The Sailor's Stories

1039 Chapter thirty nine – The Sailor’s Awakening.

with 10 comments

You know…, they say that any man can be a father…, but it takes a real man to be a dad. I think I read that somewhere, and you know what…, I really like to believe it, it’s got a certain simplicity to it that really appeals to me. Basically what it means…, or at least what I think it means to me, is that although you may be biologically capable of bearing children, that doesn’t instantly mean that you’re going to be any good at it. In my mind, it take’s a very special kind of guy to front up and overcome the challenges of child rearing…, to do the right thing at all costs. Sure sometimes mistakes happen and the guy does grow into a pretty good dad, but those few cases would seem to be the exceptions to the rule, rather than the rule itself.

Usually, unless you really know what you’re getting into, and are one hundred percent ready for it…, being a father is about the best you can ever hope for. Because, to be quite brutally honest, raising a child in this day and age is an incredibly tricky and somewhat dangerous business. That’s not to say that it hasn’t always had it’s pitfalls, but these days, there just seems to be a few concerns that weren’t overly present in the past. Gone were the wholesome days that you could leave the TV to raise your child without too much concern that it would turn them into an axe wielding maniac, while mom did the housework and dad earned the money to keep you. Never a concern about where your next meal was coming from, or whether or not you had clean clothes to wear to school the next day.

Not so anymore, there’s more violence and carnage on TV than most of your average battle zones, the internet that teaches kids god only knows what sometimes and worse, now you have kids killing kids in schools, economic hardship not known since the thirties, and the very real threat of all forms of bigotry that plagues our society. There is some very real and damning evidence that parents just aren’t what they used to be these days. You just have to look at the suicide figures to see that. I mean don’t get me wrong, even the best parents sometimes have to deal with loosing a child that way. But the mere fact that it happens is somewhat distressing.

What never ceases to get me the most about this, however, is the           all too real thought that Dale might have been one of them. If I hadn’t confronted him about his own sexuality, got it out in the open and showed him that it was ok…, would I have come home one day to find him somehow gone. If I had lost him through my own inaction…, or any of them…, and for any reason, I just knew that it would tear my insides out. Loosing any one you love is hard enough, but losing a child has to be the worst feeling in this universe. That’s why I acted the way I did, for Corey on the boat, I took the lesser of two evils and prayed that I could pick up the pieces later.

The one truly telling fact about most teen suicide cases, isn’t that it happens…, it’s why it happens. I’ve done a lot of research over the years since the boys came to live with me…, forewarned is forearmed, right? Reasons are varied, but the bulk is that a lot of it is spawned from desperation and hatred and most of the time that has only one real source.

If you look closely at the figures, one of the prevalent causes of teen suicide, always seems to be sexual preference. Kids get so upset, or depressed even, by the fact that they see themselves as something wrong dirty or even evil, that they just see no other viable choice. Of course it isn’t always preference that gets them, maybe they were abused, by a peer a neighbor or a family member, physical verbal emotional or even sexual abuse, can play a big part in a kids depression and or desperation. The truly sad part of all this is the lack of support out there, for whatever reason the kid can’t go to his parents, and for all their talk school guidance counselors are so over worked that they barely have the time, or inclination to really delve into the problem. As I say, this all leads to very few options in the mind of a child.

Unfortunately, and this is the really sad thing, it seems to stem mostly from their peer groups, usually through the eyes of the other kids parents…, I mean these kids have to get it somewhere right? Though in some cases it’s just the parents doing, and that one to me is the hardest to work out. But then after all that, what are the kids left with, they try to be honest, to just be themselves, and all they end up with is the feeling that there’s no other way out…, why? Parent’s are supposed to protect their children, and teach them how to survive long enough to be proper adults themselves, they should be someone that you can go to with anything and feel accepted…, or am I wrong?

Take Carl’s dad for example, or in his case, should I just call him the sperm donor? Because I tell you what, he never really seemed to me to be capable of being anything else where that boy was concerned. That Carl remains such a sweet loving caring intelligent and responsible young man, despite what his father did to him, can only be a testament to the lasting effects of his mother. Though, even if it is a little vain, I’m kinda hoping that a bit of me was getting in there somewhere as well. His real father however, had been nothing short of mean and abusive, and it had gotten almost to the point of neglect…, which goes a long way to explaining some of the attitudes that Carl still tries so desperately to suppress sometimes.

Then there’s Sean…, the boy’s father…, well to be fair, I think he would have been a good dad…, but, the really unfortunate fact of life being, that he never really got the chance to prove himself. That’s not to say that he didn’t try, it was quite plain to see that before the accident, he had been a totally devoted and loving dad. You see to him, his boys were his crowning achievement, and everything he was, was because of and for them. I can say that with a great deal of certainty, because that’s how he’d described them to me once. That alone showed all the hallmarks of being a great dad, but then it was completely understandable given that he’d come from nothing, and pretty much had to start over. He would have been a good dad I think.

