Chapter Eight - Unforseen Circumstances
2001 - Mom is 52, Scott is 27, I am 24
It is October, and Scott is on his way home, moving back in with me and Mom. Just three months ago, I moved back here too. Due to unforseen circumstances, this is where I've ended up, again, but I'm making a plan. I'll be out of here soon, and on my own again, living life and making something important happen.
The unforseen circumstances happened something like this... I was living in Eugene with my friend Christine, and going to college again at the University of Oregon. I was working here and there, waiting tables and bartending at a country club, doing manicures and pedicures in a salon. Life was pretty good. Christine and I lived in this little house on Hilyard Avenue, right across from Amazon Park. Our neighbors were really cool, all big pot-smokers, our age and also college students. We shared a ginormous back yard and often hung out there, making turkey dogs or having taco parties. Eugene was beautiful, and we were out of Newport - nothing could be better. It was the year 2000, an election year, and the Olympics were on too, so Christine and I finally hooked up the old t.v. I brought and had been using for a nightstand up 'til then. We didn't have cable, and didn't want it. I think there were 5 channels that came in with an antenna. That November, just before George Bush got elected, something even more terrible than that happened. Andy killed himself.
Andy was a man I loved who I had a relationship with on and off for over 2 years. We were in an "off" mode when he died, which didn't make it any better. I was utterly devastated and broken. I had a hard time going to school anymore, going to work anymore, or doing, really, anything anymore, except smoking pot. In my poetry class, it's all I wrote about. At work, I would just start crying, sometimes while pouring a drink or bringing a side of rice to a table. My pedicure clients all knew the story. Everyone tip-toed around me like I was a crazy person, and I guess I was.
The spring of 2001 came, I dropped all my classes, and got fired from my waitressing job. I was down, really down, and decided one day that I wanted to find my dad again. I hadn't seen or talked to him in nearly 9 nears by that point. Through my step-mom (who was divorced from him now) I had learned that they'd had another child, a little girl, Rebecca, who I'd never met. I had met the two older ones, Chrysti and Michael when they were about 3 and 5 years old. Now, Rebecca was 7, Michael was 11, and Chrysti was 13. So, one day I called information to find his number. I didn't even know where he lived at that point, but our last name is very unique, so it didn't take long to find it. Without hesitation, I dialed his number. An answering machine is what I got, so I left a message that went something like this, "Hello, this is Julie. I, uh, well, just wanted to see if I could find you again, wanted to talk. Um, so, call me if you want to. Bye." I forgot to leave my number. So, I called back and left it on the machine. And he called me back. I was afraid of that. I don't know what I was thinking, really. I guess I just hoped this time it would be different, maybe he'd changed.
Much to my surprise, he HAD changed! He was very apologetic for the things he did in the past. He was extremely positive about the future, and he was overly excited to be speaking with me again. We talked about cooking, about poker, about bowling and books and cars. We were finally reconciling our differences and getting to know each other. It felt amazing! I really did have a dad after all. And he really did love me and want me. After a couple of months talking and emailing back and forth, he asked me to come live with him - to spend some real time together and work on our relationship. At first, I was terrified of the idea, still remembering the last visit when I was 12. But things seemed so different now, many years had passed, I had grown up, and maybe he had too. So, without a job, or any other prospects, I finally agreed, with conditions. I would come out there for a month, see if I could find work, and test the waters living with him, since I wasn't keen on the idea of living with ANY parent, let alone one I didn't really know. He told me he would help me find work at a casino, he told me he would help me with my bills for a while, he told me we would work everything out together. So, I gave Christine 30 days notice, sold everything I owned in a garage sale, and flew to New Jersey.
I was there 7 days before I came home. Everything he had said was a lie. He wanted me there to take care of the kids, to pay HIS bills. His idea of helping me find work was giving me the "help-wanted ads" and dropping me off in Atlantic City for the day, after criticizing my interview outfit and tearing me down mentally. We got in a huge argument, reminiscent of the one when I was 12, he threw the phone at me, and I used it to call my step-mom to come get me. The next day she took me to the airport. And now I'm here, in Newport, again. Living with my Mom, and preparing for Scott's arrival back home too.
Most recently, Scott has been out at my Grandpa's house, for about the last 6 months. After staying with Gary and Anita for 21 months, and losing 237 pounds, he moved back to Grandpa's house, way out in the middle of nowhere, with no gym, no church, nothing healthy, and it seems a lot of depression. They had some sort of falling out, but Scott won't tell me exactly what happened. Something about Gary asking him for rent, I'm not sure. Scott told me he has gained some of the weight back, but I haven't seen him yet, so I don't really know what that means.
"Your brother's here!" Mom sees Scott pull up in his Jeep, and we both go out to meet him. "Oh..." She sees what I see. A very large Scott. We both try not to stare, because that's mean, but we are shocked to the core. In 6 months, Scott has gained all the weight back that it took him 21 months to lose, and then some. He is all red in the face, exhausted, and hungry. He comes in the house and asks which room is his now. We tell him and he goes there, lays down, and sleeps. Mom and I don't even know what to do, or say. It's even hard to look at each other, for fear, I think, that if we speak about it, it'll be real. And it's just unbelievable, it just can't be real. Not after everything we've been through. Not after everything he did to get better. Not after seeing him 6 months ago, under 300 pounds for the first time since high school. Now he weighs twice that, at least. How did this happen? Unforseen circumstances.
And on this day, I am making a conscious choice to stay in Newport. To try and help Scott, and Mom, through this. To find a way to make him better once and for all. That THIS is the important thing I will do with my life. That HE is my new plan.