That’s how it started. I don’t know why. I stopped questioning soon after it started. It just felt right. Something between us was very powerful. We had a connection from the first moment. I knew something special was going on but I thought it was a friendship. I kept telling her stay open to me. Let’s see where this friendship goes. Stay open and open up to me. I promised to do the same. That’s what we began to do. We started talking a lot. More than we should have. That’s how I know she needed me in her life in that moment. She would contact me, I would reply. That’s how I am with everybody. I rarely initiate conversation because I honestly am too focused on work. I have a million things going on all at once and if I take a step back I always end up missing something. I hate failing at anything. I’m very competitive with myself. I push way too hard, I self-criticize. That’s why nothing any bystander to this affair says hurts my feelings. I get annoyed but that’s the extent of it. I have a thick skin. Growing up the way I did, you had to or you wouldn’t have made it out of that house feeling good at all.
I grew up in Nebraska. It was a home for a big portion of my life. It no longer feels like home when I return to see my family. Everything has changed. We’ll get to that part later. My mom came from money. Not her family was well off. I’m talking money. Big amounts of money and they made everyone realize it. My dad married her in spite of that, well, because of me. They got pregnant unexpectedly and my grandmother told him he would marry her or else. The or else would be blacklisted for any kind of job in a 5 county area. Which literally would have been the death to his construction business. At the age of 3 we moved to Texas. My dad was chasing the construction boom down there and running away from her family. Now as an adult looking back, I don’t blame him. Nothing he could have done would have ever been good enough and he knew it. That made him angry. Very angry at me because I was the reason he was stuck in his life. He may have loved my mom but it didn’t show very often. The man worked everyday of his life trying to provide for all of us. That much I can say made me proud to be his son. I have never seen another man work as hard as my dad. He was mean, sometimes violent, but he worked hard. That was the accepted excuse growing up in that environment.
Shortly after we arrived in Texas my mom found out she was pregnant. This time it was planned. My little brother Danny was the prince. Being the baby you expect your siblings to get anything they want. This was also because my dad wanted him. I grew up feeling like I didn’t belong to my own family. I was pushed harder than my brother, I was told to lead, to stand up for myself, to protect what was mine and to work for it. My dad told us from early on we will do chores, we will help him on jobs, and we will work for things. He was not raising boys that were handed things. That was throwing shade at my Uncles, my mom’s brothers. None of them worked. Even now, none of them work. They didn’t have to, so they just didn’t. I grew up thinking my uncles were fun. They were always happy and laughing. They took me on crazy car rides into town. They would buy me candy and tell me to watch out for girls that girls would ruin my life. All of them have been married at least twice. Some more than 4 times. I believe that’s because they don’t have a work ethic. You tend to want to come home and stay home at night after a hard day’s work. Without jobs it was one party to the next blowing money just to stay they can. I didn’t realize they were alcoholics. I just thought they were funny. They had taught all of us to go fetch them another bottle. Meaning more scotch or more whatever was hanging out by the liquor cabinet. I thought it was like soda pop. But for adults only because I was told never to drink it, ever. It was poisonous to kids. I was really dumb when I was younger. Maybe not dumb, just naive. I still am.