Excerpts from Betrayal
EXCERPT FROM PROLOGUE
If Jack’s own father had provided him even a little visibility and exposure to life as he grew up, Jack would have thrived on it. Jack came to realize that his dad just didn’t have what was needed to be a “real” father.
"I found out where your father‘s working. I’m sure he’d like to see you.” Jack’s mother’s comments caught him off guard. Jack was eight years old when his mom and dad separated and divorced. The fact that his father wasn’t coming home any more affected Jack greatly. In his home, their living room windows faced the street. For several weeks after his dad left, Jack would stand in the window every evening looking out and waiting for his father to come home. So, when Jack’s mother told him and his three sisters that they could go see their dad, he was elated. Looking back, he was more affected by the divorce and not seeing his father than Jack’s sisters. Also, for some reason, Jack thought he had done something to cause the break up. No one ever told him that, but it was still something he struggled with. Jack needed the protection and security of his father. He wanted him to guide him through life and introduce him to the things his neighborhood buddies experienced. Jack hoped that his dad would teach him how to hit a baseball, ride a bike, swim, or make a snowman in the winter.
“Can we go see him today?” Jack asked his mother.
“No, I’ll set it up with your dad and then you and your sisters will be free to go see him.”
It was a cold, snowy winter day. The snow had been falling for two days. It was the kind of snow that would be great for having a snowball fight or making a snowman. None of that mattered to Jack. He just wanted to go see his dad. So off they went; Jack and his sisters.
His two older sisters, twelve and thirteen, were given instructions by Jack’s mother on where they were to go and how to get there. It must have been a fifteen- minute bus ride but it felt like hours. As they got off the bus and walked to their Dad’s office, all Jack could think of was seeing him and asking when he was coming back home.
“Hey, it’s great to see you kids. How did you get here? How are you doing? Did you have lunch?” Jack’s dad seemed so happy to see them. He introduced them to all of his co-workers. He was beaming.
“These are my three daughters and this is my son Jack,” he said. “I had to name him after me.” Jack was so proud. He felt like the son of a President. His dad made Jack feel great.
After all the introductions, he sat down with them in a conference room and talked to them for quite a while.
“So, how’s school? Are you getting enough to eat? What about your homework? Are you going to bed on time every night?” Jack’s dad was so attentive to them.
Finally, their time with him was rapidly coming to an end. He had to go back to work. Jack had been saving his question and he felt like he needed to ask it now.
“So when will we see you again? And when are you coming back home?” Jack blurted out.
Jack’s dad didn’t answer for a long time. He just looked away. Then finally he said,
“Look, I have to get back to work. Why don’t you come over to the place where I’m living and we can sit and talk for a much longer time?” Jack thought about that for a moment and then asked,
“Ok, but then will you tell us when you’ll be coming back home?” His dad looked away again before he answered,
“Sure, we can talk about it then.”
He wrote down his address and phone number for them. They agreed on a time to show up at his house on the upcoming Sunday right after church. Before they left he hugged each of them. He waited to hug Jack last. Looking back, Jack sensed something in his hug that he didn’t quite understand until much later.
Jack couldn’t wait until church was over on Sunday. It was a train and a bus ride for Jack and his sisters. His mother was comfortable with letting the four of them go alone since his oldest sister was very responsible. They talked as they went but Jack was consumed with his thoughts about spending the day with his dad. Janice, his big sister told them,
“Mama said that we have to stay together. So hold hands and make sure we don’t get separated.” As they walked the two blocks from the bus to the address Jack’s dad gave them, he almost couldn’t contain himself.
“Are we almost there?” He asked his sister.
“We’ll be there in a few minutes. Just stay together,” she reminded them.
When they got to the address his father gave them it turned out to be a parking lot. Janice looked at the addresses on both sides of the parking lot to determine if maybe he’d written down the wrong number. They then walked to a corner store; found a pay phone, and Janice called the phone number they had. She tried it three times. Each time the recording was the same…
“I’m sorry, the number you’ve dialed has been disconnected. Please check the number and try your call again.” She then called their mother, explained the situation, and asked her what to do. Their mother’s answer was clear,
“Just get back on the bus and the train and come home.”
When Janice told her siblings that they were going back home Jack started talking and crying at the same time.
“Wait, why are we leaving? We haven’t seen Daddy yet. Maybe he’s out looking for us. If we leave, he won’t find us. We can’t leave.” But Janice was direct.
“Mama said we need to go back home. So, let’s get going.” Jack couldn’t stop crying. He couldn’t believe that he wouldn’t see his dad. It was as if all hope was gone. Jack was sad all the way back home. He never saw his dad again until he was grown, married, and had two children.
It was clear that Jack’s dad didn’t really care about his son or helping Jack through life. Jack developed a hard inner shell, trusting no one, not wanting to be hurt like that ever again. And while he didn’t trust Art completely, he did appreciate Art’s care and concern for him from a business perspective.
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