I really thought Patrice was too dumb to leave my dad as if she couldn’t figure out how to use the door handle. Or too dumb in a sense that she even dated him in the first place. Her looks supported my theory. 5’6, bleach blonde hair, super skinny with big fake tits and an airy voice. She was disgustingly cliche. In the beginning, Patrice was obsessed with my dad. Every picture of them together, she would tilt her head and dotingly look at him instead of looking at the camera lens like a normal person. Every. Single. Picture. She called him “Perkinson” because she aspired to be different than all of my other dad’s girlfriends who simply called him by his first name, “Bill.” When Patrice’s father shot himself in the head, she inherited a lot of money and forked all of it over to my dad. We’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. My dad, in return, treated her like a sex slave.
I know what you’re thinking. What do you mean by sex slave? Was she held there against her will? Was she tied down by chains? There were no physical chains, but one giant metaphorical chain latched firmly onto my dad’s dick. He told her what to wear (lots of Frederick’s of Hollywood), how to look (breast implants and tummy tuck included). He made her wear slutty halloween outfits all year round (a french maid outfit and see-through genie pants were worn the most. Obviously from Frederick’s). She needed to be available to have sex with my dad at all times, day and night, including threesomes with the maid or the maid’s daughter. Typically video recorded. Or she needed to be out of the house when the prostitutes came over. My dad incessantly and belligerently cheated on her without any remorse. He often called her a “fucking nitwit bitch…” (Just a few examples. There’s more. A grocery list of abuse and manipulation you could say).
I watched Patrice walk down the stairs. Her plight and misfortune coming off her like heat. You could feel the steam of her escape (finally) even through her tears and snot. She held a tissue, blowing her nose in between her girly sobs. A police officer was a couple of stairs behind her, holding a garbage bag full of clothes. I was standing in the living room between Officer Landry and Evan. The house was tense. I had a thought that not enough lights were on, and it added to the confusion. There was so much being unsaid. So far no one explained anything. I concluded my own theory that Patrice was leaving my dad because of the garbage bag and the continual crying, but still I was dumbfounded. Evan and I communicated through eye glances and gulps, trying to put two and two together. I felt like a stranger within my home. If a cop asked me where the bathroom was, it probably would have taken me a minute to figure that out. But no one did. I guess, that would have been weird.
My throat tightened because I wanted to say something to Patrice. I wanted to pull her to the side and ask her why she was leaving even though I knew why. I wanted some sort of confession. I wanted to ask if I would ever see her again. I wanted to ask if… she cared about me.
I was too shy. There was an audience of police officers. I tried to lock our eyeballs, but she refused to notice me. I looked down at a spot on the warped wooden floor and began to fantasize. I imagined Patrice advancing towards me and requesting all the police officers if we could have a minute. They then would politely oblige. My brother would leave with them. It was a girl thing, he assumed. I then pictured Patrice holding my hand and leading me towards the living room couch that sat against our floor to ceiling windows, overlooking our green pool. (We couldn’t afford a pool guy anymore. Plus my dad said chlorine was bad for us anyway). Patrice then would tell me she’s leaving my dad, but that wasn’t going to affect our relationship. It wasn’t my fault that she was moving out. She loved me so much. She was so sad to leave me—
I snapped out of it and rolled my eyes. How dumb was I? I was hoping for some corny moment that you see in movies. But my life wasn’t a regular movie. My life was more like a pornographic, family thriller that sure, had some comedic elements, but this wasn’t one of them. She wasn’t going to explain anything to me. She wasn’t going to wave goodbye. She wasn’t even going to acknowledge me. I got my answer.
My eyes began to swell, so I bit the inside of my cheek. Hard. A common method I used to stop from crying.
Patrice would never in a million years consider herself to be my stepmother. Even though she was married to my dad and lived with us for 8 years. She never gave me a lot of attention. I felt like background noise to her. I was somebody who used her lotion without permission. I was somebody whose friend’s mother was fucking my dad (and they were unattractive on top of that. An extra twist of the knife). Most emphatically, I was my dad’s daughter. Inherently bad, inherently disgusting, inherently not worth shit.
Patrice walked outside the front door. I felt a sense of urgency. She was going to take off and leave forever for all I knew. How was one garbage bag enough? What about all her art work and her two daughters art work?
Side note: Patrice had 2 daughters, a couple years older than me. They lived with us briefly. My dad bullied and tortured them as if he was a kid himself. They were miserable and wanted out. Patrice didn’t want to leave my dad so she lost custody of her daughters. They then moved in with their dad full time. That’s some unrequited love if you ask me. Also one of the reasons why Patrice leaving was so shocking.
I ran into the kitchen. I took one of her daughter’s school paintings off the wall. It was a canvas painting of the ocean, I presumed. Dark blue with globs of paint highlighting the waves. It was the biggest art piece hanging up, so I thought it was the best one to give her. A police officer followed me into the kitchen like I was a toddler, and he was my babysitter.
“I think she wants this,” I said nervously to this strange man with a gun.
He nodded. The two of us and this giant painting would not fit horizontally in the kitchen corridor, so he stepped to the side.
I raced out the door, trying not to trip. The painting was blocking most of my view. I leaned my head towards my shoulder, I was able to see Patrice down the driveway.
She slowly turned around. Expressionless. I finally got her to look at me though.
“Here,” I said as a peace offering.
Without saying anything, she took it my from my hands. She seemed annoyed. I mean, the painting was huge. Maybe she didn’t want it or want it now. There were at least a dozen art pieces hanging on the wall. Why did I have to pick the heaviest one? A police officer then grabbed it from her. Nothing was in between us now. I longed for a hug. A quick touch. Anything. Some sort of a normal good bye. I knew my dad was awful to her. I didn’t do anything other than hide out in my room. I wanted to tell her I was sorry.
Patrice turned around and walked off. Not saying anything. She erased a decade of memories with her silent exit.
It hurt. It really, really hurt.
So I bit the inside of my cheek.
She left my dad with his dick in his hands… and me to bear the aftermath of it all.