My father arrived in the Philippines on vacation a week after Riley and I got here, and almost immediately he took to keeping late hours. I probably wouldn’t give a damn if it weren’t for the fact that my mom paid for his ticket and is working 70+ hours a week in order to pay for the mortgage and utilities that he’ll come home to – but both are the case. My mom’s the martyr. Again.
Forget that my mom’s disabled and doesn’t know how to drive, so she’s limping her way to and from work everyday. Forget that it’s her own damn fault; she knows he’ll never stop cheating and that she’ll never get over the fact that he never stops cheating, and she sticks around anyway. That’s bad enough, but what makes it worse it this: Here my dad is, fucking around on his wife’s dime, and when he gets back to New York he’ll continue treating her like shit. Calling her names. Yanking her hair like he’s a 5-year old on a tantrum. Making fun of the way she walks, the way she talks, the way she thinks, she way she keeps house, etc. She’ll have tricked herself into staying with him – out of pity, out of fear, out of loyalty, out of comfort, out of stupidity – and he’ll continue to be a jerk.
In years past, I would’ve made a big stink about this. I would’ve called my dad out on his bullshit, told my mom what’s going on, and found the other woman and [threatened to] beat the shit out of her. I would’ve spent countless hours agonizing about what my father’s adultery has to do with the way I see love and relationships and men. I would’ve blamed him for all the problems I’ve had with love and relationships and men. I would’ve stayed on my high horse, looking down at my dad for being an asshole and my mom for being unable to leave him.
But I’m not doing any of it anymore.
Maybe it’s because I realize that there’s nothing I can do or say to make my mom realize that she’s worthy of happiness. Maybe it’s because I know there’s nothing I can do to make my dad stop cheating. Maybe it’s because I’m in a functional, happy relationship with an amazing guy. Maybe it’s because I’m living in a country whose culture deems male adultery “normal”. Maybe it’s because I have enough on my plate, and now that I have my own family, the concerns of my parents are none of my business. Maybe it never was, and I was just too immature or bleeding-hearted or disillusioned or ideastic to realize this.
All I know is, I’m walking away from all of this. From all of the problems, all of the tears, all of the heartache, all of the dysfunction. I’m making sure that I’m all about my own family (Rob and Riley) and the things that make me happy (writing, blogging, staying in contact with friends and extended family, working out, doing well in school, stepping up my billiards game, etc.). My actions dictate that I am my own person, independent of the lunacy that is my mom and dad’s marriage. But don’t think I’m cold-hearted. I still care. I’ll always wish for my parents’ marriage to be a happy one. I’ll always think that my dad is an asshole for treating my mom like garbage. I’ll always question my mom’s emotional maturity for not having the balls to leave my dad. I still care. No matter how hard it is for me to swallow that fact, it’s there, living under my skin, right below the surface, right where my tears meet the air. I still care. And I’ll probably always care. Always. The same amount of time that my dad will be cheating and my mom will be staying by his side.