My father was the type who should never have become a parent; but, more on that later.
I was not his first child. His first marriage produced no children. His second marriage produced Beth and Becky. His third, Lisa and Cathy; and his fourth, to my mother, Eva, produced me and my sister, Beverly. Somewhat ironic that he never had any boys.
Of Beth and Becky, I have only met one of the two and, to be honest, I don’t know which one it was. I was around two years old. We were in, of all places, a truck stop. I sat in the booth on the inside, to the left of my father. The waitress came to the table, normal-faced, when her lips ran to the edges of her cheeks in a smile so large it threatened to displace her ears. She came around the back of the booth to where I was sitting and promptly scooped me up, taking me into a different room. The room was full of sweaty men in shirts with their names sewn on the front. Some patted my head and some squeezed my cheeks. I was never really the type of child that had “stranger danger,” so I wasn’t necessarily afraid, but I also sensed that something was not quite right. I don’t remember exactly what happened next, I just remember my father being furious because he had not noticed that she had taken me from the booth. His face had been in the menu, and when he looked up and saw that I was gone, well. Black, dense fury.
I didn’t know it until many years later when I brought up this memory to my father that it had been one of my sisters that had taken me from the booth. So many years later, and his fury was just as present! That was one of my father’s greatest powers: conjuring storm clouds that would darken his face and make his eyebrows become one furry caterpillar stuck above his eyes.
Many years afterwards, when I was in middle school, already having been placed with what would become my adoptive family, my Aunt Dottie told me that one of my sisters were going to be in a movie! One of the oldest, either Beth or Becky, had moved to California to pursue her acting dreams. She was to be in a Jodie Foster movie! And it was to be a big part! Well, in Hollywood, things change from moment to moment. It wasn’t going to be a really big part, but she did have lines. And then she didn’t. She would simply be in a scene walking across the grass. I’ll tell you, I watched Little Man Tate front to back, upside down, fast, slow, and turtle. I have no idea what scene she was in.
But such is life, in general, isn’t it? We have these scripts in our minds that play out, over and over, on repeat, of scenes that have happened and, more so, of scenes that we want to happen. We write others’ lines for them in an attempt to create a masterpiece. We all want our life, our movie, to make it to the Big Screen. Our name up in flashing lights for the whole world to remember. To be famous; to find our Soul Mate; to be Big Budget ‘A’ List. Somehow, though, for some of us, those big lines and scenes, much as we’d like to script our own way, were being written and rewritten as we groped blindly through the movie Life. Hollywood or Houghton Lake; doesn’t much matter. What matters is wielding your Pen gracefully and recognizing the Grand Scene of Things. I was destined to be a Star; I am a star. And this is my story.