Matt, I remember going to the U Haul dealer and ordering the truck. I just couldn’t believe this was truly happening. The guy kept asking what I was moving and every time I tried to tell him I would start to cry. He probably thought I was getting divorced, not losing my beach house and bringing my addict son home. I couldn’t even believe it myself. I made plans to come back on Saturday to start the saddest ride of my life. My next stop was to rent a storage unit. Once again I couldn’t let myself even think about why this was happening. The lady behind the counter was full of smiles when I walked it. She started a conversation by asking what I was storing. I’d become such a great liar always covering up your addiction I just whipped out my answer without blinking an eye. Oh, my son lost his job. It’s tough finding employment at the beach so he’s moving home until he finds something here. He’s a great mechanic, I’m sure he’ll find a job soon and we’ll be back moving stuff out. Great, end of story. I signed the lease and took the contract, once again disbelieving this was truly happening.
Back home I was free to let my emotions loose. I cleaned out closets and moved furniture to make room for you. I talked to myself through my tears. It will be ok, my brain kept repeating over and over again. He will be here and you can watch him. You will have more control over how he lives. You will set boundaries and make rules. These is the best solution for now. Somehow I kept trying to convince myself that this arrangement wouldn’t kill me or get me arrested for killing you.
Talk about killing. Just how great was this arrangement going to be on a new marriage. Ray and I were just finding our rhythm and now here comes my unemployed, addicted, adult son. Oh boy, where’s the reality TV when you need it. Well this would be the true test of that vow for better or worse, cause I could just feel in my gut that we were signing up for a whole lot of worse.
Driving down I kept asking Ray if he was really ok with this. Hey, it’s too late now. You put this in motion we can’t stop now. Two friends volunteered to help. Of course, I once again told the poor Matt story. Can’t find a job at the beach, yada, yada and shot Ray a warning look to keep his mouth shut. He was now in training on how to hide the truth about your addict. This was a secret club. A need to know basis only. After all, Ray was now part of the dirty little secret club so he better know how to play.
We all arrived at the same time. I was panicked. I wanted to get there first and scope out the place and you. No such luck. I knocked and waited. Dog barking but nothing else. Oh God, please just today can you spare me this crap. I use my key and am greeted by balls of black fur that caught a ride on the breeze from the door. I will kill you. I can feel the crazy mom starting to surface. There you are on the couch looking like you’ve got no cares in the world. I want to scream. At least you have the decency to get up and realize I am not alone. You flash that smile but I’m unaffected, I am going to kill you. Ray can see what is going on and diverts our friends into another room to discuss where to start. Matt, thanks so much for doing what I asked. I scan the room and see boxes half full, the kitchen full of dirty dishes. I grab your arm and drag you into the kitchen. I fill the sink and tell you to start washing. My head is ready to explode. Go ahead, say one word and I don’t care who sees it, I am so done with your BS. You look at me and know we are on that slippery slope. I can see you behind the mask of your demons. I want to reach in and grab you but know the demons have control.
We are down to three. All of us struggle to move the pieces into the truck. You are oblivious to everything except the menial tasks I have demanded you do. As each room is emptied another piece of me is broken. I try to hide my tears, taking breaks outside to smell the sea air. My mind is flooded with memories of happy times before your demons came. I question every decision, everything I did to save my piece of heaven. Everything sold, all lost to your addiction. Now the final straw. Your disease has robbed you of love, your business, your health, now it’s robbed me of my dream.
I am openly sobbing as we close up the truck. The dam broken and years of pent up anguish flood my being. You sit in the truck staring ahead. I can’t look at or talk to you. You have robbed me of the son I used to know. The Matt you used to be. My wing man, my partner in crime. I walk inside and hold myself as I say goodbye to my paradise. I close my eyes and can see the memories that are burned into my brain. Parties, crabs and beer. Coming home with a fresh catch. You gutting the fish and throwing pieces at me as I ran screaming. Both of us laughing. I want you back. Ray comes to me as I close the door for the last time. It will be ok, we will get through this.
We pull away and I turn to take one last look. You are staring at me. You are back. A tear is running down your face. You reach for me and I grab your hand. We lock eyes. It will be ok, you are coming home. You will be safe. I will help you get you back. We will be wingmen, partners in crime, fighting the demons together. That’s what families do. Stick together. We are both quiet on the ride home, no need to talk. We’ve had years of reading each others eyes. You fall asleep and memories of you being young flood my mind. Sleeping in the backseat with your head on the window. Nothing has changed. You are now a man, but always my boy.
I look at Ray. He grabs my hand. You ok. Yeah, I will be. Just gotta get him help. We ride home in silence. Ok God, I need a real wingman. Someone with super human powers. You up for this. I’m hanging with my son. I will not give up. I remember looking at the sky. The sun broke out from behind a dark cloud. Ok God, I’m taking that as a yes. I felt a peace fill my heart. I looked back at my sleeping adult child. Yes everything would be ok…….
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