“I love you,” Charlie told me tonight. “I love you so much. I don’t know how I will ever repay you for all you’ve done for Horsefly over the years. You will always be so special in my heart for helping him to talk and to learn to play like regular kids.”
He gave me a strong and loving embrace as we stood in my den.
“I have just been so worried about you all day. It has made me sick with worry! You don’t seem to be drinking even though you have some money, though. I thought I would find you drunk tonight when you said you were mowing lawns. I worry you are going to get in a mess with that job. I called your father tonight and told him. He said he is going to call you in a little bit to talk. Don’t worry. He sounded calm. I hated to call him, but he needed to know.”
My heart sunk. I really didn’t need a talking down from dad tonight. I was so very tired from working all day. I’ve had a very busy day today and am exhausted. I probably won’t answer the phone. I want to avoid that confrontation till the last moment like a coward. I would rather talk to him face to face, eye to eye. I want him to see that I am okay and not in some drunken stupor as he will think the worst of me as always.
“Your mother called me five times today fretting about your groceries. She is so obsessive compulsive like us,” Charlie then said laughing jovially. “She really loves you. She was so afraid you were going hungry without food. I also got those drink mixes you love. Help me get your groceries out of the car. She made me write down a list of all the things you like and usually get. I got you plenty of your favorite meals. Your father is going to kill me when he sees what I spent.”
Charlie and I gathered all my groceries inside and put them up. Charlie then sat on my couch and watched the rest of Bones with me as he lavished Maggie with ample attention. The show ended and he got up to leave.
“I’ll be back in a minute,” Charlie told me asking me for one of my plates from the kitchen. “Janice is cooking and I am going to bring you a plate of home cooked food tonight. All that fast food I bring you has to get old.”
It was about thirty minutes later when Charlie arrived again. On the plate was stewed tomatoes, chicken casserole, crinkle cut carrots, green beans, pickled zucchini, and two pieces of cornbread. There was also a big Ziploc bag of several pieces of Janice’s chocolate cake.
I am really blessed in having Charlie although I was miffed that he called dad and spilled the beans. My life has been so serene while they have been gone and I have grown spoiled by the quiet. My father makes me such a nervous wreck every night with our medication ritual. He is always constantly watching me for signs of mental illness and substance abuse. The scrutiny is unnerving. I am going to fight, though. I am not giving in. He is not going to make me quit my job like he did the last one. It is time for me to stand up for myself and be a man. Courage be with me!