I’m not saying I’m mentally equivocal when I say I come from a family with more issues than the European Vanity Fair magazine. In fact, My father, Buck Harvey, raised my older brother Jack and I the best he possibly could by himself. I loved my father more than any Beatles song could ever convey. Daddy will always be an anchor in my sea. Jack was a bit off growing up, not in a weird way, unfortunately, he was just normal. Typical even. He was possibly the most ignorable guy you could ever meet. We rarely spoke to each other, unless we wanted the hot sauce. The only thing my brother Jack and I had in common was a love for hot sauce. Daddy (I will never call my daddy anything else) was a successful investor, but he never acted like it. He was a strange one though, for instance, I’ve never once, in my existence, seen him with hair. He can grow hair, and I never quite understood why I never questioned him about it. He was riding a bicycle down the beach when he met my then free-spirited, hippie mother. She was fresh flowers, and vibrant rainbows, sunshine and lollipops. I remember some nights when daddy would say to me before bed;”That day, the sun couldn’t warm or make me sweat as much as your mother’s glow, her smile, and she gave it to you, Katherine.”
Then one summer when I was 3 years old and Jack was now 7, daddy’s work ran into a slump, and a sizable amount of our savings had to be used to bounce back. By then, my mother had assimilated into the life of champagne glasses, couture dresses, and rehearsed laughs. The rainbows, rabbits, flowers, sunshine and lollipops, were surrendered in a treasure box in the cellar of her heart. She yelled at daddy every other night, and Jack would start to awkwardly make funny faces at me. I think he was trying to get me to laugh as a diversion from the commotion. He only look awkward because we always seemed like strangers to one another, acquainted siblings, and he was improvising. It worked. Sometimes they didn’t because of the kitchen cupboards. My mother would slam them so hard, they sounded like balloons being popped all around me. I’ve disliked balloons since then, and knew my brother secretly loved me, but with Do Not Disturb signs. Despite the severity of verbal shark attacks from my mother in the kitchen, daddy never once raised his voice. His voice was like a smooth baritone saxophone or like that song, Fly Me to the Moon. He kept his composure and since the kitchen was downstairs, it sounded like my mother growled and snarled at Frank Sinatra.
After a month everything seemed fine to me, the fights kept going, but I didn’t cry anymore. When they started, I would practice ballet, while Jack drew pictures of clocks. As long as we knew daddy was going to be daddy, we’d be OK.. Then my mother disappeared one day. She wasn’t in the kitchen making breakfast because she had it delivered by this little bistro the Harvey’s used to go to when the roster was just Daddy, Mother, and Jack. I’ve never been to this bistro. Incidentally, that was the first and last time I heard daddy sob. Sob Day. I didn’t know what to do. I stood there, stunned and in my pink tutu and tights (I never took them off) I got from ballet, watching him from the door of his study, his sanctuary. It felt like my fault. Not because mommy was gone and daddy sobbed, I felt bad because I’d wanted my mother to leave, out of a child-like fear and loathing. I felt guilty because I did not think at all about how daddy would feel. I may not have been keen on my mother, Jack may not have had an opinion about anything either way, but that only meant daddy was the only person that loved my mother.
I loved daddy, and that day showed me one thing: if you love someone, their feelings should always filter your actions. Love is a word, but sometimes we forget love is a verb.
When he finally realized I was there, he quickly wiped his tears, made airplane noises, spun in a circle, and the next thing I knew, I was lifted off the ground and placed onto his shoulders.
“All aboard Flight 184 to Ice cream land! Jack!! You scream, I scream we all scream for…”
“ICE CREAM!!” screamed Jack from our room. He ran into the hallway jumping up and down chanting, “Ice cream! Ice cream! Ice cream!” Ice cream always held an influential hold on the Harvey children, that and clam chowder soup. Perhaps it was the beach that did that to us. Maybe it was the beach that was in us. I cheered too, but I really just wanted to hug daddy’s bald head, and say, “I will never want someone I love to hurt.”
Daddy’s work had picked back up by the end of that same summer. The sunshine reclaimed it’s throne with a hand through a crack in the sky above the S.S. Harvey, just after my mother abandoned ship because of a season of gloom. The first few months following that, I would overhear daddy on the phone using that calm and apologetic voice he used when he spoke to my mother. It was the only time he ever had to use that voice. Everything had gone back to normal. Jack continued to be normally weird, daddy was always daddy, and I didn’t feel any less loved. Even Grandma and Grandpa came by often. They might have been worried about us, but I think they didn’t come by as much because they were afraid of my mother. As for my mother, she made the conscious decision to leave. She placed fortune over family, and intentionally lost the key to her treasure box long ago. Her airline miles didn’t apply to paper airplanes. It taught me an abhorrence towards money. Hated it. I had no idea how I was going to keep hating it, but the fact was this: I always knew that money was and forever will never be more important than the image of a three year old girl standing on the threshold of the study, watching her father cry for the first time because she wished for her mean mother to leave, while wearing a pink tutu and ballerina tights she refused to take off, confused and having an traumatizing epiphany about love. Daddy knew that, even funny-face Jack knew that, at least, I think he did. But my mother chose to drive herself to the party.
