I had never heard this story before this past Halloween night.
My dad confided in my son, my son repeated the story to me, and I immediately understood why my childhood had been filled with irrational fears and neuroses, why our hearts were always heavy with dread. Why we were convinced something awful was about to happen, every single day of our young lives. And awful things did happen.
Because of his story, I had an epiphany. My baffling anxious ulcer-inducing childhood made complete sense.
My father was ten years old, out on Halloween, trick or treating with a friend. They were both in costume. My dad wore a mask. He and his friend each carried a paper bag to collect candy.
As he and his friend left one house and walked along the sidewalk to the next, a blue sedan screeched to a halt beside them. A big man jumped from the car and hit my dad in the head, tore his mask from his face, and dragged him into the backseat of the car.
He abused him, beating him, threatening him, holding him hostage for fifteen minutes while my dad, bleeding from his mouth nose and ears, screamed, cried, begged and pleaded for his life.
At last the man let him go. My father ran home and told his parents but they didn’t believe him. They assumed he’d been in a fight. Nobody called the police, even the other boy (who ran home in a panic) had been too terrified to tell anyone.
And now what was clouded becomes clear.
I spoke with my dad and of course my mother chimed in with these words of wisdom: “We’re lucky your father is as good as he is.”
Well, she is right. If something like that had happened to me I’d never leave the house. On the other hand, my dad limped along most of his life as though nothing had happened. But it weren’t pretty, I tells ya.
Wow. Just… wow.
Tomorrow – My mother’s logic of the convoluted.