is home where the heart is? Or is it merely a state of mind?

Wow, look at me. Months travel by at the speed of light and there you go.

I am currently residing in the home of my father and stepmother. My job at Target is currently caught in the middle of a game of tag and runaround, respectively. I suspect I’ll have to seek other options, which I’ve begun to do. I applied for management at a local theater and have applications in at other places as well. There’ll be no laurel-resting for this one, though my father’s of another impression. I can understand where he’s coming from but I also suspect that my stepmother’s bending his ear a bit.

The past few days my friend James has been a great and loyal person, a true friend in every sense meaning of the word. Aside from me pounding the pavement, job-wise, we’ve hung out, gotten stopped by a cop for merely walking around the subdivision I live in at night, gone to see comedian Todd Barry at Savannah Smiles, went to a strip club (first time for myself, he goes every now and again) where I got my first lap dance – and a second – before a fight broke out and the place closed.

Hanging out with James has made me feel more alive, centered, and conscious of my own being than I have in quite some time. The monotony of this cabin fever was getting to me. And there, in and of itself, lies the heart of my issues with my father and stepmother. The only apt phrase here is that silence is deafening. When I ride in a car with him, it’s awkward silence that permeates the atmosphere, save for some idle chit-chat – most of it pertaining to the restaurant industry. As for my father’s new wife, I can’t get a handle on her. She rises early for her job so she goes to bed early (as does my father). They’re in bed by 8PM most nights. Some may see that as a reflection of their age. At first I thought they were slighting me but then I had to stop and realize that the dissolution of the nuclear family I once held dear, the one I grew up knowing, is dead and buried, along with any preconceived notions I had that I could insert myself favorably into the construct of marital bliss my father’s made for himself. I really am an alien, a stranger. When I’ve eaten dinner with them in the living room, that old, unwelcome familiarity, awkward silence descends upon the room like fog in the early morning in San Francisco.

I know from where this stems. I am seen in their eyes as an outcast, a pariah, a shiftless, good-for-nothing layabout that contributes nothing and is nothing. I wish my father could have seen how hard I busted my ass at Target and I have been trying like hell to get back there but as I stated earlier, it’s becoming increasingly frustrating. I emailed the HR lady today and will report back later. If that’s a no-go, so be it but I’m working like a hawk to find something, anything. He’s now talking about how I can’t stay here and not contribute and I totally understand that. But I can’t make shit happen with a snap of my fingers, try as I might. And I am fucking trying, despite his contrary thoughts.

I don’t believe in primal scream therapy but it’s looking mighty appetizing right about now. For all the fits and starts, the hems and haws, the bruised egos, bitter emotions, and then declarative statements of resolving the issues between us, I can now see full well that there is a canyon between my father and I. It’s hollow emptiness is not ever going to be filled. We may as well be strangers for all that’s worth. There’s no common ground there and you can’t fake it or craft one in a piece meal, scatter-shot fashion. He wants me to attend their Presbyterian church with them. So I guess I’m supposed to put on a plastic smile, swallow my pride, and walk into a place whose beliefs I don’t share or have any connection to? And on and on.

All of this as it’s played out has done one thing and one thing only. It’s made me miss my mom even more. My father asked me how much I paid my mother for rent. I told him and he said, “You were paying half your paycheck? No wonder you couldn’t save.” I told him, “There was nothing untoward going on. I looked over the finances. Every cent was accounted for, and I helped with bills.” I had to temper my remarks. I wanted to say, “Well, if you’d been on fucking time with the alimony check instead of waiting until the banks closed, which caused our power or water to be shut off on more than one occasion, maybe we’d have had our ducks closer to being in a row.” But a cooler head prevailed.

So as I was saying I’ve grown to miss my mother even more. Now that she’s gone, I don’t have that outlet, that close personal connection with whom I can share my feelings, my emotions, my thoughts, et cetera, and that fact’s been made all the more apparent by the cold, clinical detachment that permeates this household. It’s almost a tangible element and I don’t get it at all. It’s a fucking head-scratcher is what it is. And I don’t know how to stop the itch.