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I turned to him and said, “I will never forgive you for this. As far as I’m concerned, you are no longer my father.” He looked back at me, his eyes wide with hurt as if I were being cruel.
As soon as I arrived in Windward Key, my mom took away my driver’s license and removed the phone from my room. In less than a week, my dad was coming and going from the beach house freely. My parents told me never to speak about what had happened. They continued to live, work, and act as if nothing had. Clearly they were not the problem, so the problem must have been me.
In a last-ditch effort to “set me straight,” my parents took me to see a psychiatrist. I sat in the backseat of our deluxe Fleetwood, staring at kids in other cars on the highway and wondering about the better places they were headed to with their parents as mine droned on about how this doctor was of an elite status, brilliant, recommended by one of their most affluent business associates. This doctor was very expensive, and I had better appreciate what they were sacrificing, both monetarily and in social status, to get me this appointment. I had disgraced the family yet again.
Dr. Ray’s first approach was to seat us all in his office together. I sat quietly and listened to my parents tell their tales of family dysfunction, brought on by the reckless behavior of some wild, drug-addled teenage girl who had my same name but whom I had never met. I stared at my parents blankly as I listened to their charges.
Then Dr. Ray spoke to each of us privately for about fifteen minutes. I was first. As I wasn’t the one writing the big check, I assumed he wouldn’t believe anything I said in my own defense. His questions were prudent and tactical. I didn’t concede to his careful query about any violence in the house. He asked me about my parents’ accusations of drug use.
The Wild Truth Pdf Free Download For Windows 7
I’d known my turn would come one day. Anytime one of the kids rebelled against Walt and Billie’s behavior, my parents first defaulted to “It’s drugs! You’re doing drugs. That’s why you’re acting like this!” Now it was my turn—I was the one sitting in the crazy seat.
“I’ve never used drugs,” I told Dr. Ray. “I’ve never smoked pot or even a cigarette. Hell, I’ve never had a cup of coffee. Lots of Pepsi, though. And I did get pretty tipsy on grain punch, twice.”
He wasn’t amused. “Tell me, why do you think your parents brought you here?”
I shrugged, then launched into the first thing to come into my head. “My mother used to brag about my beautiful
peaches and cream
complexion,” I began, “and as you can see, it’s not an accurate description lately. She’s completely embarrassed that my face is like this. Did you happen to notice what
He raised his brows and nodded for me to continue.
“So she takes me to the doctor to take a drug test. Dr. Hanfling tells my mom that he doesn’t think I’m using drugs. And he would know—I have to see him for sports physicals all the time. ‘Billie, she’s a teenager,’ he says. ‘Sometimes teenagers get acne. It’s a terrible thing for them to go through, especially the girls. We can try some medicated lotions, or . . .’ ‘But look at her face!’ she cuts him off. She wasn’t interested in any explanation other than her own. He looks back at her like she’s nuts and then, real carefully, he says, ‘It can also be an inherited condition.’ Well, that really pissed her off. I thought her head was going to pop right then and there and land beside me on the examination table! So, I jump right up and say, ‘Just give me a cup to pee in. I’ve got nothing to hide.’”
“And?” Dr. Ray prompted.
“And a week later I’m putting on my makeup, trying to cover this up.” I made a circle in the air around my face. “And just like one of those freakish clown scenes in the movies, her face appears in the mirror, and I jump up and around to see her standing there with a sheet of paper held up high in her left hand, and she’s breathing like a bull in the ring, looking like she wants to kill me. ‘How’d you do it?’ she shrieks at me. ‘Do what?’ ‘How’d you pass the drug test? I know you’re using! Your face is swollen!’ I just rolled my eyes and told her I thought she was crazy. That didn’t really help the situation, but lately I don’t know what else to do but laugh about it.”
Dr. Ray dismissed me to the waiting room and brought my parents in one at a time for their own quarter hour. I was surprised when he asked to speak to me in private again. He leaned back in his chair as I sat on the other side of his desk. He had one ankle up on his knee and was forming a rectangle with his hands and a pencil. He looked straight at me over the rim of his glasses and said, “Well, your parents are really fucked up.”
The words of Chris’s letter came back to me: . . .
it is useless to try to explain them to anybody, because they will never believe you. . . . They [will] think that you simply couldn’t handle the normal conflicts which all teenagers and their parents go through.
I’d always figured that was the case, too. But now here was Dr. Ray, believing me.
He invited my parents in to sit on either side of me, and he explained the same sentiment to them, but in a more medical manner that would not preclude his being paid. He then suggested that they each come in once a week for counseling.
As I watched the strangers in the cars beside us on the highway ride home and listened to my parents carry on, I could not contain my laughter as they degraded the prestigious doctor to a worthless quack.
Meanwhile, his last private words of advice echoed in my head again and again: “Get out of there as soon as you can.”
That was already my plan.
Pdf Free Download Windows 10CHAPTER 5
HE SUMMER BREEZE OFF
Chesapeake Bay was comforting as I carried my bags down the tall town house staircase and loaded them into my boyfriend Patrick’s car. It was midnight, July 19, 1989. My eighteenth birthday. Liberation had finally arrived. My parents could no longer force me to remain locked up in their expensive cage, and I could taste freedom in the salty air.
Patrick squeezed my knee reassuringly as I sat down in the passenger seat. I’d met John Patrick Jaimeson when I worked as a receptionist at a local Honda dealership. He was a car salesman, a college student, and a budding racecar driver from Ireland. His sharp clothes and accent caught my attention. He was small in stature with pale skin and a smattering of freckles you could only see close up. His dark eyes and dark curly hair made his appearance markedly different from the other boys I had been attracted to. But they had been boys, and Patrick was a man. Four years older than me, he commanded my attention in a way I found intoxicating.
