It does not take a genius to understand why I moved out. However, I also transfered back home to community college. I was out of the thick of it, but still close enough to keep tabs.
Mom kept her faith in her marriage and kept on me to forgive and forget.
“He misses his daughter.” (Mallory wasn’t speaking to him at the time because he supposedly refused to pay for college).
“His life hasn’t been easy.” (Cry me a river. My father told me he doesn’t love me. Deal with it).
“He’s a alcoholic. He can’t control himself when he drinks.” (Go to AA. Go to rehab. You have options.)
“It’s hard on him being laid off.” (He was laid off once, then again, and now, after a year of unemployment has a new gig. Bad luck, or something more?)
And so it went. Mom played middle man while nothing really changed. I just wasn’t aware of how bad things were and how bad they would get over the next few years.
There continued to be scuffles. I still felt majorly uncomfortable with his helping me in any way. He continued to get frustrated at me and bring it mom. When his daughter came back into his life, the pressure was off me. She got married and gained two stepsons. I will say that the best part about him around was 18 month old Xander, the cutest, blondest baby I have ever seen. There was a point when Joe and I could be in the same room and the overwhelming urge to bolt, cry, or spit in his face did not overtake me.
Until May of this year. Jason asked me to marry him on the 16th. We invited ourselves to dinner that night so I could tell mom in person. 30 minutes after we shared the news, Joe began a tirade about marriage and how men get the short end of the stick. How women (namely his ex) were selfish and unfeeling. How he did everything he could and how it was never enough. How that would be us. Just wait.
It only got worse. He started calling out my mother on Facebook, a place where my entire family and all of my mothers work friends could be the audience. People got so fed up they were defending her and essentially sparking a Facebook war in the comments. It broke my heart and infuriated me. Finally, mom asked me to show her how to block him. When he was hired by a large company in town he deleted it and has yet to start another one. Her friends came to me, telling me to convince her to leave him, get a restraining order, file for divorce. I guess they thought that she would listen to her daughter, another victim of his insanity, and take me seriously. Jason and I told her how worried we were. She told us that she was strong enough to handle it.
From there, the truth, my mothers truth, came pouring out. During their first year of marriage, he drank to the point that he would not remember which dogs he had let outside. More than once in the dead of winter did my mother get up for a head count. Every time, there was a dog outside in the freezing weather. It’s a miracle that none of the Bostons died with their lack of body fat and fur.
The second year, when Mallory came back and got married, he started fights with his ex to the point that Mallory was hesitant to invite him to the ceremony at all. Mom, the peacekeeper that she is, calmed him enough that he went.
After he was laid off the first time he spent his time drinking. When he got another job as a maintenance manager at an apartment complex, the drinking continued. AA and Al-non meetings and literature did nothing. Mom, having told us that she liked going out on emergency calls with him, was really going because he was too drunk to drive himself. That job canned him too and he stayed jobless for almost a year. He spent his time drinking and text fighting mom while she was at work or at friends houses.
Recently, his daughter jumped ship again and asked him not to contact her. He disowned his brother, bought a Rat Terrier puppy they named Abby (reason being that his dog Zoe, the fat one, doesn’t love him anymore and likes mom better). He refuses to take his meds, stop drinking, or see his counselor. Jason took over mowing for them this summer and Joe is more often than not drunk on the deck reaching for his fifth cold one before noon.
Mom’s motto this summer has been, “Something drastic will have to change soon.”
Soon can’t come soon enough.