Steak and Lobster

parental alcoholism

(c) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Prose by Kris Jordan

Theirs was the worst kind of love. Dreamy and hopeful, sad and primarily one sided. He saw all her good and accepted her bad. And her bad looked like her passed out on the bathroom floor, her kid alone in her room, again. It was the nearest objects being hurled at him when she couldn’t take “it” anymore. He learned “it” was life, bills, sobriety, work, cleaning, eating… at any given time.

He fell for her hard. Played her the guitar and sang. She listened, eyes fixated on him in a way that he never felt before. Seen and saturated with the warm glowing light that only her heart could radiate. When she kissed him, everything in him melted. He burned for her. Ran his hands along the curve of her back, her hips, her thighs. Every bit of her feminine he loved. He breathed it in as deep as he could, hoping it would become a part of him, stored away for the times she was as cold as the northern glaciers.

During the day he worked, sometimes at the studio, sometimes on the yard. He was a peaceful and quiet man and considered himself the perfect balance, the yin to her yang, or visa-versa. He knew they were both light and dark. Everyone was. Maybe her dark was more visible, less socially acceptable. His dark included the cigars he would sneak, the steak lunches he would have when he knew groceries were needed at home. But he grew tired some days of hoping to come home to a hot dinner, or any dinner really, and making a sandwich. Her dinner was a glass of wine, or a pot of coffee. But it was still wrong, and he knew it. He said for better or worse; for sicker or poorer; in sickness and in health. He vowed and a lonely steak lunch that he relished- and did he- didn’t honor his wife. When he wiped the juice off his mouth, it felt no different in his gut then had he wiped a woman’s juices from it. And while he wouldn’t cheat with another woman, he would cheat with a steak. A fat, delicious, still bloody sirloin.

It seemed to bring him alive for those moments. Those twenty minutes of passion. The fire of the grill like the fireplace in Aspen all those times they made love when they were still young. When their bodies were fit and they had dreams of the future. Her blonde hair and blue-gray eyes were all he could see, despite the rich girls who slipped him their numbers when he played at the bar. Whether or not she was there. Whether or not she watched him on stage, she was the reason he strummed. She was the reason he kept rhythm. He imagined making love to her as the music, band and audience swayed. She became his song and moved through his blood.

He wanted her to bear their children. He pictured them. He pictured teaching them to read the classics and love great music and respect the earth and love the world. As it turned out, she came with a child already and wasn’t able to birth more. But he loved her, so it was ok. He adopted her daughter and raised her just as he would if she was his biologically. After all, the girl still deserved love, a dad, a family. The daughter was smart, gifted even, and took after him and when his wife left, not just the times she left for a day or two, but really left, for good, he took care of her and taught her everything he could. So what if she didn’t wear makeup? So what if the school nurse was the one to answer her questions about being a woman. So what if she came home to an empty house, lots of kids these days did. She was a quiet type anyway. She’d sit and read books. Her friends were characters in books, not in dangerous video games like those boys like- boys who commit violence.

He must have done something right, because his daughter loved him. He knew because her eyes lit up when he came home. It reminded him of her mother. Her mother who he still loved. His daughter kissed him on the cheek and wrapped her arms around his neck. “Let’s go get a steak,” he said. “And lobster too?” She asked. “Of course,” he answered. And they did.

 

Author’s Commentary

I was inspired to write this after I heard a man say that he used to play the guitar for his wife when they first met. Because I’m dark and cynical about love (lol), I of course made it sad. I also thought about the young girls raised by their fathers because their mothers aren’t available, for one reason or another. Because I identify as a ACA/Alanon, alcoholism and those themes resonate with me.

I love when fathers parent their children, biological or not. I love when mothers parent their kids, biological or not. Parents make mistakes, myself included. Some deserve to be forgiven because they did the best they could – successfully or not. Others don’t deserve to be forgiven and did very harmful things, sometimes intentionally. In these cases, we chose to forgive for us- for our own healing and health, to the best of our ability at any given time. Our forgiveness can ebb and flow, and that’s ok. Forgiveness and grief, (and fear and faith for that matter), change like the phases of the moon.

With love,

Kris

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