When he first started talking to me at the dealership, he was shy but not hesitant. I noticed the other salesmen liked and trusted him and would toss him leads if they were busy with a customer when another potential buyer came in. Patrick was endearingly goofy. He’d start singing the Fine Young Cannibals song “She Drives Me Crazy” while he danced in this utterly silly way and pointed to me, as I sat laughing behind the reception desk. He didn’t have a cocky air about him, no hint of
I’m this sexy European and you’re going to fall for me.
Instead, he was self-deprecating, more apt to say,
You like me? Really?
When Patrick started taking me out, he was kind and attentive, especially when I told him what was going on at home. “That’s unforgivable,” he said. “I wish your dad would try something in front of me. I’d kick his ass.” Within months we’d fallen in love. I felt safe with him.
Patrick’s student visa would be expiring soon. He didn’t want to leave the country yet, and I couldn’t imagine being without him. I was slightly apprehensive when my new love suggested marriage over a casual dinner. We could really help each other, he argued. He needed me; I needed him. I would have no one without him, and without me he’d have to go back to Ireland. When I agreed to the logic of the concept, he removed the green cocktail straw from his rum and Coke and tied it around my finger—a gesture I found romantic, if unconventional. He was kind; he was cute; he was worldly. He handled all the details, making the appointments for us to get a marriage license and be wed.
But first I had to retrieve my birth certificate. It didn’t occur to me that I could just order a copy, so I called home for the first time since leaving and told my mother I’d be coming by the Annandale house for the original.
“Carine?” Mom called from the basement office when I arrived. “Is that you? I’m down here.”
I walked down the steps, and she looked up from her desk. I assumed she would reach into one of the file cabinets for the paperwork.
“Your birth certificate is in my purse,” she said. “But you can’t have it.”
“I’m eighteen,” I replied. “It’s mine to have.”
“I don’t care how old you are,” she retorted. “I’m not giving it to you.”
I had no interest in arguing with her. I’d seen her purse on the chair next to the front door, and I knew she was baiting me, so I retraced my steps to go get it myself. I heard her a few steps behind me, so I started to run. I grabbed her purse and ran out the door, figuring I could extract the birth certificate before making it to the car, but I couldn’t find it at such a fast pace.
Patrick had been waiting in the summer heat with the engine off and the windows down. I yelled frantically, “Start the car! Start the car!”
As I jumped into the passenger seat and started rifling through Mom’s purse, she stuck her arm through the open window.
Some neighbors had seen the commotion, and Mom shouted, “My purse! They’re stealing my purse!”
“I don’t want your purse!” I shouted back. “I just want my birth certificate!”
To my surprise, Patrick put the car into drive with my mom’s arm still through the window, her hand now tightly wound around the purse strap. As he slowly drove forward, he yanked on the purse and the top of her head hit the upper window frame.
“Stop the car!” I yelled.
But Patrick just kept driving slowly with this determined glare, his fiery eyes vacant to what was happening. He yanked repeatedly on the purse and my mom’s head kept hitting the car.
“Stop! You’re hurting her!” I screamed at Patrick. “Stop!”
Finally he stopped the car just long enough to let my mom retrieve her purse and her arm back through the window.
We drove home in silence. I felt terrible about what had happened, and it seemed more like a bad dream than reality. A few days later, I got a call from my mom when I was at work—the only number she had for me. “Come get your birth certificate,” she said bitterly. “I don’t care what you do anymore.”
A MONTH AFTER MY BIRTHDAY ESCAPE,
I married my Irishman in the living room of a Fairfax County, Virginia, justice of the peace. The nuptials were nondescript—certainly not what I had imagined as a little girl. My long white cotton dress had a wide lace-trimmed ruffle that fell softly from my bare shoulders. My Aunt Jan, one of my mom’s younger sisters, had sent the dress to me just before graduation. She didn’t intend for the gift to be a wedding dress, but it was beautiful, and after examining my meager choices, I had decided it was my best option.
As the marriage vows soaked in through my ears and fell out of my mouth, I wondered what my brother would say when he found out I’d gotten married. Everything felt too new to be so definite. I wished that it were Jimmy standing beside me. I thought about the very real possibility that I might never see my parents again. I longed for a way to rewind my life, edit the characters, and push play again. Some scenes needed less revision than others.
In that outdated living room full of fake flowers, and in the heat of a D.C. August, the scene that kept replaying was Christmas—one of them, all of them. Although Dad cancelled Christmas several times every December, the holy day always managed to prevail. A mass of presents would spread under the tree like a multicolored quilt of paper, foil, and ribbon, inviting Chris and me into its folds to inspect the tags and guess what was under cover. Aunt Jan would always try to lighten the mood in our house with fun crafts and other creative endeavors. She was an excellent baker, and Chris and I had special boxes—his a snowman, mine a Santa face—that she would stuff to the brim each year with an incredible assortment of delicious cookies, brownies, and fudge. Her little gingerbread boys and girls were decorated to meticulous perfection.
On Christmas Eve, we would sit with our parents and the rest of the congregation at Saint Matthew’s and read the prayers. Everyone in attendance would receive a candle. We would sing “Silent Night” as we passed the flame to one another, and each person’s voice would get just a little louder the moment their candle was lit. I would feel this incredible crescendo of love and goodwill wrapping its arms around my family. “We’re fixing you,” it seemed to say. “You’re fixed now.”
Everything’s going to be better from here on,
I thought when I looked at my parents and Chris in the soft candlelight.
Here we are in church; this is so holy; we have our arms around each other; we’re passing light to each other; God is going to make everything better now.
I knew we’d go home to our beautiful warm house, our beautiful tree all lit up, and I’d continue to feel safe and warm.