Authors Note: I do not condone the use of the word retard… Just used it to really bring out a character’s asshole-ness
It was really simple to get it done. All it took was deep thought, careful planning, and quiet observation. Dad seemed to resent the fact that mom didn’t ever want to do anything except raise children. Mom resented the fact that dad was always working and playing music. They still loved each other they insisted. Well… I wanted to see the boundaries of love… and get some entertainment in the process. It was so fun to get it started.
“Dad, why do I have to go to school?”
“Ray, school is important. You still have a lot to learn. I’m working hard so one day you’ll go to college, get a degree, and get a good job. It’ll be worth it! You’re a smart kid. Just keep working on your multiplication, you’ll be fine.”
“I guess I should go to school… Just the other day I heard mom saying you didn’t go to college and that’s why you’re always working with no time for anyone but yourself. I would hate for mom to be mad at me!”
I skipped right away, but not before glancing over my shoulder to see my dad pissed off!
Then came the arguing. Mom was always talking about how quiet I was and how I was such a good kid. Little did she know, huh? I would sit downstairs, pretending to do my homework while listening to them argue. It went from “we’re having problems” to “It’s all your fault” to “I can’t take this anymore”….. and I had helped things roll right along slowly but surely. Sometimes I had to mention little untruths to mom and sometimes I had to do it to dad, but a fight would always break out. Then, I didn’t have to do anything. They couldn’t stand each other! I knew that this divorce would equal fun observation for me as well as double the gifts and celebrations for birthdays and Christmas. I just had to wait patiently.
I can barely breathe. Elisha has gone on tour for the next few months… but he served me divorce papers! I knew that our marriage was all but over, but the more I looked at the papers, the more I thought about how I felt before. I had been in two relationships in my life and both hurt, but this was something I knew I’d never get over. I barely thought of James anymore, but now I was giving up the man I had had children with. The guy I thought wanted to be my soulmate. He enjoyed his music and he sent money often, but it didn’t make me feel any better.
I tried explaining things to Raymond. It was very hard to do. The poor child just gave me a hug and hung his head low. He understood that his father wouldn’t be around as much, and I promised that we both still loved him and would be available to him whenever he needed.
The twins, on the other hand, were pretty oblivious to everything since they were still babies. It made me sad to realize that they wouldn’t know of Elisha and I during happier times. Teaching them to walk and talk went by smoothly, but it was much harder doing it alone.
Being alone in general just sucked. Even though Elisha and I weren’t getting along, his presence was missed. When I wasn’t trying to block out the thought that I was about to be someone’s ex-wife, I worked. I was now a high school teacher, and I was no longer teaching my babies. They were long gone, some of them in college now, others taking up local jobs, and some had moved away. I no longer felt connected to the students like I had before. I was always on auto-pilot in the classroom. Instead, I made friends with the other teachers for once. I needed adults to lean on. Some of them had been through a divorce already, and they had plenty of advice to give as well as offering to hang out with me.
I decided that while Elisha was gone, I needed to discover myself and find hobbies. I needed to live for me. I began doing what I loved the most – Cooking! Now, though, I was really vested in it and I purchased cook books and really began to learn a wide variety of recipes. By doing that, I was able to learn some of the most difficult ones to master, something I’ve always wanted to do! I eventually found out that Elisha was dating someone else through Raymond. I wasn’t surprised that he had found another woman. There were many other pretty, younger women for him to pick from that he toured with. I decided that it would be best to remain cordial for our children, and as soon as he came back to town, I allowed Raymond, Basil, and Pepper to see him, but I kept my distance.
I realized that I was getting older. My life had been a constant battle of trying to gain what I could without losing anything, and here I was twenty something years later with a lot of losses and a lot of gains. I didn’t feel as if I couldn’t go on, though, because now I had the joy of watching my children grow. I decided to let go of any anger I held toward my ex husband. It took time. It took a lot of time. I just couldn’t throw away the love I felt for him, and I know I will always feel love for him, but the divorce might’ve been for the best.
Instead of resigning myself to a lifetime of regret and moping, I signed myself up for a vacation!
“But MOOOOOOOM!” Basil and Pepper exclaimed after I told them I’d be taking a trip.
“We wanted you to be here for us when – when school started,” Basil insisted, looking a little sad.
“Ah, honey. Of course I’ll be back before then. I promise. Mama just needs some time to relax and enjoy life. I’ll bring you guys treats, and I’m sure Raymond will – well he’s very quiet, but I’ll cook meals beforehand. I won’t be gone long.”
I packed my bags and called a taxi service. Since I was leaving around four in the morning, I kissed all my children while they were sleeping.
“I love you,” I whispered to each of them before going outside. As I waited for the cab to come, I thought I noticed something outside… something ethereal. I ran up to it to get a better view and I definitely saw something!
“Gladys? Mama??” I whispered to the weird glow.
“WRONG!” I heard something or someone exclaim in my head. It was like it was there but it… wasn’t. Before I knew it some.. some UFO came out of nowhere! I swear that there was a little green thing in there just like the movies. I tried running away, but that just seemed to excite it.
A huge wave of panic rushed over me, and that’s all I can remember from that night.
When Pepper woke up the next morning, she already knew that her mom had left them delicious waffles in fridge. Pepper loved waffles almost as much as she loved yummy buttermilk pancakes. But then she remembered that Raymond did NOT care for waffles nearly as much, so she used her new Little Helper Oven to bake vanilla muffins. She pretended she was her mom cooking for a big happy family. After she washed up and brushed her teeth, she took her muffins downstairs for breakfast, just in time for them to cool off. Basil cheerfully joined her, then she heard Ray stomping downstairs. He was always so grumpy. He scared her, honestly.
She remembered when she was a little younger that he was so mean when their parents weren’t looking. If she had a toy, he’d take it. If Basil was drinking from a cup, he’d snatch it away and put it somewhere they couldn’t reach. If mama gave them gummy candies, he’d steal it as soon as the adults went away. Pepper could tell from the loud stomping that his mean streak had only gotten worse if anything.
They hurried with their food. Pepper finished up rather quickly, but Basil couldn’t stuff his mouth fast enough.
“Morning,” Basil said to his brother as he entered the kitchen.
“Don’t speak to me. It’s too early. Redheads are always so damn stupid. You get it from mom.”
Basil didn’t know what to say and his mouth just contorted. Luckily, the elementary school bus honked outside.
“Bye, retards!” Ray said after throwing Pepper’s plate of muffins into the garbage. This was gonna be a long few days.