Bowling in Michigan
I think I was in Jr. High school when we took a road trip back to Michigan to see my dad’s sister and her family. While we were there dad and my uncle decided they should take Tenley, our cousin Drunky and I bowling. I don’t think I had ever been bowling before so I was excited to go. When we got there it was pretty normal stuff I guess. We picked out our multi colored bowling shoes and put them on. My uncle helped me pick out a ball that I would be able to handle and we got settled into our lane. After a quick lesson we got started.
As we played I found that I liked bowling a lot. I have a natural spin on the ball so my uncle showed me the marker in the floor where I should be aiming. He got me all lined up and I was doing pretty well. I was actually throwing some strikes every now and then and I was really having a good time.
It was after the 4th or 5th frame that I finally noticed what was going on. After each roll that Tenley did my dad would give her a nice big pat on the ass. Now this may seem normal to some, but this is not what dad did. He never did that once in all the time I spent running and playing soccer. I never saw him do anything like that. At the time I was young and naive and didn’t see anything inappropriate about it. At the time I was really angry because I saw it as recognition. I thought he was giving her recognition for bowling well. But he kept doing it after every ball she rolled. Through the entire afternoon I didn’t get a single pat on the ass like she did, even when I bowled better than her with a much higher score. I felt invisible. My uncle would tell me I did well after a good roll but to dad it really was like I wasn’t there. His attention was fully on Tenley.
It was later on after Tenley sent the information about dad being arrested for child pornography that it really clicked in me. The emotions I saw in him that day. Dad was very much in control of his emotions. So much so that when he got overwhelmed you could tell. His emotions were so strong you could feel them. You could see it in how he gritted his teeth; he would become very awkward and jerky in his motions. It was the same of anger as it was for any other emotion. He just tried to bury them and not let them out. But when you knew him, you could tell. That is what I was feeling that day bowling. So when my mom and I started talking about the arrest that day of bowling came back to me. I had not thought about it in years. It was just lost in that file cabinet of emotions that I just chalked up to his being an asshole. That’s why I was so surprised when I mentioned it to mom and she remembered that day. She remembered how mad I was when we got back from bowling. She also just figured it was his awkwardness that was doing it. I see it very differently now.
After that conversation with mom she remembered a time when Tenley was very young. I will have to figure out the age later, but we were at my grandparents for Christmas. My grandmother came into the kitchen and said to my mom “That man hates himself so much for how much he lusts over that girl”. That was some amazing insight.
The only reason my mom or I know about dad’s arrest is because Tenley shared it with mom. She says she shared it because now that she knew about what he was she understood why mom left him. Really? Tenley really thinks that mom would have left her daughter with that man knowing what he was? I guess when you have no conscience or empathy it’s easy to believe people would act like you. The same reason Tenley thinks that me and mom left at the time of their divorce without ever giving her a chance. Even after mom had Tenley go to a counselor and gave her every opportunity to come with us. The reality of the matter is Tenley choose to stay with dad. Her “hero” for reasons she will never truly understand. She will not let herself see the truth because it’s too painful and she is too much of a narcissist/sociopath to ever face herself or reality. So she will continue to take it out on mom. Telling stories about how mom never loved her, how mom treated me differently, how mom abandoned her more than once. When in actuality it’s just not so. Sure, mom has now walked away, turned her back on Tenley. Who wouldn’t after all the shit Tenley has put her through?