Tuesday, just a couple days ago, was a big day for me. A BIG day. Like, historically and shit. 15 years ago on Tuesday I left my mothers house, and much like Lot, never looked back.
Except that every January 9th, I kinda look back a little. Not enough to turn me to a pillar of salt, mind you, but still. There is definitely a sideways glance in the direction of the Atlantic Ocean at some point in the day.
My mom, she really, really doesn't like me so much, and she never much has. I guess the day I was born she handed me to my father and said, "Well, there's your daughter." And that was that. My dad would come home from working the swing shift at the steel factory to a baby girl in the same diaper he left her in 12 hours before and a wife saying, "You need to change your daughter's diaper." Even he didn't get it. He says I was a good baby and that he never could manage to understand how a woman could hate her own child so much. But she did. She does. Bygones.
My mother had this habit of coming to my school and sifting through my lockers while I was in class. This habit lead me to develop two skills, the throwing away everything not essential skill and the being a really good hider skill. I had lockers all over my high school full of my poetry books and notes from boys (one boy, really) and then the one locker containing no more than algebra and blueprints. I can memorize a lot of three series numbers at any given time.
Anyway, one day she came to school, found something she didn't like, yanked me out of school and a few weeks later she let me out of my room and enrolled me at a new school. Three weeks later, January 7th, she did it again and I snapped. I call my dad collect from school and told him in no uncertain terms to get me the fuck out of there that night.
While I was calling my dad, she was talking to the principal who informed her that I had been making some rather teary-eyed lunch-hour phone calls to my dad. At this, she snapped. (I should add that we were never, ever allowed to talk to our father without her in the room. Ever.)
I got home that day, under strict orders from my dad to keep my head low while he figured something out, and walked into a war zone. She was crazed. Now, she's a paranoid-borderline schizophrenic manic-depressive, and to get more crazed than her normal took some doing. She managed. The short version of the rest of this story is that I ended up on one line of a phone, my mom on one, my dad one the other, and I was asked to leave. Right then. Period.
My dad told me to go pack and told my mother that something very nasty would happen to her if she so much as looked at me funny. I had no idea where I was going, but I packed everything I could into the two school backpacks I owned and waited. And waited. And waited. And then the phone rang and my dad informed my mother that I would be on a plane within 48 hours. and that she wasn't allowed to hurt me. And so she shouldn't bother trying. I just sat in my room.
January 8th I went to school and at the end of each class handed my books back in and said goodbye and please don't ask me any questions. My brother had gone to this school two years before me and so they all knew enough about my family to accept this. I got home from school that day and went back to my room. And waited. And waited. A knock on the door at about 6 came from my mother, who informed me that I would be going to church that night and had better get in the shower. On my way to the shower my brother said some snarly, nasty little thing to me and my response was, "I'm leaving. Happy?" He smirked at me and walked away. My mother yelled from the bottom of the stairs that A) there was to be no trace of me in that house after I left it and B) that I could never come back. I got in the shower and got out to an empty house. My mother, brother and sister all left while I was in there and I never saw them again. I went to church, came home, and threw my whole life in a dumpster.
January 9th my friend from church who lived down the street came to try and talk me into staying. She offered to take me to my dad's friend's house, who was taking me to the airport. She dropped me and my two bags off, Jacki dropped me off at the entrance to Philadelphia International Airport, and I made my way to the terminal. And waited. And waited.
I was sure my mother was going to show up there, guns a'blazing, so I spent my wait time hiding crouched down in the botton of a phone booth. I cried and cried and cried and cried. There is no alone feeling that feels like that alone feeling, at least none I've ever felt. I boarded a plane that early afternoon and after two lay-overs landed at Stapleton International Airport shortly after dark.
And that is how I came to Denver. A lot is omitted from this little story, 'cause frankly a lot is still hard to talk about and some hurts just never heal, but there it is. Sometimes I think that I need to get the fuck over it and let it go, but sometimes I think it is good to remember the hard stuff you go through in life. No day or series of days I will ever have will be as bad as those were and I am tougher and bigger and more bad ass because of it. There are some people in life that you absolutely have to walk away from, and I was lucky enough to learn that lesson early on.
Anyway, on to the good stuff. 15 years to the day after that whole debacle, I signed a lease on my very own apartment in Denver after a rather hasty retreat from Vancouver a few months before. Odd timing, starting my life over the day I started my life over.
Funny how things always manage to come full-circle eventually.