Thursday, December 21, 2006

Sucked down the Rabbit Hole

This is the story I've struggled with the most. I've started it often -- but never finished it. Either is was funny -- and it's not a funny story. Or it was depressing -- and I've grown tired of depressed. Or I didn't get it right. Or I was afraid you'd think I was fishing for sympathy.

I'm not. I'm not any of the above. But I did need to get this one out. Allya'll that know me, know the "end result." Somya'll know the beginning, somya'll know the middle. But I felt that allya'll needed to know why this time of year -- the time of year that used to be my absolute favorite time of year -- is now my wobbly-est time of year...

According to my family, “It’s not Christmas unless Jayne cries…”
40 years ago, it was my budding Beauty Vanity, 30 years ago, it was my guitar. 25 years ago, my first Christmas away from my family, 20 years ago, Erynn’s first Christmas. These were all “true” Christmases. They were Christmas because Jayne cried.

And then, there was my Christmas four years ago. The year I got sucked down the rabbit hole—

I was driving home from church – I’d just finished doing my annual Christmas pageant. Erynn hadn’t been there – she’d had an improv rehearsal. But where had Mik-
::ring ring::
“Michael! Where were you?”
“Where are you?”
“I’m on my way home – did you forget about the Christmas pageant?””Oh – yeah! Guess I did – how’d it go?”
“Great! Everyone liked the li-“
“Where are you?”
“I’m on my way home – do you need something?”
“Nope – just wondering where you are.”
“Yeah-yeah, I’m on my way home. I’ll tell you all about it in a bit.”
“Home in a bit” was delayed by a quick trip to the store.
::ring ring!::
“Jayne, where you at?”
“Sorry, babe – had to stop at Target for tape.”
“Oh – okay. See you in a bit.”
And then, I’m pulling in the driveway. It’s a long, dark driveway. I punch the garage-door opener, and pull the car in. As I get out of the car, I’m surprised to suddenly find a strange car pulled in right behind me.
“Can I help you?” I ask warily.
“I’ve got family court papers for you.”
“Oh, you must have the wrong address—“
“What’s your name, ma’am?”
“Jayne. Jayne Day-Richardson.”
“Nope. Right person. Right address,” he curtly responds as he hands me a thick stack of documents, “Merry Christmas.”
Shell-shocked, I take the papers. Surely this is a mistake – But it’s no mistake: the papers have his name vs. my name. “He must be dying – or he’s won the lottery” are the only two thoughts in my numb brain. Autopilot guides my feet into the house – “Where’s Dad?” I ask Erynn. “He’s not home,” she responds from the couch, “But someone has been here twice looking for you.” I continue to the back of the house – still on autopilot. “I’m gonna take a shower, sweetie, okay?” I’m aware of her response – I’m just not sure what it was. I turn the shower on – having no intention of getting in – I just need it to drown the sound.
I dial his number. No answer.
Pain like an arrow pierces my brain: He didn’t take the truck in to be worked on – he took the truck.
I dial his number. No answer.
Another arrow pierces and runs me through: he didn’t take the horse-trailer to be painted – he took it and hid it.
I dial his number. No answer.
Another arrow pierces and runs me through: he wasn’t getting rid of old clothes last week – he was moving them.
I dial his number. No answer.
Yet another arrow pierces and runs me through: this is why he didn’t want both of our names on Erynn’s car.
I dial his number. No answer.
An arrow as wide as a car knocks me to the floor: this is why everyone acted so strange in Fiji – they knew that “this” was coming.
I dial his number.
“Michael. What have you done?”
“Jayne. It was time—“
“Michael. What have you done? Is this how you –“
“Jayne. We aren’t happy. It “
“Michael. Where’s the talking? Where’s the trying to fix?”
“Jayne. I can’t talk to you. You never listen. You never support-“
“Michael. How can you do this – now? Erynn graduates in six months. I’m getting ready to do my student teaching. You do this now? Two days before Christmas? Without talking?”
“Jayne, it was time. You never—“
“Michael, don’t. I can’t believe that this is how you do THIS. After 21 years – you let some stranger serve me papers in the driveway. What were you thinking?”
“Jayne. I’m not happy. And I deserve to be happy. That’s the most important thing in life, right?”
“No, Michael. Actually, the most important thing is our daughter. What—“
“Well, you know Jayne – that’s another problem. You always put her first—“
I don’t remember how the conversation ended. I remember climbing in and sitting on the floor of the shower – letting the water course down my arrow scarred body—sitting there, shaking and crying…..
-cause it’s not Christmas, unless Jayne cries……


lime said...

that is a seriously messed up sense of timing.

i hope for steadier legs this year and tears of happiness.

Anonymous said...

My tummy is in knots after reading that. That is reason enough for you to be so happy and proud of how you have morphed into super APJ in the past few years.

Always remember Karma- it's a bitch to those that suck monkey nuts!

I love you more than you realize APJ- so happy to have you in my life!
Big wishes and hopes for a wonderful Christmas and Holiday saeason for you this year!

lecram sinun said...

Yeah, I know those arrows. Though since then... it's been quite the adventure, right? :)

Anonymous said...

APJ, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! No tears, just smiles this year!

RACHEL said...


I am so glad to have become friends with you. Honestly, I was crying by the end of it myself, but it is okay to do that, right?

Anyway, love you dearly.


airplanejayne said...

lime -- yes, Voldemort never did have much of a sense of timing. didn't dance well either...

katie - sorry I tied your tummy...thanks for the luv.

lecram - Cor! wot an adventure!

cosima -- yes, each year gets a bit better.

rachel -- love you too.

guess we could change it to, "it's not Christmas unless Jayne makes everyone cry...." although, I shall strive to make it always tears of joy and laughter....


KFarmer said...

and Jayne does not cry alone- It's a rule of mine. I'm sorry you ever went through that and I hope this Christmas there was nothing but smiles :)