When I was 5 years old my dad walked out on us, people thought I was too young to understand what was going but I was a kid not blind. It was obvious that I woke up to dad being more absent than usual, he wasn't at the table for breakfast or dinner and he wasn't there to tuck me in at night.
For a long time I blamed my mom for my dad leaving and because of that we never really got along. Things escalated when she got remarried when I was 12. I hated John, he honestly wasn't a bad guy now that I think about it but I just couldn't see him as anything other than the man who stole my mother and took my dad's place.
As you can guess, family dinners were awkward, holidays were dysfunctional and any time we went out ended in an argument.
I'm 19 now going to college so I was away from home most days until the holidays. This holiday I’m sure would be no different from the last few years, quite dinners and heated conversations. My mom, Susan she really tried her best to make the holidays fun but every time I go home I turn into that little boy who his father walked out on when he was young.
This year I had gotten a new roommate, Nate was his name. He wasn’t really a talker but I tried to keep the peace best I could and not bring any tension since we shared a dorm. Speaking of Nate he was coming back from the laundry mat now.
I looked up from my bed when he came into the room, he had sandy blonde hair and ocean blue eyes, and basically he was every girls dream guy. I on the other hand had no luck with girls; I guess a red head with freckles was not their idea of Mr. Perfect.
“Hey Nate do you have any plans for the holiday?” I said trying to get his attention.
“Uh no, not really”, he replied.
“What, aren’t you going home to see your family, I can’t stand mine let me tell you,” I laughed.
As soon as I said those words it was like he completely changed into another person. His face became void and free from any emotion.
“Hey man, are you ok? You look like you just seen a ghost.”
“I think you should mind your own business George.”
“Hey whoa, easy I was just asking a simple question, no need to hulk out on me man.”
“You have no idea do you, you’re so spoil and privilege, not everyone has a family or place to go home to, so how about you just shut your mouth.”
I could see that he was trying really hard not to cry but his eyes were already misty and red, I felt horrible I had no idea of his situation.
“Hey,” I said getting up from my bed to get closer to him.
“I’m sorry Nate, I had no idea, and I didn’t mean to bring up your past man.”
“Don’t worry,” he chuckled. "I totally overreacted."
“Ah do you maybe want to talk about it?” I asked nervously scratching the back of my head, like what was I supposed to say.
“Talk about what, the fact that my dad walked out on us when I was 10 and then my mom killed herself because she couldn’t handle the fact that she was a single mom or should we talk about the fact that I was bounced from home to home like a used toy because no one wanted me.”
Now I felt really stupid because of my dumb questions I had this guy crying on his bed and I had no idea how to fix it.
“Hey dude, don’t cry,” I said patting him on the back.
I felt very uncomfortable; I mean here I was sitting on his bunk patting him on the back while he cried on my shoulder. This is what I get for trying to have a conversation I guess.
“Hey man, I know how you feel my dad walked out on us when I was little too,” I said trying to cheer him up.
“I’m sure your mother didn’t kill herself though, did she?”
“Well, no she didn’t,” I mumbled ashamed.
“Let me guess, she got remarried and you guys lived happy ever after!” he shouted.
“Hey it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for me either,” I defended.
“At least you had someone dude, you shouldn’t take that for granted.”
“Yeah I guess you’re right,” I said slumping my shoulders.
“You think I wouldn’t be glad to have a step-dad, maybe them my mom would not have killed herself.”
“I’m sorry about your mom Nate; no one should every go through that.”
“Thanks,” he tried to smile.
“Hey I got an idea?”
“Why don’t you come home for the holidays with me, I don’t know it could be fun,” I tried.
“Are you sure? He asked looking hopeful.
“I mean why not, my mom’s always bugging me that I never bring friends over and I mean John’s not that bad.”
“Ok, yeah sure,” he smiled.
“Well I leave a 5 so you maybe want to pack at back,” I mentioned.
“Yeah ok, let me go get the rest of my laundry,” he said running out the room.
As soon as he left the room I fell on my bed in relief, I think I should definitely be a therapist after defusing that situation so quickly. Nate was right though I had taken my mom and John for granted. They won’t be around forever the least I could do was make an effort to be civil, who knows maybe we all could get along.
“Did you fall asleep on me?” Nate said coming back in with his basket full of laundry.
“Nah man, just thinking,” I replied.
“Ok, do I need to bring anything like a gift or something?” he asked scratching the back of his neck.
“Nah, I didn’t get them anything either,” I laughed.
Maybe I should I thought to myself.
“You’re right let’s check out the campus gift shop on our way out.”
“I’ve never had a real Christmas before, I’m super excited,” Nate said to himself.
I guess I was kind of excited too, who knows maybe I might even go home more often.