There are different ways to end a holiday, but; I don’t think there can be many quite as dramatic as this one.
Within a day or so after “the incident” we had packed up and headed back to the farm.
The drive home was filled with dread, we all knew the war was simply moving to a new and untested battlefield.
Would this split the family?
Would Raelene Still be there?
How much did Jerry, Steve and Chloe know of what had happened?
What were they thinking?
Dad had been home for a days or two before we arrived, what had he told the others?
I was in the car with you, but I had no idea what you were thinking; the sullen, determined bitterness was an impenetrable wall.
We were home for a day or two before the full magnitude of the situation sunk into my rather slow brain. Steve and Chloe were firmly entrenched in your camp, Jerry was on your side in your presence and Dad’s when he was him, Terry and Margo were both young and swamped with doubt.
You gave me an ultimatum, I can understand this now, but at the time; being forced to decide between parents was a painful experience.
You were bitter and vengeful, my weak response that I would not choose, drew a sneer of derision from you.
Dad had been a total fool and the fact he had simply transported Raelene from home to a motel in Albury, and was finding every opportunity to detour via the Matador Motel; whether coming from Council meetings or spurious business meetings, did nothing to ease your pain or to excuse his behavior.
But; he was still my father and to have to choose between parents was simply a bridge too far for me.
At the time, I found your bitterness difficult to comprehend and now looking back, I am still not sure if I was right or wrong, but still to do this day; I do not handle bitterness very well.
I am quick to anger but also quick to forgive; I honestly don’t know if this is the right way to live your life but I do know my intolerance for bitterness of any kind dates from the events of this time.
Your seething bitterness drove me away at a time, when I should have been more supportive; I am truly sorry for that.
I remember one day; you were both in the house at the same time; these were always times when I would make myself scarce; I went out and feverishly started washing the cars.
Dad came out, on his way back to the sheds; we had hardly spoken for the past couple of weeks and I was probably happy for this situation to continue but on this occasion he stopped to talk.
“What do you think of all this?” he asked in his normal brusque way.
“I think you were fucking stupid, but you are still my father”
“That’s all I can ask” he called over his shoulder as he trudged back to work.
Mum; I can look back at this time and question my attitude to you at the time, I really don’t know whether I am proud or ashamed of my position.
This was not a great time for our family.