If I’m going to go down this path, this is a full committal on my part. And like all good travels down the hindsight road, which is what this really is, I’m going to tell the story that I sometimes wish were true. There’s no good way to pull someone into the story with “Once Upon a Time”, let’s just let your mind imagine all that came before.
My darkest secret, one which I carry like an anchor around my neck, starts with a lovely lady and some stupid teenage decisions. And like plenty of these types of tales, only one of us is around to have regrets, recriminations, and reoccurring nightmares about it. That episode of Patre dying has to start somewhere, two kids thinking they were absolute adults, trying their best to show love the only way teenagers knew how.
I’m not going into the step by step events of that evening, but sometimes people just shouldn’t engage in amorous activities while someone is having her monthly visit from nature. [sorry, I’m a guy who could either sound clinical or make some type of joke about it, neither of which are appropriate for her!] That whole Toxic Shock thing being a side-effect of a single evenings fun. Who knew several weeks later it would devolve into her death.
The family I am staying with in Boston is her’s. And life might have been completely different for all of us if not for Patre’s passing. Who knows what the future might have brought? Was it possible that we could have been that 1 in a million couple that marries after school? Maybe after college, which sounds a whole lot better! Most likely we would have been just like every other set of 16 year olds, broken up and moved on with out lives before the end of the school year. That sounds harsh, but that is reality.
I’m not ever going to make lite of how it could have changed the course of my daughter’s life and her death years later. That is diminishing her in a way that I would never be able to do. And just the exercise in revisiting history, revising it’s outcome, it might not change that part of it for me; but I don’t wish to eve entertain the notion!
There wouldn’t be this girl whose middle name is Laura as a result of her father wishing to carry a piece of me into not only his future but her’s as well. It’s a nod to all of the time I tried to be a positive part of his life while he was growing up. So Suzanne Laura G. walks this earth carrying her own strange memorial on every piece of paper she signs.
Right now I need this family in my life. They are the one simple thing that is helping me keep it together. That sounds selfish and right now I don’t care. We’re not talking about a car accident that could have been avoided by going down another road, or a test that made the difference between graduating first or second; we’re talking about the confusion I feel trying to understand how my life would be completely different at this very moment in time. Patre’s passing was hard, for many people, but it is the foundation of a relationship that has carried forward 27 years. Longer than she was alive!
If history had to be rewritten, I know that it would have to start with this single event in my life. It’s devastating to think about how lost I might be without them, but I can’t help but continue to wonder if we had just watched a movie that night. I took so much for them to watch Patre decline and now they are facing the same situation 3 decades later with me. I want to take away that pain from them.
Several days ago the prompt was about shaving off those final days of your life for the ability to see the future. I couldn’t write because I have always been willing to trade my life for three things. The first was having my daughter survive, the second being Patre having had a future beyond January 1988, and oddly I still would give my life to take away the pain that my ex feels/felt. The first two are easy to throw out there, they make sense to everyone. Saving the ex doesn’t make sense to some, but I watched her for a decade, sacrificed several things so that sh could be at peace, and I would do it again knowing the outcome might remain the same.
So screw hindsight, it only leads to more suffering. Hoping to correct what went wrong, I’ve got Quantum Leap to provide me with those dreams of history revisited.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Revisionist History.”