I had small bursts of anger at the onset of our discovery of
Dad's girlfriend May. It was Grade Eight, and I was thirteen, going on fourteen.
I wanted to slam down our hall telephone
when she called my father. I wanted my mom to run up credit cards bills to buy attractive furniture for the separate
household we would one day need. I wanted to be born again into a different family, one where the mother and father
stayed together, and everyone was happy.
My mom did not want me to get involved in their fight. Not at this time,
My behaviour changed radically, yet no one seemed to notice, preoccupied with their own problems. As soon as
I got home from school, I made myself a cup of instant coffee, and ascended to my pretty bedroom.
The large window looked onto a back
yard facing Lac St. Louis, one block away, through East Gables Court. Floor length curtains in heavy raw silk, pale green
with bursts of mauve flowers, and a matching dust ruffle on my bed. Pine furniture painted white and a cupboard with
clothes in aqua green, and mauve, as green and purple were my two favourite colors in my early teens.
was around four in the afternoon, when I got home. I put my books away, and took off my shoes. I lay down on my
bed, curling myself into a ball, and fell into a state half-awake, half-dreaming.
I was unable to move for several hours.
had little energy, though I was a previously healthy and happy child. I stared at the mature tree outside my window, and sometimes
moved sideways to allow my cat Fluffy to comfort me. We lay together in total thoughtless silence for two or three hours until
my mom called us for dinner.
I repeated this passivity day in and day out, until my schedule broke for
Something was wrong, no one saw it.
one adult, a kind and well-intentioned gym teacher called Mr. Watt. He also attened the same church, in Cedar Park, and knew
my parents were divorcing perhaps.
He called me into his gym office late one afternoon, embarrassing me, by
drawing attention to our problems.
"Is there anything you"d like to talk about?" he said in a sympathetic
voice. I was mortified. Did I appear to have some problem?
"Not really," I said.
can talk to me, any time you want," he continued, not knowing whether or not to pursue this.
What could I say? What could I do?
flood gates to one of the longest divorce cases in the history of Canada had been opened, and all I could do was walk
up the stairs of our split level suburban house, and lie without moving in my beautiful room.