Wednesday, May 29, 2013

No. 372 – Pain Lies on the Riverside

Performer: Live
Songwriters: Ed Kowalczyk, Chad Taylor, Patrick Dahlheimer, Chad Gracey
Original Release: Mental Jewelry
Year: 1991
Definitive Version: None

Before everything went dark in my relationship with Dad’s side of the family, there was one final confrontation in 1995. I had announced, as was proper given the information, that Debbie and I were moving in together. Obviously, my Dad should have my address.

Dad and Laura took this as their opportunity to take one final shot at getting us to see the error of our ways, as if anything they would say would affect anything. I agreed to a meeting, because I thought it would give us one more chance to explain ourselves, as if anything we would have to say would affect anything. In retrospect, I should have just said thanks but no thanks.

They came over to my apartment in German Village in June 1995, and I set up chairs in which Debbie and I would sit—not together so as to not incite anything. I didn’t want anyone to react emotionally. While I was at it, I might as well have wanted to win the lottery that week. I would have had about as much of a chance at success.

So, yeah, the whole thing went over like the Hindenburg. Our conversation consisted entirely of Laura reading a letter and us not being able to respond to it in any way. Debbie at one point asked to see the letter, and Dad shut her down forthwith, saying we weren’t going to get into it. Seeing there was no reason to continue the meeting if we weren’t going to be able to speak, it broke up soon after that with nothing resolved other than we still were moving in together and Debbie would never be included in anything family related.

Debbie ripped into me afterward, saying I didn’t defend her, and for a while after, she reminded me of that. I did, no question, but I didn’t to the extent that she wanted. I could see her point—she was supposedly the bad girl in all of this, which was ridiculous.

But I was in a pickle. I was trying to walk the tightrope to produce a favorable outcome, when in reality, there was no chance of that. After I realized that, I was just as mad that I didn’t react more strongly. If Dad and Laura were just going to blow up any attempt at building a bridge anyway, why not just burn it down first?

So began the nuclear winter in my relationship with my Dad’s side of the family. I went over to their house once a year—for Christmas—as I mentioned. And I stopped going to Torch Lake. Why should I if a huge part of my life not only wasn’t invited but couldn’t even be mentioned? The last time I went to Torch Lake until 2001 was for a family wedding in September 1995, shortly after Debbie and I saw Live do this song at Polaris.

It was a miserable time. Here’s how much fun I had at my cousin Amy’s wedding to Ted, who were firmly Team Dad & Laura: I don’t even remember where it was held. My memory was in Traverse City, but Scott and I talked recently, and he said it was in Elk Rapids. I remember nothing about the ceremony itself or the reception other than feeling isolated. I know I was there, but I attach nothing to it.

But I didn’t care. Debbie and I had just moved into our new apartment, and we were about to head to Northern California for the first time. Our relationship was going great, and I was certain I had made the right decision. One door was closed on me, but the sun was shining through another door, and I willingly walked through it.

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