Last night at dinner Kasper casually mentioned over our plates of pizza that he heard from my dad. Dad still doesn’t know my number. It makes no sense. I’ve had this number since I was 20, I’m 32. This number was mom’s contact number when she couldn’t afford her own line. It was Stilla’s; it was even his at one point! And the only number he can remember is the second line I hooked up for mom that she used for maybe two years before moving back to the north east, 6 years ago!! Kasper now uses that number.
The day Grandpa passed was a weird day. It reminded me how strangely connected dad has always been to our family. He’s always had this weird way of knowing things he shouldn’t; like when to make contact. There are a few instances from childhood that shine brightest for me with this weird sixth sense he has.
The first was when I was about 9. Krank Ficken was already a part of our lives but we were still relatively normal at this time. We had gone for KFC together and when we returned mom asked if I wanted to speak to dad on the phone. It was an easy no. Up until this KFC night I had not heard anything but of him. What makes this strange is after mom hung up the phone, she said it was weird he’d call when she was just talking about him for the first time in years. It’s something that always stuck in my head.
A brief period of correspondence followed shortly after. He met a woman who found Jesus after ditching her crack pipe. He dropped his bottle to find Jesus with her. Correspondence ended about as quick as it started. They picked their vices back up and tossed their Bibles aside. The next time I was reminded of him was at a friend’s house. Jersey is one of the few females I’ve ever been undeniably close with. I met Jersey in eighth grade and it’s the only year I’d know her but it’s the closest friendship I’ve ever had with anyone that didn’t involve playing in dirt at one point. Now we’re just Facebook numbers to each other.
When we came downstairs for breakfast one morning after I slept at her house, there was a man at the table. He looked at me funny and asked my name. For some stupid reason Jersey told him my entire name. She even said she had no idea why she said it. His response was one I would become oddly familiar with from this point on:
I knew those eyes were familiar. You have ________ eyes, for sure. I knew your dad.
I answered his questions as briefly as possible. I never had anyone but family to confirm mom’s stories but this man was quick to admit my father was a man he feared and it brought him great relief to know that he was no longer welcomed in our small state. Drugs are such a terrible advocate for fear and inviter of short term euphoria that this man, at ease with his admission of fear of my father to a girl of 13, was equally unashamed of the history he shared with him. I did not like this man.
I don’t recall hearing from dad again until April 2, 1998. I believe the day started out fine though I can’t bring up anything from the depths of my mind except art class. I wore my favorite Boss t-shirt and matching jeans that were 188 sizes too big for me. I stood against the art table, brush in hand, when Stilla walked into the class. I could tell by her red and tear streaked face that our secret was out. I left the class without a word and followed her down the hall as she told me through sobs that we needed to protect mom, we had to think of her, we had to make sure we did this smooth for her. The principal asked for confirmation to which we both conceded the truth and he escorted us home to break the news to mom.
I did my best to stand bold and strong for her but the state wasted no time crowding our house and me with obscenely large state troopers. I was 14 and scared out of my mind! The entire time Krank Ficken sexually abused, assaulted, and raped me, I was told by Stilla mom couldn’t know because it would destroy her. That afternoon, as I sat on the couch giving explicit details about the things I experienced and kept secret since I was 11, I watched as my mother slowly melted from the inside. It was a nightmare and made it difficult to provide a full account with her present.
As the house started to clear and the hollow stillness of our house crept into the shadows, the strange little novelty phone Krank Ficken bought a few short months before began to ring. I answered it and for the first time heard dad’s voice. I knew it was him the moment I heard him and he knew who I was without asking.
This trend still follows us. Any time bad news reaches us, he is there to follow. Any time his name enters a conversation, he is sure to call. Any time I find myself in silence and have one half second of a thought about the length of time it’s been since he’s been heard from, I get a text from someone warning me that he’s been located. People know. It’s something about him. It’s fucking weird and it’s creepy.
On February 7, 2016, I got a text from Kasper. It’s a forward from dad. He wants to make me beneficiary of his $40,000 life insurance. I have a few issues with this aside from the multiple red flags that immediately fly up. I don’t respond to any of his texts or anything. I want nothing to do with him and he knows it. His hunger for attention, even if he uses sympathy or guilt as bait, is always worth the effort to him. I have a high horse when it comes to my principles and morals and I’m not ashamed to ride through a crowd of donkeys on this ‘stang either. Why should I be? I decided instantly that my principles and morals do not allow me room to exercise forgiveness without question any more than they allow me to call a man I have all but disowned just because he claims he has $40k to toss my way once he dies.
My ties to reality and logic send too many flags rising to the air alerting me that something here is not kosher. Dad is in a nursing home. He needs constant medical care and he’s also mentally unstable. Over the last 5 or more years he tried to get one of us to use our social to confirm who he is so he can get his birth certificate and a license. He has a habit of using sob stories to stick a toe in your door then using that freaky monkey toe to rip the thing off its hinges. No matter what the man tells you, there’s always an ulterior motive– a far worse agenda.
I figured I’d try to find out from my uncle Harley. He’s the one who’s been keeping up with Dad’s care. I wanted to know if he was out of hospital, had plans to get out or if there was something else I needed to consider. He said all is legit but I decided not to reject dad’s offer directly– out of fear of letting that sneaky toe into my home, so I never replied.
I had just enough time to feel relief from having thought out that text and executed a follow through despite its outcome without breaking down into anxiety driven tears when I remembered my father’s meaning. He’s like a raven swooping into your life to remind you that shit is about to get horrible for a while. I could barely absorb this realization when I received a text from mom 20 minutes later. You can see the timeline in this thread with Kasper:
I knew it was coming, grandpa finally giving under the weight of his age. I just wish dad didn’t have his own role in this miserable experience for me. My first memory of Grandpa is of him coming up the stairs with a box of pizza and a kitkat bar on top of it. He came to feed us after dad beat mom and left before the cops came. Grandma refused to help but Grandpa was there with food for the night and hugs for mom.
I now wonder what dad wanted. I have no idea. I didn’t pay attention while Kasper read the text to me last night. I just kept thinking of grandpa. My dad ruins everything, even the death of my grandpa. Dick.