Yes, issues of my daughter and potential future son-in-law, Anna and Bill, have become a crushing burden for Carrie and me. The wedding is postponed, we have bought time, but as we see more of Bill, more of the interaction between them, our disquiet grows – grows like a plant out of Little House of Horrors (yes Brad, Justin can do the soundtrack).
Anna is looking forward for rescheduling the wedding, next fall we hear. The honeymoon, already booked, will occur – everything but the ring. She is going forward, she is in love. He is working on his issues.
To refresh the screen, for it has been a while since we touched on this topic, it seems that Bill was trading pictures – pornographic pictures, pictures of under-aged individuals: maybe girls, maybe boys. When I last wrote of it, I was concerned with saying the wrong thing, something that could come back to haunt him. Instead it seems that Carrie and I are the haunted. Due to a strange confluence of events it seems he will dodge the bullet: he is feeling fine. Carrie and I are not.
There is the obvious, the old news: his arrested development, his excitement from these pictures. He has not discussed his excitement with us, but I do not know about the rest of you, but when I have viewed pornography it has not been a research project.
Socially he is most comfortable with kids: something we had noticed - our friends had noticed - years ago. There is not much doubt in our minds that he will return to his comfort zone. There is little doubt of his dysfunction. One has to wonder as to his attraction to Anna – a slight woman, one the same height as our ten year old.
But what is truly crushing us now is the rest of him, the day-to-day Bill. They are ensconced in our basement. Bill does not come home swinging a whiskey bottle; he does not lay hands on our Anna. But he is abusive, he is mean. In the picture is worth a thousand words category, let me paint one or two.
Bill works close to home – our home that is. He leaves the house an hour and a half after Anna in the mornings and typically is home an hour before her in the afternoons. I will not even touch on what we feel when he taunts Anna that she is always tired.
So a few Sundays ago Anna and Bill take his car and go to their old apartment – a few last boxes, nothing massive. On Monday as we finish dinner he tells Anna there are boxes to take out of his car and when she demurs – says fifteen minutes – he tells her she won’t want to do it then, they need to do it now. Anna is 4’ 10” on a good day; Bill is 6’ – a healthy red-blooded male. But he is dominant, an alpha male in a world of woman and, yes, children: Anna will help.
These tableaus seem to play out frequently around here and tonight we all had dinner together again. As dinner wrapped up and the homework portion of the evening started, one of my younger daughters needed some spelling words – words she will choose. Bill suggests a favorite word of his – Slapdash. Our ten year old has an idea of the definition from the sound of it. Bill helps her out – “slapdash – something done in a haphazard manner as in this kitchen is cleaned in a slapdash fashion.”
The desire to scream – "Who the fuck do you think you are?" is overwhelming but I am the adult: I do not cry out, I do not go for him. Carrie and exchange looks, a common phenomenon of late. Anna senses the looks, but misses the why.
When this story started we were concerned for Bill – end the engagement: absolutely, but let him escape his troubles. We have now reached a point where on a perverse level we would be happy for him to be arrested, to have Anna’s decision made for her.
I thought my issues of sexual identity were as vexing as life could get. Sadly it appears that there are problems even more vexing. Carrie and I are north of fifty – we are tough, we are resilient, and we are talking: we will survive. Anna is twenty-six and cannot comprehend the hell she is entering.