I don’t know how many parts this is going to have yet. You’ll just have to wait and see…
Mom moved out again. This time it was for good. She went to stay in Pretoria, close to the man who was the cause of the huge fight that we had the misfortune of witnessing. We’d known that my parents were getting divorced because my mom had fallen in love with another man. They told us that in the beginning. My late night talks with Dad revealed the sordid details….he had caught them together, quite by chance, in a garage parking lot. Hence his hissy fit.
Things went downhill between my mom and I at that point. My dad was quite happy to share every graphic detail of their fifteen year marriage, which I was surprised had lasted that long. Dad had somehow redeemed himself as my hero, and I wanted as little as legally possible to do with my mom.
I recall my father making us a promise. He promised that he wouldn’t date until the divorce was final. He also promised that he would never get drunk in front of us again…I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but the why of his second promised was (and still is) deeply etched into my memory.
Dad rarely stayed out late. He worked fairly close to our house, and we were always together for supper. This night he didn’t come home. Eventually my brothers and I went to bed. It was getting late, and it was a school night. I was a light sleeper, and my bedroom door was directly across from the guest toilet on the kids’ end of the house.
I remember waking up to the most disgusting noise. By that time of my life I had taken to closing my bedroom door at night, a fact that saved me from a much harsher experience. Dad was drunk, and was spilling his guts into the guest toilet. A close family friend was with him. Cleaning up the mess. The image of my father’s feet and his vomit, as seen from underneath my door, is one that I will never completely be able to erase from my mind. He knew we’d heard him. He promised never to get that drunk again.
The divorce finally went through when I was 16 and a few months. It was as if Dad’s closest friend (Uncle Mechanic – UM*) couldn’t wait to set him up with a new lady. Enter Parrot, a sweet, yet naive woman, who seemed to be just what my dad needed. She was a divorcee as well, with one daughter whom she was raising on her own. She seemed to fit right in with the family, and pretty soon her belongings started travelling to our house. Dad was smiling again, and he kept his promises. Everyone was happy….but it was not to last.
Parrot couldn’t match my father intellectually. It’s not something that I hold against him or her. Things just weren’t meant to be. They had one quick fight, and we never saw her again. Within months UM and his wife had Dad on a date with someone else. I knew things would never be the same when Dad told me about their first date.
Future Step-Mom (FSM) worked at a company close to Dad’s office, and everyone from UM’s company knew her as the blonde from the parts shop. She was going through a divorce of her own, and was dating again. UM talked her into going on a blind date with Dad. They met at a bar of her choosing, and ended up getting pretty pickled. She lived in Boksburg and didn’t want to drive home in her state, so Dad, ever the gentleman, invited her to our house. We were at my mom’s at the time and Dad had the whole place to himself.
They eventually got home, upon which FSM promptly made it known that she slept in the nude. You can imagine what happened then…..and FSM became a permanent fixture in our lives.
To be continued….
*names obviously changed – I’ll give a short description of my choice for nick-names whenever I introduce new people.
– Uncle Mechanic: close family friends, who we met through my best friend at school. The dad has his own successful workshop, but still worked on a lot of the cars himself. We still have contact with them.
– Parrot: She had a parrot who stayed with us in the final weeks before the break-up
-Future Step-Mom: as you can well gather, she is now our Step-Mom, to my personal dismay. You’ll see why later.