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Monday, July 31, 2006

The Nightmare Continues

It would have been nice, had the whole situation been a bad dream, but of course, life throws curveballs and there I was getting pelted. This is a continuation of the post below, which is somewhat related to the post below that, so if you are just now tuning in, hit rewind and catch up. I’ll wait here.

When I said it got much worse, I wasn’t kidding. We arrived at my sister Anita’s house an hour before the party started. No one was home. I called my sister Angie to vent, but got her voicemail too. Then I called Mom.

What is it about Mom’s voice that can make you feel like crying at the drop of a hat? As I was telling her how hurt Dino-Mike looked as we waited, I felt a lump swell in my throat. And I was fine before I called her. Anyhow, I said I didn’t want to talk about it anymore or I’d start bawling like an idiot. She stopped consoling me because she didn’t want me to cry, and then she went off on a tangent about irresponsible people.

We went from sitting in a hot parking lot for more than an hour, to sitting on Anita’s front steps for another 20 minutes. At least my nephew Dino-Mike was coming down from the feeling of abandonment by the time my sister returned.

The parking lot fiasco started at 10:20 a.m., Dino-Mike’s dad finally called me back halfway through the party, which was about four and a half hours later. He was mad at his daughter for not doing what she said she would do. He even said she was irresponsible. If that wasn’t the pot to the kettle, I don’t know what is. But he never asked if Dino-Mike was okay, or apologized, or asked to talk to his son. Irresponsible indeed.

“I’m leaving now. I’ll call you when I am close.”

Around 4:30, he called back. My niece was opening her presents and he wanted me to meet him at the corner of “Walk and Don’t Walk” wherever the fuck that was. I know how to get to my sister’s house, but I don’t know the area very well. I let him know that and said I would pass the phone to my sister to get him there.

As soon as Anita got on the phone with him, he said he didn’t want directions, he wanted me to bring Dino-Mike to him because he only had enough gas to get back home. She tried explaining to him that he wasn’t far but he said his phone was cutting out.

Anita gave the phone back to me and he was insisting I leave the party and meet him. That tiny part of me almost did. I couldn’t help but think if I don’t do what he says, he will keep me from seeing my nephew. And then I started thinking about all of the time we sat in the parking lot. I thought about that sad little face looking up at me for reassurance. And I thought about all of the gas I used getting to the halfway point. I thought about my dead sister and cussed her out in my mind for letting all of this happen to her baby. And then I thought about the fact that this little boy came to stay for three and a half weeks and only had two outfits and a pair of shoes that didn’t fit. I thought about the money I spent buying new clothes. I thought about how sad he was when days passed without a phone call from his dad. I thought about the calls we made to him that were never returned over the weeks. The more I thought, the more pissed I became.

I finally said, “Look, we aren’t that far away. You can make it here. I’m not leaving my niece's party to go out looking for you.”

“Fine! I’m right by the police station and if that is how I have to get him back, I will.”

Are you pissed yet? I was. And right now I am typing harder than I need to because I am repissed, which is what happens when I rehash a shitty situation. (Yes, I made up that word.)

A little while later, he called back from the police station. He sounded very indignant and was implying that I kidnapped my nephew. I could tell by the sound that I was on a speaker phone.

“You are less than ten minutes away from your son. I already drove him an hour and a half east from my house, so it would be easier for you to get him, and now you say I have to bring him to you and I don’t even know where you are? Forget it. For you to want to play games and make this difficult, and drag the police into this, after he has been with me for three and a half weeks is ridiculous. Maybe I should have called the police while I was consoling him in the car while we waited for someone to come this morning to pick him up like we had planned. Mr. I’m So Concerned, Father of the Year, do you realize over six hours have passed since I have been trying to contact you? We sat in the heat for an hour and twenty minutes and you couldn’t be bothered to answer your phone to say no one was coming. Did I call the police? No. Did I make you out to be an asshole to your son? No. I am at a birthday party and I am not leaving. You can come and pick him up.”

I could hear the police in the background and their tones told me they knew he was an asshole. One officer said, after I gave him my sister’s address, “I know right where that is, and you are five minutes away.”

Suddenly he wasn’t sounding so indignant anymore.

As all of that was going on, Dino-Mike was none the wiser. He was playing with his cousins and having a great time. He didn’t even know his dad was coming. When he finally showed up, he looked like a dog with his tail between his legs as he approached. Funny, but he didn’t have any officers accompany him to get his son.

And god love my rowdy bunch of lovely coconuts, I mean my family members. They came outside, parked their asses on Anita’s front steps just waiting for him to be less than nice to me. Even Anita’s in-laws were on high-alert. Family has your back. Sure they love to drive you crazy but at the end of the day, they are so there for you. I’m lucky to have them, my peeps, my entourage, my posse, my kneecap breakers.

He walked toward me with caution and had that “I fucked up big time” look on his face. I gave him the “You’re damn right you did” look. Dino-Mike was so happy to see his dad. I didn’t have the heart to give the guy the cold shoulder or a cold cock him in front of that baby. He reached in for a hug, what can you do? I hugged back and whispered through my teeth in his ear, “Remember who your allies are, and don’t ever pull that shit on me again.”

As he pulled away, Dino-Mike smiled and waved. I couldn’t help but wonder if we would ever be allowed our special summer times again.