Delusions Part 4
There I was, standing in my room, where a week ago my life had been perfect. Now everything was in shambles. The walls were plastered with posters and magazine cutouts of the cast of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Party of Five, as well as countless images of a shirtless Marky Mark and various members of New Kids on the Block.
It was apparent that my room didn’t get the memo that my carefree days were officially over. Imagining the better days was making me sick to my stomach. I knew if I continued this line of thinking, I wouldn’t have the courage to face the rest of the world. In a move that could have been scripted for Clare Danes in My So-Called Life, I shuffled to my stereo, turned the volume to the highest notch, and blasted Linger by The Cranberries on repeat. It was the only song that personified my broken heart and abundance of angst.
As I stood in front of the mirror spraying my Charlie perfume and applying mascara robotically to my lashes, a terrifying thought entered my mind. The idea sent chills down my spine. What if Brittney had gotten to everybody else like she had gotten to my dad?
Sunday afternoon, I busted into my home, prepared to throw down the gauntlet. I wanted to confront my father about all the horrible things he had caused me to feel: the disgust, contempt, and broken trust I now shared for him and Brittney. I was stopped by the embrace of a sobbing man that vaguely reminded me of my father.
“Oh, THANK GOD, you are alright,” he sobbed. “Brittney told me about everything that happened with Michael. Then when I drove to Big Bear to rescue you from your lunatic mother, she started spouting nonsense about dismissing you from her life. I’ve been frantic all week.”
He paused to take a slow, calming breath because he had been talking a mile a minute. Then he added in a tearful whisper, “I was afraid that I’d lost you.”
“I went to the police, you know. But those sick fucks wouldn’t do anything. According to them, you weren’t missing because you had maintained contact with Brittney and Michael.”
“Dad!” I was trying to get his attention, but he just kept rambling on.
“I told those bastards if anything happened to you. If so, much as a hair was out of place, that would be the end of the Torrance Police Department.”
“DAD! LET GO OF ME!” I yelled, pushing him off of me.
I was fuming. Bits and pieces of his tirade were running circles in my mind. At first, I couldn’t make sense of all of this. It wasn’t adding up. Then it hit me. That knowing bitch! Brittney played us all again.
“Ah, my little Rye Bread,” he sobbed, “I understand that you’re hurting, honey, but you can’t imagine how happy I am that you are alive” he grabbed me into another smothering hug.
“Alive? Why wouldn’t I be alive?” I was still trying to break free from his grasp.
“DAD! Please let me go. DAMN IT!”
“Sorry, sweetie, I’m just so thankful to have my Rye Bread back. Please, sweetheart, go sit down, and we can discuss what happened. I want to know how you are feeling.”
“I don’t want to talk to you about what happened or how I’m feeling. Leave me the hell alone.” I shoved past him, making it to the first step of the stairs before I felt his warm, brutal grip on my wrist.
“Ryan, you have been gone an entire week, and in that week, I have lost a lot due to your disappearing act,” his voice dripped with malice. The money, of course, was all he cared about. “The least you could do is sit down with me. Help me understand what it is you’re going through,” he said, the concerned father’s tone returning to his voice.
His grip on my wrist loosened as the look of terror in my eyes started to register in his vile, manipulative mind. I understood for the first time why so many people feared my father. I understood why my mother was always in search of some spiritual salvation. My father was evil.
“Fine! Whatever, just let go of me!” I yanked my wrist away from him. I want to get this over with and go to my room.
“Sweetheart, please be reasonable. I want to be able to understand what you are thinking. I couldn’t bear it if I lost you, Rye Bread. You are all that I have in this world.”
I was at a total loss for words. I’d never seen my father display any emotion before. Now here he was, blubbering about all he had in the world was me. This man was Satan, pretending that he cared when just seconds before he showed his true colors. Brittney and my father were perfect for each other. No wonder Mrs. Shaughnessy spent every free second she had in the church praying for her daughter’s soul.
“Dad, you know what would make this easier on me?” I asked, playing into his stupid game. I gave him the false sense of security that he was trying to feed me.
“Anything, Rye Bread. Daddy’s here for you.”
“Can you tell me everything that Brittney told you? I can tell you any parts that she may have missed or misunderstood? I’m too tired to rehash it all right now.”
