I’ll never forget the night he left. He and my brother, who was nine years older than myself, were in a tremendous argument. My brother stormed out slamming the door behind him. My eight year old self raced to the front porch to call after him. Tears raged as I screamed for him not to go. The intensity of the argument led me to believe that my brother would never be back, the thought caused me tremendous panic. I screamed, I pleaded, I begged. He told me to go back in the house. I remained on that porch until he walked out of view, leaving Grand Street and turning right on Pacific Avenue. It was a grand mess and there was going to be no peace. My brother returned that night, my father did not. He walked out on his wife of twenty-three years, his seventeen-year-old son, and his eight-year-old little boy. The older sisters had already escaped the mess.
So the pattern was set, every other summer until the age of seventeen I trekked to a remote mill town in Alaska to hang out in filth and spend hours and days alone as my father worked rotating shifts, slept, and made trips to the bars. In Alaska you can bring your child to a bar, so often we would spend time together there.