Of course the best example of a dad that I know of, is none other than my own, the man that I love the most in this life or any other…, right next to Mark of course. My dad was, well at least to me anyway, the yard stick to which all others should be measured. To say that he was a caring attentive and loving dad would be true understatements. Always there with a good piece of advice, or a solid shoulder to cry out all my pains and worries. The best of it of course, that he did it because he could not because he had to, thinking of me first before all other considerations, and again not because he wanted something out of it, but because to him…, that was the only job he had that really mattered. It is one of the biggest regrets of my life that I never got the chance to thank him for everything he did for me.

Me…, well…, I tried hard. I don’t know if I was really any good at it though, but then the boys seemed to be turning out ok. They loved me dearly and I would do anything in my power for them…, I don’t think I really have to go into the proof of that. To be fair, they hadn’t gotten into any serious trouble, they were polite and courteous, not to mention responsible, and somewhat well adjusted…, even after everything I’d put them through. Good at school, and well liked by the world at large, or at least I thought so…, so I guess I really was doing all right. At the very least, I wasn’t about to unleash some pretty dangerous serial killers on the unsuspecting public.

Pretty decent effort, for the somewhat “Hospital Pass”, that I’d received all those years ago, but even now, I wouldn’t change a day of it for anything in the world…, well ok, maybe one or two days. Of course…, I did have a lot of help through all those years, but to say that I was a great dad really wasn’t even on the radar. All I was ever able to do was try to not get them killed, properly feed (and let me tell you, in Corey’s case, that was proving rather difficult at times!) and clothe them, give them as much attention and love as I could…,  and really, just hope for the best. But in the end, well at least to me anyway, I just still seemed to be the cool uncle…, the only one I was even remotely a “Dad” to was Carl, which of course was something I was properly working on to make official.

You see through all that, what a proper dad to me, is someone that you can depend on. Someone that loves you unconditionally…, someone who will move mountains just for you. I mean anyone can provide for your welfare, but it takes someone truly special to raise a really good kid. I’ve given some pretty decent examples of what a dad is supposed to be, at least from my perspective anyway, but to further emphasize my point, if that was even needed, all I would have to do is look at JJ’s dad.

In Caleb, we have the son of a southern Baptist minister, from Texas of all places…, and let me tell you…, if there was any hope left in the world, I think that he would have to be the champion of it. Caleb was everything a real dad should be, he doted on his kids, lavished them with affection, and did everything he could to make sure they were looked after…, they never needed nor wanted for anything. But when he found out about his boy, although it was a shock at first…, in the end it didn’t seem to really faze him in the slightest, that JJ was his boy, and still alive and well, knowing that his father loved him…, that was all that mattered to Caleb. Though to be fair to my friend, I think the circumstances with which he did find out could have been a little better, the shock was born of the situation, not how he felt about his boy.

You see the following week after the time that JJ stayed with us, he did go back to the academy, as it turns out though…, it wasn’t to last. For two weeks, the boys and I, and I can only assume his own family as well, received several messages, emails txt’s and the like from him. They were of course, messages of good health, and high spirits. But as the weeks went on, the messages were getting fewer, and they seemed to be less enthusiastic, sure they said the same things, but they just didn’t have the same JJ feel…, if you know what I mean? Caleb and I had been seeing a lot of each other over those few weeks as well, even going so far as to start a Friday night tradition of having a few drinks at the local bar after work.

In all that time, especially after the contact with JJ seemed to be waning, I kept a very close eye on Caleb…, I was trying to see if he knew anything, see if he had an idea why JJ was acting so differently. Unfortunately though, he appeared to have just as much intel on the matter as I did, to say I was disappointed was like asking ‘Does a bear shit in the woods?’. But what could I do, JJ wasn’t my kid, he was Caleb’s…, if he didn’t want to talk to me anymore I couldn’t force it. I would miss him, a great deal too I soon discovered, but he wasn’t the first boy I’d lost.

It all came to a head one Saturday morning in late November. One week out from when we were supposed to him again for Thanksgiving…, between Caleb, Cassie, Reggie and I, we had organized a bit of a grand old get together for the start of the holiday season. The boys had the week off, and JJ was due to join us in a few days…, of course non of us knew at the time, that his arrival would be coming a lot quicker, and a lot more dramatically.

The boys and I were up early that day, because I’d promised to take them flying, before the weather got too bad to do it safely…, and still have fun of course. It wasn’t a regular thing that we did, in fact up until then I don’t think Carl had ever been up with me before. To be honest, I was hoping to show him a really great time, as he’d been a bit down lately, what with the upcoming holidays…, the first away from his family. It was after that flight, that night at dinner, that I was going to hand him the papers and call him son for the first time. The Twins knew, but I’d sworn them to secrecy on pain of being tickled till they peed themselves in public. I knew that it was killing Dale too, but then I also knew that Dale understood the situation almost as well as I did. He really was a very special little guy.

