I loaded him in the car with all of his really cool hospital accoutrement. His yellow slipper socks, his barf basin, his water jug, his decapitated angel. He was still the same asshole as a result of the meds and though I had silently pledged to myself that I would care for him and thank God I had been there, I was wishing that I could get down off the cross. It was uncomfortable and martyrdom just isn’t for me. It’s for people with an actual cause, not just stupidity.
Once I got him home, the give and take between him and my son got even worse. His limited patience became even less so and it became harder for me to negotiate peace in the house. Tucker started slowly working horse and cattle deals from the house on his phone but seemed to have me more and more at his beck and call to take care of his business, to drive him everywhere since he “wasn’t cleared to drive” and loved being chauffeured about.
There was a night that we had an argument so heinous whereby I spilled every bit of pent up frustration and told him I’d had it. That if I weren’t in such dire financial straits because of his overuse of my checking account and behind on my rent and electric and the screwed up OTHER checking account I’d had to close because of him that I’d have dumped his ass long before. He threw the $700 he had in his wallet at me and walked out saying he’d be back for his things later. I was elated. My entire being already felt light and airy and hopeful. There was also my cling-on self in the back of my brain who was saying, “What are you doing?!?” it kept thinking about how he wasn’t supposed to drive and where was he going and ohmigod what if something happened to him…but the joy was bubbling. I was already taking mental inventory of every piece of shit that didn’t belong to me in the house and wondering how long it would take to get it packed in the motorhome.
He called 30 minutes after he left.
“How many people have you called and told?” he somehow managed to sound sulky and imperious at the same time.
“I haven’t called anyone. I’ve been too busy figuring out how long it’ll take to pack your shit up for you.” I held my breath along with the pleaser in me who was appalled and in shock. The Helen Reddy in me was on her feet cheering.
Dead silence. I was about to hang up when he broke the quiet, “You mean that’s it? You just gonna turn that switch off? Just like the rest of them?”
This is where he managed to get me every time. My need to still have him understand what a precious wonderful gem I was and my need to still BE that wonderful precious gem came to the forefront. He knew what my weaknesses were and how to exploit them. I told him I wasn’t like the rest of them and he knew it. That I’d stood by his side through everything and HE was the one that was making life so difficult. He never conceded. He managed to be back in the house inside an hour and was going to “sleep on the couch” because he wasn’t going to be where he “wasn’t wanted.” Got news for ya fella. You’re here.
I acquiesced; of course I did, because that’s what I did. That’s what he counted on. I succumbed to the manipulation because I didn’t see it as that. I consider myself intelligent, not brilliant, not a genius but smart. Book learnin’ however doesn’t equal street smart or emotionally intelligent or emotionally mature. Making me feel guilty was like shooting fish in a barrel. Making me do what you wanted me to do was easy peasy lemon squeezy because I was dying for approval and acceptance. Every fucking bad stupid idiotic decision I had ever made was centered on that bullshit and I just think he knew it.
He knew it all along.