Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Journey - lectures are to be avoided

2002 pt. 2  (which precedes the following:)

 2002 Pt. 3:

    DJ was, as Meg hoped, perfectly miserable when he woke up the next morning and he stayed miserable for days. He remembered some of what he said with perfect lucidity and the rest was merely jumbles of emotion and colors.

    His mother had no pity on him. She was especially brutal the first day of his misery. The radio came on first thing in the morning. Charlotte clattered dishes when she cooked lunch.  The final straw came when Charlotte ran the vacuum. When DJ started to feel green, his father had a small measure of pity and offered him a beer on the front porch.

    When faced with the bright afternoon, DJ had to fight the groan. Instead he pulled his sunglasses over his eyes and lowered himself into the wicker chair, letting his father have the swing. They sat in silence until half of their drinks were gone.

    When Paul Rediker took a deep, cleansing breath, DJ knew that a lecture was coming. If there was one thing Paul hated to give, it was a lecture. He always ascribed to the theory that a swat on the butt was easier to handle than a lecture.

    “There are some things that need to be said often. Over and over again. No matter how big, or how old people get.” Paul grinned slightly, “I’m proud of you.”

    DJ stared at him.

    “Yes. Even after last night. Who could have blamed you for wanting to blow off steam? I'm fairly certain Meg won’t hold it against you unless you pretend it never happened.” Paul watched his son’s face, “I never liked Jessica. She has never been very nice to your mother. Or to Meg.”

    Closing his eyes, DJ growled,  “You, too? Was my marriage under so much scrutiny then? Did you all sit around and discuss it when I was deployed?”

    “I’ve always been a bit surprised it’s not obvious to you, to honest, what sort of person you did marry. She must have had some redeeming feature that she didn’t show the rest of us. Jessica did everything she could to get between you and the friend you’d had since you were twelve.”

    “And friend’s change as time goes. Not everyone is meant to stay friends forever.”

    “That’s true. In some cases it’s imperative that friends change. Especially when they hold you back.” Paul swung back and forth, “Essentially, though, it’s a mutual moving away. Meg still values your friendship. So if the friendship is over, it’s your choice to end it.”

    DJ hid behind his sunglasses and swallowed the beer.

    Very aware of his son’s attitude and avoidance tactics, Paul changed topics, “Living in this house has given your mother and I lots of opportunities to watch you grow. The neighborhood has had little change over the years and that’s been good. When we couldn't have more children, we focused all our attention on you. It’s a wonder you’re not spoiled rotten and surfing the beaches somewhere. Looking at you now, I’d have to say that you’d have made a really big beach bum.”

    With a grunt, DJ chuckled.

    “There’s been the occasional work that’s been done to the house. Your mother enjoys the new appliances.”

    Not sure where this was going, DJ waited.

    Paul chuckled with conspiracy, “My net worth is over five million dollars.”

    Gawking at his father, DJ nearly dropped his beer.

    “Didn’t know I had it in me, did you? Computer analyst and programmer.” Paul laughed, "There was no reason to spend extravagantly. You had what you wanted and needed. Your mother had what she wanted and needed. I had my job and a car. So I started investing and made some wise moves.”

    “Why are you telling me this?”

    “Because I’ll give you the money to clear out the debt Jessica left behind.”

    “I can’t let you do that.”

    “Well, actually you can.” Paul told him bluntly. “You’re going to need to change some of your banking and accounts. You’ll need someone stateside to take care of it for you. The logical choice is for your mother to take over your accounts. When you go back, with a finalized divorce, the bill will simply be dealt with and no one will have to know. I wouldn’t even tell you but I didn't want you to redeploy thinking that was hanging over your head.”

    Rubbing his hand over his face, DJ swore under his breath, “It would be easier, I guess knowing. I guess I can't say no.” He peered at his father, “She wasn't nice to mom?”

    And there, Paul thought, was the decision and the acceptance - of many things. “No. Your mom tried to keep company and make friends with your wife. Especially when you spent those few months in that German hospital with the mystery injuries. Jessica didn't seem too bothered by it all and didn’t want your mother around. There were other times when she was publicly rude. I guess your mother didn’t fit the ideal Jessica wanted to portray.”

    “I’m sorry.” His head pounded again, “I was clueless.”

    “No reason to stay that way.” Paul watched his son’s profile. The boy that had been all elbows and knees was muscle and brawn. “And the only reason you were clueless was because you didn’t want to see.”

    There was no reason to deny or accept that claim until he knew if it were true or not. Paul left him on the porch to decide.

© 2011, Amelia Antwiler/Comfy Denim

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