I was 14 when I met Craig Meyer. I met him through his friend Nick Chaselli, of whom I was dating at the time. We split up two weeks later, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say my relationship with Nick had any lasting impression on me. Come to think of it, I can hardly recall what he looked like. I’ve always been that girl, the one that was always in a relationship. It wasn’t as if I was constantly, let alone consciously, looking for one. They just happened, like cracks in the asphalt. It did allow a constant flow of companionship, perhaps I was overcompensating, but more importantly, it helped pass the time. It wasn’t until I broke up with Nick that I finally grew tiresome of being dated. It was like letting them copy the answers off my math test; I got nothing out of it, and I didn’t even know if the answers were right to begin with. That’s when Craig slipped into my life. Since he and Nick were friends, he had to do the right thing and slip past him too.
“Hey Chaselli, can I talk to you for a sec?” Craig said as Nick opened his locker during passing period.
“Yeah, what’s up?” said Nick.
“Well, I heard you an Katherine broke up. I’m sorry. You alright?” Craig said, consolingly.
“Thanks, I’m okay though, we just weren’t good for each other, and I’m already talking to Janet. Katie and I are still friends, no hard feelings.”
“You’re seeing Janet Maloney already?”
“Yeah, like the day after. She has way bigger tits.” said Nick, almost nonchalantly. Craig paused for a moment with his mouth about to say something else in regards to the boobs because Janet Maloney did have the biggest boobs in school. Also the biggest ass, thighs, and gut that resembled a 2nd trimester, except it was from high school keggers thrown by juniors and seniors to get at the new meat. Craig wisely pleaded the fifth on the subject.
“Well, would it be cool if I talked to her?” asked Craig, uninspired.
“FUCK. NO.” Nick said in two long breaths, facing him now.
“Well, I have her in my Bio class next, and I’m going to talk to her anyway,” Craig started walking away with a skip-hop maneuver, “I’m just letting you know now, buddy.” As he skip-hopped towards Biology 1A, possibly the only person in the history of that highschool to skip-hop towards any Biology class, the sound of a thunderclap came from a locker being slammed shut. Amongst the startled chatter in the hallway, a very agitated and distinguishable Nick Chaselli shouted, “FUCK!” Craig kept skip-hopping, nonchalantly.
The first few days, Craig was referred to as Nick’s muscly friend. Normally, that’s the period where I’d give them my phone number when he asked for it, then we’d chit chat about sweet nothings, I’d go along with it, and then we would date for a few weeks. I didn’t give Craig my phone number because I didn’t want to play the same song on repeat, but he was persistent. Craig didn’t get the hint. Or maybe he didn’t want to get the hint. He was handsome, smart, played on some of the teams, and could practically go out with whomever he wanted. I assumed he just got off on the challenge. There were guys like that in highschool, seek and destroy, my Knight takes your Bishop because the pawns were peanuts. I hated those guys. I wasn’t gonna cave. After about 5 weeks, he was still on it. I figured it was time to let him have the number as a reward, if not just to stop hearing the words “number,” and “call you,” come out of his mouth.
He brought me flowers. Not just once. I had no space to put them in my bedroom, because the other flowers he brought were still there. Either he was really competitive, or he really liked me, because Craig Meyer did this for an entire fucking year. Technically, this was the longest pseudo-relationship I’ve ever had with a guy. He became a kind of routine that I became less and less annoyed with. It got to the point where I enjoyed being around him. It was hard to yawn around him.
By the time I was a sophomore, we were practically best friends. We never argued about trivialities, like what movie to catch, where to eat, who we were with. We liked the same movies, the same foods, and already had the same friends. I’d met his family countless times; His older brother, Donnie (whom reminded me of Jack, except Donnie knew how to smile), younger brother, Vincent (the loveable black sheep), older sister Diane (who’s a real bitch. She was ugly as a child and became pretty later, ugly duckling syndrome I thought, but from what I understand, she’s always been a bitch and no one really knew why that was), his mother Emmaline (A beautiful woman from Sussex, England, with a Martha Stewart swag set), and his dad, Edward Meyer (The Furor). He was special.
