Losing My Dad
It happened in secret. But even at three years old I knew my dad was a raging asshole. I learned to fear him. I longed to protect my mom, and take her away from the bastard. Yes, Oedipus was my running buddy from an early age. Well, but there’s always that one wrinkle. Mom, for obvious reasons, was also a bit out of balance. I wouldn’t say she was depressed or anything, not until after the divorce, but I would venture that her compatible narcissistic tendencies were complemented by that of her fabulously successful husband, the doctor, the alcoholic.
As my world went dark in that moment of truth with Rich, my heart fell into disrepair. I called my mentor and men’s group leader to get an emergency session for that afternoon. I could not bear the horror alone. I needed another man to understand what I was going through. To hold space for me in my hour of need and simply say, “I understand.”
After an hour of balling my eyes out it was time to get ready for the rock and roll show of SXSW tonight. My band, Jason and the Pilots was making our debut on the Atlantic Records stage, hoping to attract some interest and money to our rag-tag band of over-aged Beatles wannabees. It was a huge moment that I’d been rehearsing for all of my adult life. I knew I was not going to be a rockstar, I had a wife and two kids, a mortgage, and a day job. I also had a burning desire to sing for more than my wife and kids. The epic moment was approaching just as my star was exploding into a million pieces. My primal therapy session didn’t fix my pain, but merely brought the issue into clearer focus. I was sad for my kids. I was sad for my son, who like me, was going to lose most of his dad in his pre-teen years. I had no idea how to pull myself together for the show and no idea how to put one foot in front of the other for the next five hours.
I called Robert, my bass player and best friend. “She’s seen a lawyer,” I yelled.
“Oh man, I’m so sorry.” Robert was gay, but he understood my struggle. Probably half my songs are sad love songs. I find the happy ones are much harder to write. I have experience with being disappointed and alone. I don’t know that I was prepared to be alone again. I thought kids would protect me from that. I didn’t ever want to be alone alone again. But rushing up under my flailing fall was the cold hard dirt of divorce. I knew enough to understand it would be a crash landing.
“She’s going to get everything,” Robert said.
“I know! I know. I’m a dead man walking. Fuck. How am I supposed to get pumped for the show?”
“Duuuuude. You’ve got to snap out of that shit, we’ve been ramping up for this for months. We sound good. How about some tequila and a quick rehearsal, just you and me?”