According to Karen, my new counsellor, the only thing to do when your reality crashes in around you is to go back to the beginning.
So that's what we do. We make the long trek back to my earliest memories to try to make sense of where it all went wrong and start mending everything there that's broken; and apparently, there is a significant amount of irregular and asymmetrical pieces making up the unstable picture that is twenty-six-year-old, Sadie Blake.
I had barely even touched the surface when I gave her the Shmoop summary of my life to date before my recent, text-book anxiety attack exemplar I just presented, so Karen asks me to talk about my family, starting with my parents.
Try as I might—and I really have tried—I find it exceptionally challenging to explain their relationship to her because I cannot understand how they ever ended up together in the first place. I could not imagine two more different people if I tried for a million years. But who knows; maybe there's something to the cliché saying 'opposites attract' after all. They can attract. They just don't last.
My parents, Mary and Ray, met at the bank my mum worked at when my dad came in to do some banking for his electrician boss. After hitting it off over some banter about cheque books and interest rates—riveting conversation, I'm sure—Mary the Bank Teller and Ray the Sparky started dating. They married young and, from what I can gather, fairly quickly. I turned up roughly forty weeks later, and my little brother Seth two years after that.
Could I tell you any more about them being together? Nope. Not really. I really don't remember much from that time in my life. If I had known how things were going to turn out, I probably would have tried a little harder to hold onto those memories. I would have been nice to have some that I could look back on fondly.
They divorced when I was four years old. I didn't find out until very recently that one of the reasons leading to their decision to separate was that my mum had lost a baby. I can't even begin to imagine how hard that must have been for them both. Nothing like unexpected tragedy to tear apart a well-functioning family.
I have no recollection of how I handled their divorce back then, but I do distinctly remember every second Sunday following after a weekend visit to Dad's, sitting with my little brother behind the heavy, peach-coloured curtains at the front of our house, faces pressed up against the dirty toddler-fingerprinted windows, waving goodbye to Dad as he drove away to his new house on the other side of town. Seth was always crying in my lap.
When he got older, we would run out to the end of the court with Dad driving alongside us, until he turned the corner and we couldn't keep up with the faster pace of the car and had to turn back and go home. I never knew that Dad was crying in the car, too. I only learned about that part recently as well.
My dad didn't date much after he and my mum separated. But my mum found a new partner almost instantly, though I have no idea where from. I've never asked. To say that I despised his very existence would be the understatement of the century. Perhaps even the millennium, or whatever larger measurement of time follows that.
Don't get me wrong, I love my mother dearly, I really do. I just look at my dad, who is single-handedly the most kind, generous and hilarious person I could ever hope to know, and then I look at my stepfather, who was the opposite in every way—a violent, ex-army drunkard—and I simply can't understand the appeal. With everything that happened afterwards, I'm sure she knows how badly she screwed up when she first got together with him. I don't need to make her feel any worse by highlighting to her how much her poor relationship choices impacted us kids. She already knows, and I'm sure she feels guilty enough as it is without me rubbing more salt into those still-gaping and festering wounds.
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Rise and FallChickLit
Life has reinvented the definition of rock bottom so many times for twenty-six-year-old Sadie Blake. With each revised edition, Sadie believes herself skilled enough to bury those rocks a fraction deeper in her memory. . . . but Life is much better...