Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Snowblind...

So, it was right after the new year. Maria & I hadn't seen each other for a week or so; I remember she was going to come down the following weekend, but had some car trouble with Sherman & didn't make it. It was the following Monday morning; I was at home asleep, as it was my day off, when the phone rang, waking me up. It was my boss. His voice sounded shaky & unsure, and he just said "X, we just heard...are you ok?".

I felt fine, so I didn't know what the hell he was talking about, so I asked him what was up. He hesitated for a long moment and said "Well, I was looking through the paper this morning, and...well, it looks like your father has died."

I didn't know if I had heard him quite right at first, so I asked him to repeat it. He told me that he had been looking through the obituaries, and he had seen a listing for who he had assumed to be my estranged father; we had the same name, and I was listed as one of his survivors. Also listed were some other children, a brother & 2 sisters, that I had never heard of before. When he realized I knew nothing about it, he seemed almost guilty that he had called, but I thanked him, and told him I don't know how else I would have even found out. I assured him I was ok, ran across the street to get a paper & came back to call my mom & inform her the news.

You see, in a nutshell, I had never known my father. I mean, I knew who he was, and I had vague memories of him before he left when I was almost two, but I had never seen him since. He was never mentioned when I was growing up, and it was not until much later that I learned that my father was not the most reputable of men, who had gotten mixed up in some shady business, been run out of town out of fear for his life, and had ended up spending several years in & out of prison. I had only spoken to him once before; he called me on my 18th birthday out of the blue. We spoke for maybe five minutes, and he asked how I was & promised we would get together soon. We never did.

So, when I told my mom what had happened, and read her the obituary, there was no doubt that it was him, and my mom wasn't all that surprised. Apparently, he had a longtime heroin habit, and had finally shot up a dose big enough to stop his heart; he was dead at 55. My mom recognized one of the other names in the obituary; his previous wife before they had been married, and she figured the other kids must have been from her, since she knew he already had children before they married, but had never met tham, as they were in the care ofd their mother somewhere...which we later learned was only a few miles away all these years.

She asked me what I wanted to do; did I want to go to the funeral & wake or not. I thought about it for a while & decided that I did; I just thought it was the right thing to do, and I was curious about meeting the rest of my family. Honestly, the whole thing was pretty surreal, but I was in a pretty solid place in my life for the first time in years, and I thought I handled it pretty well. I called Maria & told her what had happened, and she was very concerned about me. She asked if I wanted her to come down to be with me, but I knew she had school to deal with, and I wanted to face whatever I was about to face myself, so I told her I would be fine, but I loved her & I would let her know how it went as soon as I could.

The next day, I forced myself into a shirt & tie (ugh) and went to the funeral home listed in the paper; just walking in blindly. When we arrived, my mom was recognized by an old friend of my dad's & as she told her who I was. As soon as the woman, Goldie, saw me, she almost gasped at how much I looked like my father. I noticed people around the room looking my way & knew they must see it, too. Goldie then took me around the room introducing me to various people that I was related to, but never knew existed; my aunts, an uncle, and finally, my older brother. He was 10 years older than me, and about 2 inches & 50lb bigger, but I'll be damned if we didn't both look like my dad...anyone could have seen we were brothers. We hugged each other, and it was one of the strangest, yet best feelings I'd ever had. He told me that my sister should be showing up any minute, and that they had both been hoping I would come, since they didn't know how to reach me; they had apparently been trying to track me down the whole time my dad had been ill.

I went over to sit with my mom for a second & tell her about everything, when all of a sudden, one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen walked into the parlor. Somehow, I knew the truth right away, but I remember thinking to myself "Please, don't let that be my sister...oh please, oh please". But, just then, she turned toward me & her face lit up. She ran over to me, threw her arms around me, kissed me on the cheek, and said "I know who you are! Hi, little brother". It was my sister.

She was two years younger than my brother, and was married with children, and right away I felt a bond with her like I'd never felt before. We spend the whole night talking about each other & hearing stories about my dad (who she hadn't seen much in life, but had had occasional contact with him). I knew right then that we were going to be close, and make up for all the years we missed, and we've done just that. I love my sister.

Anyway, I also got to lay eyes upon my dad for the first time, and the things I remember most are how much he looked like me, and wondering how in the hell he had managed to die with a beautiful, full head of hair, when mine was already going in my early 20's. That's about the only reason I could find to really be upset with him. I know that growing up with a dad would have probably done me some good, but I never blamed him for what happened & I still don't now. I'm glad I got to see him that one time.

It was a very emotional night, and the funeral the next day was even more so, but that day, I got to meet my grandmother on my dad's side that I had never met before, and spending time with her was one of the best times of my life. We got along so well & she doted on me enough to make up for the past 20 years. She, my sister, and my brother & I all bonded that weekend, and we vowed to try to be a real family from then on. We haven't always done that well, but we're all still in each other's lives, and if it took my father's death to bring us all together, then at least something good came out of it.

When I got home that Sunday, I called Maria & told her about what all had happened. She was happy for me that I had reconnected with my lost family, and she also had a couple of days with no classes, so she panned to come up the next day & stay for a couple of days. I was really looking forward to seeing her, and we both hung up that night & went to sleep with anticipation.

The next day, she showed up in the mid-afternoon, and we went out for Mexican food at a place nearby. We had heard on the radio that day that a storm might be moving our way, so we decided to go rent some videos, and just curl up on the couch & drink hot cocoa for a night or two while the snow came down outside.

By the end of the night, the storm warning had been upgraded several levels, and it looked like a major ice storm might be on the way. We discussed whether she should maybe try to go on back up to school before the storm hit, in case it got too bad, but we hadn't seen each other for a while & she didn't want to leave any more than I wanted her too. So, we snuggled up & decided to ride it out.

