I was an asshole and didn't like the wife's friend. Which was absolutely true.

    Came home the next day and found I was the owner of a $500 vacuum and the woman had gone on a shopping spree with the new Mastercard.

    Things got ugly.

    Jim in MO.

  4. Yipeee! A fresh start down an unknowable road.

  5. Yeah, there is always a Shasta out there. She is always selling something too. Mary Kay, Avon, something. A lot of the Shasta types went into real estate big. A lot or at loose ends now I imagine.

  6. Sofa, I like that. That's what it is isn't it.