The Tragedy III
The Lost Tapes
Seems obvious but important to note that, looking back I can say with great surety, kids don’t want change. They want to stay as far away from change as possible. They want to do what they are doing and they think they can do it forever because they don’t realize that change is inevitable.
When real physical change creeps into the body the world becomes full of bright new ‘pursuasions’. With new awarness we turn away from ‘kids world’ to embark along the pathways of our search for love; the missing ingredient that we think will calm the quiet despertion that grows with each disappointment faced throughout life.
I saw the desperation in their eyes that summer long before I understood or became aware that the tragedy had occured. It wasn’t until decades later that I understood.
Their parties were a desperate need to fill the empty spaces of their lives after those first disappointing years of marriage when shadows of the void begin showing up around the edges, when it became clear that marriage wasn’t the answer to the question or a destination the where the search for happiness would end.
Maybe kid’s fear grows as they become more aware of the strange behavior of adults; their need to get drunk, the clinging man or woman too cowardly to resist temptation, the growling resentful wives consumed by rage, needy women lured into illicit affairs by lecherous men or … the choice to die, one more choice along the road of choices another choice along the many pathways, driven by a single aspect of life; the never ending search for love.
Now I understand the sad, desperate looks I can still see on their faces all those years ago. A yearning for the missing ingredient. The spark that would ignite the engines of their lonesome souls.
He sold insurance. He was successful.
A respected businessman and community leader. He taught me how to handle a shotgun and we often hunted and fished together.
His philosophy of life was that anything of value can only be achieved by hard work and pain. Suffering builds character!
He had a great sense of humor and loved to laugh. People had a hard time saying no to him. While most people liked him, he was a shyster and wouldn’t hesitate to screw any person out of five bucks if he thought he could get away with it.
Those few enemies he had hated his guts.
A U.S. Marine, radioman and sharpshooter during World War II, you could say he was a lucky man. Not because the bus he was riding on that night was broadsided by a train trapping him in the wreckage, with a crushed foot, rather the accident prevented him from being shipped out the next day to Iwo Jima.
He spent the rest of the war recuperating in hospital near Seattle in Washington State.
SKIING BEHIND THE CAR
He was an adventurous soul unafraid to take chances.
One Sunday morning out of nowhere, he proclaimed, “I can ski behind the car.”
A preposterous thing to do! But he did it and despite the fact that he told me he had never made a mistake in his life, I’m sure that by the end of that day, his arm in a sling, wracked with pain from gravel imbedded road rash and debilitating contusions, you might think he’d at least consider that he made a mistake. But, he wouldn’t admit or even consider that he had. Only that he had no regrets.
Did Deac consider his role in the tragedy a mistake? Did he feel guilt because of the tragedy? Did he regret his dalliance with Janey and the tragedy that resulted? Or, in HIS world of denial did he tell himself he had no regrets? Did he even realize he played a role in the tragedy? If so he never confided in me.
I was mystified by behavior that I had no reference for before that summer. After all, I was only ten years old at the time.
I didn’t know that Deac and Janey had been seeing each other off the radar for weeks. If I did, I wouldn’t have known what they were doing.
What I DID see were the ugly looks Donna gave him and his feigned attempts to act nonchalant. Even I could tell he was acting strangely talking incessantly about events that happened during the day as if he were enlightening us.
Donna’s volatile temper, her insane jealousy, the bitterness she felt toward Deac roiled like an angry sea just below the surface. During tempests of fury her ocean of madness, spilled over, drawing everyone within reach into her storms of fury even those she loved the most.
We lived in troubling times never sure when her volatility would spark the flames of jealous insanity when we least expected.
Then one day I walked into the kitchen while Donna was breaking dishes on the kitchen floor, calling Deac a son of a bitch. While he calmly stirred the spaghetti sauce,I passed by unnoticed.
By the time dinner was served the floor had been swept. They regained their composure and were civilized toward each other while we ate. For a while things seemed ok.
Next: THE INCIDENT