The plane I had rented for that morning was a Piper Cheyenne 400LS. But what the boys didn’t know, was that I was in the throes of deciding whether or not to actually purchase it. Like I may have mentioned a time or two, I was tossing around ideas of leaving the navy, and I wanted to have something that I could still regularly fly on occasion. Sure other than for the fun of it, I had no idea what I was going to use it for, but it felt good to have that kind of security…, I was kinda into the idea of maybe a scenic tour type deal.

The thing about it was, was that I had pretty much made up my mind, the only thing left, was to see if I liked to fly it. The Cheyenne wasn’t a jet fighter, but with its twin big turbo props, it had decent power and some good range. In fact I thought it might have been a bit of a challenge for me, and I was pretty much looking forward to it. It had been quite some time since I’d flown anything with a propeller, and I was getting excited about it.

When I was making the booking and setting out the feelers, I was told that it had a price tag of a shade under the $1million mark. It was something I could easily afford, what with my parents life insurance, not to mention their already decent personal wealth that came to me at the same time. Don’t get me wrong, being financially secure is a great feeling, but to be fair I would give it all away for just one more moment with my parents…, or even the chance to just see them happy and alive again.

You see, my parents were ‘Old Money’…, well my mom was anyway…, she was kinda ‘Slummin’it’ when she married dad, but that’s the thing about love isn’t it…, it’s kinda blind. And when you factor in my own personal wealth, born from years of combat related danger pay, and a good investment banker, plus my normal salary…, that tag was well within reach. In the end, if I went ahead with it, I could still be comfortable for the rest of my life, even with all the boy’s education paid for, but it was a big expense, and if I was to be honest…, it was causing me to pause a little.

That morning the boys and I were resplendent in our classic navy style leather flight jackets and aviator sunglasses, that I’d purchased especially for the occasion the previous week at the supply store on the base. I’d even gone so far as to get proper leather patches made, with their names engraved in gold for the left breast. The boys eye’s all lit up like million candle power lighthouses the night before, when I had presented them with the jackets the previous evening after dinner. Of course that’s when the questions started I had to tell them about today’s flight…, looking at them right then we didn’t really need the plane…, their sheer excitement alone would have been enough to power a trip to the moon and back.

However…, like all those plans that never survived first contact with the enemy…, so was ours to be that morning. We were just about to head out to the airfield when I got the call. I’d only seen him the night before and had gone into great detail with him about my plans for the day, so I was a little confused as to what was going on, but when I picked up the call, I instantly recognized the sound of a scared parent on the other end of the line.

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Written by bigct/Octavius

April 30, 2010 at 15:42

10 Responses

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  1. Ct, did you say something about cliffhangers? Don’t leave us out there too long!

    dawngreeter

    May 1, 2010 at 01:06

  2. OK CT, new rule…

    Only ONE (1) “cliffhanger” every three months or so. This is driving me nuts!!! As dawngreeter said, “Don’t leave us out there too long!” I’m hanging on by a thread, and don’t have too many fingernails left!

    Rick

    May 1, 2010 at 02:52

  3. OMG, Please don’t kill him

    JJ

    May 1, 2010 at 09:58

  4. Please, Please, Please don’t

    JJ

    May 1, 2010 at 10:00

  5. Octavius I think you Cody and to a lesser degree Tristan have been getting together on this cliffhanger situation. I suppose if worse comes to worse you would always get a job writing soaps on the side.
    All that aside this was a wonderful chapter to read – especially for parents of teenage children – gives a great insight into problems faced both by troubled teens and thier parents.
    Now that I’ve been nice how about posting chapter 40 – pleasssssssssssse !!!!!!!!
    Regards Stef

    Stef

    May 1, 2010 at 10:42

    • Nah mate…, Tristan and I are mere Padawan’s to the master of the cliffhanger that is Cody!

      Hahahaha!!

      Octavius.

      bigct

      May 1, 2010 at 14:27

  6. I don’t think he’s dead, JJ. But, it may be really touch and go for a chapter or two. An attempted suicide maybe?

    dawngreeter

    May 1, 2010 at 12:43

    • A very interesting theory, I must say…, just have to wait and see huh?

      Octavius.

      bigct

      May 1, 2010 at 14:27

  7. This is NERVE RACKING!!! The comments are getting more suspenseful than the story! Quit torturing us and give us Forty so that we can sleep at night!

    Rick

    May 2, 2010 at 14:38

  8. hey guys get a bag of Fritos a beer and just wait the the commercial to end! it will cum ooops come soon! 🙂

    Beach

    May 8, 2012 at 11:14


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