From there, my father launched into a grandstand of a tale about the past week. It made Paycos Bill seem real. According to him, Brittney woke up Saturday morning and found the note. Knowing how much I despised my mother, Brittney called me on the car phone to figure out what could be so serious that I was willing to spend spring break with my flake of a mother. When I didn’t answer, Brittney called Michael to figure out what he had done to make me so upset. But to her surprise, Michael was missing. Darren told her that Michael had skipped out on his last final to go chase after me. He said I had become suicidal after finding out that Michael had sex with another girl.
Not knowing what else to do, Brittney called my father at his office. She told his secretary that I had called, saying that I was going to score Peyote and take the big jump that my mother desired from me. Bernice, my father’s secretary, was all too familiar with this cryptic new age cult euphemism for suicide, having lost both her sons to it a year earlier. She busted into my father’s conference room and interrupted one of the most crucial business mergers of his career. She demanded that he rush to Big Bear and find me before it was too late. Bernice was the only person my father ever took orders from. So, he left the meeting in the hands of his partner, Theodore Laddais. He hopped on his plane and flew to Big Bear.
But, of course, when he got there, I was nowhere to be found. My mother yelled at him for daring to set foot on her property. It was sacred and free of the bounds of corporate corruption and economic servitude. She told my father that she had tried to free me from his demonic brainwashing, but I refused to see the light. So, she had to release me to the wind as she did with all faulty alliances. Then she started throwing nutzie dust, as my father called it, at him, along with magic crystals, to release my broken soul from his putrid capture.
Between my mother’s talk of broken souls and Brittney’s call to Bernice, my father feared I was in some sort of great harm. Or worse, already dead. So, in his typical “I’m the king of the world” fashion, my father demanded the Torrence and Big Bear Police Departments put out a full-scale search and rescue for me. He insisted that I could be in the hands of psychedelic abusing lunatics. They may have drugged me and were forcing me to commit suicide at the request of my mother. Much to my father’s chagrin, the police did no such thing.
According to them, since I was in contact with people very close to me and I hadn’t been gone for more than 48 hours, I was not a missing person. There was nothing they could do. That evening when he returned home, Brittney was waiting for him on the front steps. She had come to tell him that Michael and Sean were back in town and intended to drive all over the city and state looking for me. She wanted to go with them, but they told her to stay with him for support in case anything turned up. So, for a week, Brittney and my father stayed in my house. They searched through my things in a vain attempt to discover what had happened to me.
My father missed essential meetings. Brittney refused to go to all the spring break parties. Michael had stopped eating, fearing that I was in a canyon somewhere dead. To make matters worse, after my father had berated them, the Torrence police became involved.
They treated my disappearance as they did for all the other teen runaways in our county. They told my father that my angst had probably driven me off the creative deep end. I’d most likely run off to Hollywood to become a star. If I wasn’t back in a week, then my father would find me six months from now starring in some low-budget kiddie-esque porn flick that rich fucked up men like him watch.
Now at a total loss, my father contemplated holding a press conference to expose the TPD. He was planning to offer a reward for my safe arrival. He wanted to call in favors from very bad men who owed him huge things when I finally walked through the door.
Once he was finished, my father got up from his chair and began to pace around the living room. With each step, his facial expression changed from anger to relief to joy, and then right back to anger again.
“Ryan, I am beyond thankful that you are back here with me, but do you have any idea what this little stunt has cost me?” he paused and rubbed his hands over his face like he often did when he was upset with me.
“We lost the most important account the company has ever held because they thought I needed to focus more on my crumbling family life. Do you have any idea what your actions have done? DO YOU?”
What a selfish son of a bitch! He fucked up both our lives and managed to blame it all on me. This whole situation all of a sudden became hysterical to me. I began to rock back and forth in a lame attempt to hold back my giggles.
“WHAT’S SO DAMN FUNNY?”
“Well, do you?” I asked, my voice becoming icy and sharp.
“Watch kiddie-esque porn. From what I saw last Friday night, it looked like something you may have gotten from one of those flicks!”
I didn’t stick around long enough to hear his response. I’m pretty sure if I had, he would have murdered me himself and acted as if I had never come home. I spent the rest of that day and night locked in my room, half crying, half screaming, but wholly focused on how I was going to face everyone at school in the morning. Especially Brittney. She had masterminded this entire situation and turned my life into a three-ringed circus.
Photo by Anete Lusina via Pexels.