Screaming Like There Is No Tomorrow When I wrote this piece, I was in a writing group. We were all working on the same piece, but each writer was writing it from their own character’s point of view. As an exercise, we were to write our character’s reaction to a stimulus. The stimulus was, “Your love has just walked out on you.”
My character was a teenage boy, left standing in the shower, the water running, the soap and shampoo running down his body, the panic starting to rise. And it was rising fast.
I broke into tears, and, yes, the other writers noticed. They looked at me and said, “What’s wrong?”
I could hardly breathe. I was gasping, my chest tight, and I knew if I spoke, I would cry. I composed myself enough to say, “I’m sorry. I’ll be OK. Just give me a minute.”
I didn’t tell them why I was crying. It was about my lost love, my lost childhood.
Why? Because, even though I am 38 years old, I still fear abandonment. And that’s a hard thing to admit.
The why of it is complicated, but suffice it to say that, when I was 16 years old, my father left. He walked out on us.
I was too young to know what that meant, but old enough to know it was very bad.
It was 1979, and our country was in a recession. My father owned a filling station, and, in 1979, filling stations were not very popular. My father just could not make it work.
One day, he had had enough. He came into my bedroom, where I was lying on my bed, reading. He shut the door.
He said, “It’s over. I’m leaving.”
I didn’t understand.
I said, “Where are you going?”
He said, “I don’t know. I can’t do it anymore.”
I remember thinking, “I can’t either.”
My father left, and my mother was left with three young children. My mother did what she had to do. She figured out how to make a living. She went to work. She took care of us, and she stayed strong.
My father never went back.
I was too young to remember him, but old enough to remember he existed. I remember sitting in front of the television with my mother, and my mother crying. I remember her saying, “I want your father back.”
And, at the time, I thought she was crazy.
Looking back, I understand