I had been in and out of that house for an entire year, spoken and laughed with everyone (including the bitch sister, in which I’ve learned to smile and speak in a higher pitch when I dealt with her), drank tea at 4 0’clock teatime with Emmaline simply because she wanted to know how my day was. Craig’s dad had never spoken a word to me. As far as I knew, I hadn’t done anything wrong, and I certainly wasn’t planning on it. I had the power of invisibility around The Furor. It was hinted that he was only like that when I was around. I couldn’t understand why, especially after the story Craig told me of how his parents met.
Edward married Emmaline two months after meeting her. She was in the country for a tour of the different colleges and also as a short vacation. When the tour left for home in England, Emmaline stayed behind partly because of a charming and handsome young Edward Meyer, pre-Furor, who happened to own a chain of successful grocery markets, but the main reason she stayed behind was because they were madly in love and had could spare no time worrying about the buckling the seatbelts. Eagerly wanting to start the rest of their lives together. The third month of their meeting, they purchased a house on a hill, lawn large enough for four kids. Ed and Emma remodeled the house themselves to the exact specifications of their love, with a white picket fence, an homage to endangered tradition of happily ever after. It made me think about my mother sometimes, but that only allowed me to appreciate the serendipitous poetry they call their lives, even more.
One day I was over at the Meyer’s, as I often was, I was sitting on a bench with Craig on his front lawn. He seemed a little down that day, which was suspect. The thing about Craig is he’s always the life of the party, loved by everyone around. You rarely ever caught him arrogantly looking up, and never caught him meekly looking down. You know how you can tell when a friend isn’t telling you something because you’ve seen and studied them enough to have the instinct? I knew all of Craig’s faces, and gestures.
“What’s wrong? And don’t you dare lie to me or I’ll fuck you up.” I asked in my run-of-the-mill coarseness.
“It’s my dad. He took my keys.” He said after a strange pause. I ignored it.
“So what? You’ll get ’em back by what? Tomorrow? We’ll just watch a movie here, I don’t care. Why’d the Furor take your keys?” I said. The Furor was a fitting title because he was the only one in the house that wasn’t blonde. I was at least a dirty blonde.
“I called Di, a bitch.” he said. Now he seemed really off. We’d be laughing by now. Strike two. I pitched again.
“Oh? Since when did calling your own sister by her spirit animal become a car-crippling crime.” I joked. He responded with a fake-laughed. My eyes bugged out almost completely out of my skull and I thought, “HOW DARE YOU FAKE-LAUGH ME, CRAIG MEYER! His face flushed pale as he realized that I realized he fake-laughed me, and before I could smack his face and his fake-laugh all over the lawn, I heard the front porch door creak open. I turned around and it was Edward. The car-repo Furor. I quickly turned my right hook into a wave.
“Hi Mr. Meyer!” I said with a higher pitch.
“Hello Katherine, how are you?” The Furor said back. I fought every ounce of muscle and instinct to keep my jaw from dropping. I exerted so much concentration into my jaw muscles that I forgot about my eyes. The two big blue iris’ bugged out as if they had just witnessed the Pope air-guitaring to Stairway to Heaven. I froze up, I felt a chill and a hot flash simultaneously. Visions of the beginning of time in the cosmos, swirling celestial dust, black holes, white holes, the milky way, the non-fat milky way, flashed and shimmered. Simultaneously, visions of the end of time with fire, rubble, toil, and trouble; together, fusing ultimate truths and infinite contradictions into a state of snow white serene desolation, and I was still waving at Edward Meyer.
“…uh… I’m great! Thank you so much for asking!” I couldn’t think of anything to say besides that. And I immediately wanted to smack myself on the forehead for including the unnecessary attachment and emphasis of “so much” to my pitiful answer of a question I’ve heard every day of my life. That’s at least 5110 days.
“That ‘s good. I was hoping you’d be here today. I was wondering if you’d have a moment, I’d like to talk to you about something.” He sounded so calm and genuine.
“Don’t!” Craig whispered to me, “Tell him you have to leave, meet me on the corner and I’ll steal a car to get you away from here.” I looked at Craig. Then I looked at the Furor. I couldn’t tell which one was joking.
“It’s okay, I don’t mind really. I think this could be my chance to get on his good side.” I told him as I got up. Suddenly, he gripped my arm and held it. The look in his eyes was a look I’d never seen before. It scared me. Something was wrong. I felt like there was a canon being loaded, maybe it’s already been loaded, hidden, and the fuse was about to be lit.