Maybe this world is another planet's hell. ~Aldous Huxley
“Mom, I’m sorry” .
The words I prayed for, the voice I knew would be my salvation from daily pain. “Devon…I’m sorry, please come home”.
“Mom, that’s why I called, can I come home?” .
We talked for an uncertain amount of time, I just know the sky was not quite lowering in the sky with that first ring, but when we finished it was dark.
I called her father and thanked him for the 6 months she was with him and asked if she could return. I was hit with a bomb. No, he wouldn’t let her come home.
Devon told me of going off camping in the eucalyptus forest for three days and he didn’t even know she was gone. Children may complain about the tight reigns we keep on them, but in their hearts, they know if we are anxious, we are aware. If we are aware they are safe. Devon was having problems with her father and stepmother fighting. But her biggest issue was her GPA. She felt due to the low expectations of Hawaiian schools, she would not get into Northwestern, her dream school. She begged to come home, I begged her father. But he denied it.
Willie was so angered by this she called a local friend of hers who is known for his unconventional tactics of resolutions.
I was incensed that Bill was not going to allow her to return. If nothing else, he should’ve appreciated her need to have a good GPA and go on to a higher education. In some ways I feel he was jealous. But to date I had raised her without ANYTHING from him, including child support.
So, Willie and I came up with a game plan. Devon was to slowly take her belongings to her friend’s house. The friend’s mother who knew nothing about me, was more than happy to assist us with this venture. When the mother told me of what she knew about Devon’s home life, I felt even more hopeless. I knew if I hadn’t sent her things were evolving in Houston to a frightening outcome.
The mother knew we would be sending Devon’s plane tickets, which were over $800 one way, through general delivery, so the woman could have little in the line of tangible evidence of her role in the venture. But this woman did promise to take her to the airport. After all these things were in place¸ Devon got the tickets and made it to the airport.
Willie and I were on tenterhooks worrying about every step. We knew once she landed for her layover in California, it would be easy street. And those 8 hours or so, were the hardest hours of my life. But she made it, calling us from California.
“Mom, she said “I am so sorry and so happy to be coming home”
Yet, Bill never called. Not until she landed in Houston, almost 24 hours since he last saw her. He called and asked if I heard from her. I lied; said no. I then asked him how long she had been missing, and of course I put the concerned mother act on well. To tell you the truth I was pissed. Had she not been on her way home, but maybe picked up by some white slavery criminal in Hawaii, he wouldn’t have known for over 24 hours.
When she landed in Houston, she was 2 inches taller, had on quite a bit of weight and was sporting orange hair and clothes from the local goodwill. And they were covered in “red dirt” which was part of the mainstay in the laundry system there so it seemed.
Even though she was on a plane for over 24 hours and exhausted, she wanted to go right to school. I didn’t know if that would be a good idea since she really looked quite scary but she insisted.
Once we got there, her counselor took her word for everything, put her in the classes she demanded and didn’t give her appearance a second glance.
And things were back to normal.
When we finally got home, I had quite a sweet welcoming phone call on my answering machine from my sister, the Mother of the Year.
“Dianne, you have finally done it, this was the most disgusting, evil thing you have ever done. Bill called us and told us what you have done. You do not deserve to be a parent and I pray that you live your life with no one and nothing. And you will die alone” .
Now, knowing everything she did about Bill and my marriage, don’t you wonder why a sister would say such a thing. Of course we all know how much I did for her – yet why would she do such a thing? Who knows me better than my major button pusher? I wonder what’s it like living without shame of any kind? And besides, every man's memory is his private literature. Well…think it through. I know why. Bill had confessed many things to me when I left him for a woman. He really wanted to hurt me, so he confessed EVERYTHING. But ….
I already knew since his friends and hers had already told me.
So she basically wanted Bill to have whatever he wanted in hopes of being able to bring him back into her life. She didn’t care what Devon was exposed to or whether she went on to college. Again, jealousy. She made it known her boys were going nowhere in their life. Her marriage was a shambles and her career was limited to making dessert. I kept that message. I play it when I miss her.
Devon was home, the kids were back in the house and I snapped back into mother mode quickly.
And Willie and I were back to our honeymoon.
I kept the house, did the laundry, cooked most meals and waited for her in the wee hours of the morning starting my work day in a wonderful heightened state.
That year for my birthday I bought a BMW 635i. Willie likes to say she bought it for me, but let’s do the math. I made $25 an hour, she made right under $12. But if she wanted to say she bought it – so be it.
Devon was going to be 16, so we were promoting her taking Driver’s Ed. Ironically, she was very much like me. She was afraid of driving. I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 29. It was like pulling teeth getting her to go. Willie told her she would buy her a car (again, the math) if she followed through.
You see we had to take her to Debate Tournaments every weekend, then pick her up in the middle of the night. There were activities during the week as well. Sometimes Willie had to go to school for issues, I would at times need to pick her up after work. It just made sense.
Willie also wanted a new vehicle, so she picked up a brand new black Ford truck. Everyone was happy.
Devon’s Drivers Ed teacher called and told us it was as if Devon was purposefully failing. She had never seen anything like it in a teenager.
They say children are a gift, and I agree, but sometimes I just want to take that gift for a ride and leave it in the middle of the desert.
No matter what she did, she couldn’t alienate me. Nothing could drive me away.
And she finally got her license. The first night out, the day after Willie got her truck, Willie actually gave her the keys.
Then the phone rang: “Willie …I….am so sorry”
Devon was reporting in.