EXCERPT FROM: MOMENTS
It was the middle of June, on a hot summer night. Jax couldn’t sleep. His wife, Lola was in the hospital waiting to have an emergency hysterectomy. Father’s Day was quickly approaching and all Jax could do was lie there in bed thinking about his wife and the call he received from his father only weeks ago. He began thinking of how things could have been different between his father and him. Jax wanted a close relationship with his father ever since he could remember. But he wasn’t close to his father, he felt more distant than ever. Jax felt so alone, lost, and distant from everyone around him. He began to wonder if he would ever be able to forgive his father for putting him through the things he did at such a young age. He had finally begun to quiet his mind and drift off to sleep when he was startled awake by the phone ringing. He looked at the clock to see what time it was – 5am.
Who would be calling here at this hour? He wondered. It was his mother, crying, and in a panic. All he could understand between her sobs and cries was something was wrong with dad, she couldn’t wake him, and he needed to hurry. Jax rushed out of the house and arrived at his parent’s home to a sea of police, ambulance, and rescue vehicles. He is in shock as he notices his father’s lifeless body lying in the back of the ambulance. His uncle, a Ramsey county sheriff, was standing near the door as Jax entered the kitchen. His mother is sitting at the center island, crying uncontrollably with her head in her hands. There was nothing anyone could have done. His father had a heart attack in his sleep. Jax recalls his father telling him “when I go, I want to die in my sleep. That way, I won’t feel a thing.”
Jax was in a fog. He felt like he was dreaming. His whole body was numb. All he could think about was his father calling him and asking to meet, to make things right. Had he met with his father, he may not have so many unanswered questions. Had he met with his father, he might not be feeling this much pain, emptiness, loss, and despair. His thoughts kept going back to what might have been said, what might have been repaired, what might have…if only he had spoken to him one last time.
His life was in a whirlwind, a tornado of events just kept spiraling out of control and Jax couldn’t seem to get Mikayla out of his mind. He wished she could be there for him, like he was there for her but he knew that was impossible. There would be too many questions and no way to answer them. Jax had to do this on his own. After all, he got himself into this mess and now it is his to deal with, no matter how much he wanted to run away from it all.
As Jax drove to the hospital, he began to think about what day it was so he would always remember the date his father passed away. Suddenly, as if a brick hit him and sucked all the air out of his lungs, he realized what day it was…it was Jax’s birthday. His heart sank, he couldn’t breathe, and he gasping for air. Good thing I am on my way to the hospital. Jax thought as he tried to catch his breath. It was still difficult for Jax to breath under so much stress. He reached under his shirt and touched the scar on the left side of his body. Yup, still there, he thought as he slowly removed his hand from under his shirt. He was finally able to slow his breathing and make it to the hospital. That’s what a good husband does, right? But why was he thinking about Mikayla while he was waiting for Lola to come out of surgery? He just couldn’t understand why he couldn’t get her out of his mind, especially at a time like this. He had to get Mikayla out of his mind somehow.
The only thing that seemed to take away the pain was using. It took him away from everything, so he didn’t have to feel. He didn’t have to think about anyone or feel anything. This was the only place he could ever seem to find peace, except when he was with Mikayla. He found peace in her. And his mind began to drift away as he sank lower in despair. Why me?! Jax wanted to cry out. This was too much for Jax to handle. He couldn’t believe this was happening. He would be burying his father on Father’s day, with his wife by his side. Jax was more miserable now then he had ever been in his entire life. All he ever wanted was to be happy but Jax didn’t know what would make him happy. His entire life was filled with pain and he was just trying to find someone who could stop the pain.
He was young when it started. By now he knew what to watch for so he could try to protect her before they got to her. This night was no different. They were all the same to him. Watching the clock and listening for the sound of the car to pull into the garage. That was his cue to get to his room and hide. He made the mistake a few times in the beginning, but he learned better now. He used to love seeing his parents come home from work but it was late. They were at the bar all night drinking. Now that they were home, they were sure to find something wrong and take it out on Jax or his sister. But this night, he was prepared. He switched rooms while they were gone. This way, Jax thought, they will go into my room looking for me and find my sister’s room instead. She was not home that night and wouldn’t mind what Jax did. She knew he had to do whatever he could to protect himself.
He was used to hiding. He learned to hide behind a mask of no emotion during his adolescence. He used this mask more and more as he walked blindly through high school. He couldn’t find anyone to help him. He even ran to his uncles one night in fear because his parents were beating him so badly. His uncle brought him back home and said it was a family issue and he was not going to get involved. Every time he tried to seek help, he was either turned away or brought back home, only to experience worse beatings for trying to leave. The only consistency in Jax’s life was the pain. He became so used to the pain, that when he experienced something wonderful, he did whatever he could to push it away. He began to believe that he didn’t deserve anything good in his life.
After his father’s funeral, Jax became more withdrawn from Lola, leaving to use whenever he could. He was seldom at the drug house, opting instead to hang out with his hard core buddies as a way of disappearing from the world he knew. He tried his best to be a father to Lola’s daughter, but never felt like a real father is supposed to feel. How was a real father supposed to feel anyway? Jax would ask his buddies. In their twenties, they knew little about parenting and cared even less. They didn’t care for his deep thinking when all they wanted to do was escape. But Jax couldn’t escape no matter how hard he tried. Something would continue to grab his attention; a feeling, a thought, an emotion. He had a son he never spent time with and Lola couldn’t have any more children after her hysterectomy. Deep down, Jax wanted to be a father, a good father; one who wouldn’t beat his kids. He tried his best to be involved but no matter how hard he tried to involve himself, something would always go horribly wrong. He had been planning the 4th of July celebration events for weeks, hoping to rekindle the lost love. That night was the defining moment that began to solidify Jax’s understanding of love.
He didn’t understand the meaning of love. All he knew about love was having sex and spending time together. Jax was never without a female companion; a woman always beside him, ready to do whatever Jax had asked, without question. When conflict would arise, the relationship would most certainly end. Jax hated conflict. He had been trying to avoid conflict his entire life but would always be the one who suffered the consequences. Born into a family of alcoholics it was difficult to avoid conflict. But it was more difficult learning about love. His parents rarely showed Jax affection; instead he experienced the painful the consequences for disobeying.
Jax knew very little about the connection that develops overtime with another person. He didn’t understand the closeness shared between two people could ever be anything more than sexual. He didn’t understand how intimate moments shared between two people could develop into something deeper, something more meaningful, until that night.