We had no idea.

I don't know how many of you remember the great ice storm of winter 1993-94, but the next morning, that storm struck this town like Godzilla hitting Japan. Power lines went down all over the city; the roads froze over so fast they couldn't be plowed or salted; almost 80% of the city lost power, businesses closed down en masse, and the roads were completely impassable. It totally shut this town down for almost 2 weeks. And maria & I were stuck there, all alone, completely trapped in the middle of it all.

We began to find out just how compatible we really were.

The first day or two was ok; it was even kind of romantic at times; there we were, all snowed in, but luckily, I still had electricity & at least we had each other. Sounds perfect, doesn't it? Well, by the third & fourth day, the cabin fever started to set in. I couldn't even go so far as down to the market for a pack of cigarettes, and so I probably got really edgy really early on. She had a lot of schoolwork & labwork to be done that week, and she was unable to access any of it, so she was getting more stressed out by the day. Meanwhile, the phones didn't work for a few days, and about all we had to eat was lotsa lunch meat & bread, cereal, and a ton of ramen noodles. I started to realize that it was times like this that were the crucible of any relationship...for better or for worse & all that. I didn't know if we were gonna make it.

Of course, I didn't really think too far into the long-term ramifications of it; I didn't realize you could look at the whole situation as a microcosm of what our realtionsip could possibly be, if we were really compatible or not. I just figured we might get a little sick of each other, but we'd get some space & fresh air, and all would be fine again.

I guess I underestimated what it would be like to be trapped in a house with me for almost two weeks....

17 Comments:

Blogger Jhena recalled...

I had been in a similar situation with my fiance but I guess, unlike you, we were able to jump over the hurdle.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jaded&Opinionated recalled...

I've been married for 10 years, and I think I'd be ready to wring his neck after being trapped for 2 weeks with no contact from the outside world and too many Ramen noodles. Luckily, it's never happened. At least, not yet.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Charlotte recalled...

i don't know if i could make it in a house with a guy for TWO WEEKS. holy crap.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger mad recalled...

That sounds like hell. if it happened to me and my husband we would end up in the divorce courts....I fear retirement will do that to us one day, having to be around each other all day everyday...ugh

Wednesday, November 09, 2005 11:42:00 PM  
Blogger Mint Tulip recalled...

We had a really bad ice/snowstorm that year too...at the time we were living in a very small town and we got trapped in our house for nearly two weeks. My sister is lucky she survived it since we were all ready to kill her by the time it was over. As for BW I'd probably kill him if I was stuck in the house with just him and no outside contact...actually, I can't think of anyone I would want to be trapped alone with for that long.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 7:47:00 AM  
Blogger Luke recalled...

I've been married less than three years, but if I were forced to stay in our apartment with her for two weeks without being able to leave the house or have contact with other people, I'm fairly certian one of us wouldn't make it out alive . . . and I don't know who that person would be.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 8:55:00 AM  
Blogger PAINKEY recalled...

I dont think anyone or any relationship would be ok after that. 2 weeks! 2 weeks! Somebody would be missing, for sure ;)

Glad to see you writing again. Hope things are going well with the family.

keep bloggin ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2005 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger MandyGirl recalled...

(wow, that's a lot of advertising in that comment above)

Almost two weeks? I remember that time, but where I'm from, there was a little slush on the roads (I freaked out driving to school that morning) and we got real excited to see a few snowflakes. Ha.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Alison recalled...

Thank you, Paolo; I've always wanted to know how to say some of those words in Italian.

And yeah, two weeks stuck in a house? I don't know how anyone could survive that.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kaiser recalled...

I was also stuck in that icestorm, but I had a blast! I guess it helps to be trapped in the house with a supermodel.

Sincerely,
Billy Joel

P.S. What happened to my hair? And voice.

Thursday, November 10, 2005 1:22:00 PM  
Blogger Frankie recalled...

Blame yer momma...you inherit male pattern baldness from your X chromosome!

Thursday, November 10, 2005 2:54:00 PM  
Blogger Beth recalled...

Thats like a whole library of porn in one comment....how useful!


I can imagine going crazy being trapped indoors with someone.

Its never happened but I'm sure its something for me to look forward to someday.

Great post..

Thursday, November 10, 2005 3:16:00 PM  
Blogger Manda recalled...

everybody needs their space.

i'm glad you got to meet your family though. i hope you still keep in touch with all of them, too.....

Thursday, November 10, 2005 6:08:00 PM  
Blogger chicaleecious recalled...

Cabin Fever! I hear you!!! I don't think you know how anybody is until you spend that much time with them -- or live with them.

Long distance used to work best for me, no chance to get annoyed at each other since you're too busy for making up lost time. I've learned and matured since -- but I used to wig out whenever the visits got past 1 weekend!!!!

Compromises (positive ones though, without losing yourself) and simply enjoying each other's company, I think, will come with the right person.

Sorry to hear you'd never gotten to speak with your dad... but it is wonderful that at least, out of the sadness, you've found happiness in finding your new family!!!!

Hope things are a li'l better....

When's the next installment? :)

Friday, November 11, 2005 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Oh So Wonderful recalled...

I hope you still meet up with or stay connected with your family...

Friday, November 11, 2005 6:35:00 PM  
Blogger Dolores recalled...

I lived in Mississippi when that ice storm hit. Me and 20 of my relatives all stayed at my grandmother's farm for a few weeks. She had a gas stove and gas heat, while the rest of us had electric, and thus would freeze or starve if we stayed home since there was no electricity.

THANK GOD FOR GAMEBOY. Battery powered and the only thing that kept us all sane. haha.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Dolores recalled...

Oh, and my "yankee" friends at college think I exaggerate when I talk about that ice storm...its nice to hear some validation to my memory of how bad it was. :)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 12:28:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home