Ward Cleaver Where Are You?

Feeling blueI sat on the steps outside our Florence apartment feeling sad. Here I was, in one of the world’s most beautiful cities and just when I was about to really enjoy being on this this trip – bam! Now I just wanted to go home.

I’d gotten in a fight, perhaps the biggest showdown of my life.

Not with Donna – – oh contraire, the night before we’d been super sized by the romance angel. We’d been given a heaping helping from the ladle of love all right. However, that magic was cut short the moment we arrived back at the apartment. Picture a sixteen year old on a power trip, pulling an Alexander Haig once he perceived himself in charge of his two younger siblings.

The evening affairs were never settled, so the morning started with more attitude and griping which evolved into yelling then degraded to a screaming match between Alex and I. Donna worried we’d disturb our neighbors on the other side of the 12-inch stone wall, so kicked us out on the street. There, we made such a spectacle that a woman walking by actually stopped. She stood there in our personal zone, so close I could smell her lipstick. She stared as we sparred. Would somebody stop on the street like this at home? Why would she take the time, what were her intentions? Was she some sort of counselor assuming she could help us? These were questions I didn’t ask myself during the heat of our argument because every cell of my brain was consumed with this verbal punch out. The woman finally moved on as Alex blurted out every angry thought he ever wanted to tell me – like toxic waste into a river. To him, I wasn’t a father, rather a “guy with a bunch of dumb rules.” That was the mildest of his accusations. Some were ridiculous, some were justified, and all were painful – very painful to hear. My firstborn was delivering my fatherly performance review and my score was pretty damn low.

He threw out a choice expletive then turned on his heels and walked away from me. I stood there shocked. As I watched him walk down the street, a feeling crept up from deep inside of me and worked it’s way to my head. I can still see the sun rays dancing across the back of his black t-shirt as the notion hit me – I wanted him to keep walking and never come back.

NEXT: When Did I Become Lame?


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