With that, I knew he was gone. My father had left me and there was nothing I could do. As soon as he screamed at me for the pain I had brought upon him, I knew there was nothing I could do to make him realize what had really happened to him, to me, to us. Nothing would get to him now, and I knew that within a day he'd be dead. He'd blow his head off in some back alley on the other end of town, or he'd drink himself to a stupor and pick a fight with a group or bikers and have the shit beaten out of him, or maybe he'd do what he threatened to do 15 years ago, when he'd reached the 'end of his rope', and throw himself off the bridge. It was what he deserved for what he'd done, and at the same time the most horrible punishment I could've imagined.

He never had a chance to begin with. His entire life he'd been the underdog, the one always bet against to lose, and he'd always be shot down for what he thought was a damn good idea. Poor man. I don't blame him for what happened; then again, it wasn't his parents who really killed him, it was my mother. She was the perfect one: attractive, intelligent, a personality that, for all it's love and intentions, was the harshest, most brutal piece of beauty I've ever known. How he caught her eye I'll never know, or how she didn't gag at the thought of being his forever I can't tell you. But, that cold-hearted, bloodless, arrogant, caring, wonderful, evil, loving, and inhospitable bitch was the best teacher I ever had.

I don't know how she did it. It still amazes me that a human mind could be so cruel and malicious and amazing, and that it could be possessed by a woman who had the look of a Miss America winner, completed by blond highlights, fire-engine red fingernail polish, and blue-eyed bombshell of a body. I don't know how she came up with it, and for the life of me I'll never understand why she chose this cold vengeance on such an innocent as my father, though I doubt anyone is ever truly innocent.

The thing I marveled at is how exactly she managed to break him in two that first night. I remember it like a child remembers his very first birthday party. My father had had a long day at work, and all he wanted was to come home and put his arms around my mother and just feel her there. He just wanted a small show of affection that would tell him he still had a reason to wake up in the morning. But no, she couldn't let that happen. That'd be considerate and loving, which she wasn't in the mood for that night. She started lightly teasing him about how worn out work would make him and how he'd always be dead tired, and still seem to have energy to have sex with her a couple nights a week. Then she began to dig. She started bringing up his parents, and how his father got him the job 15 years ago when he was friends with the foreman of a local construction sight. She started bitching at him about expecting a more fulfilling life than being a haus frau to an overworked construction worker, and how he had kept her from reaching her true potential. But no, she had only begun. For hours, she hacked away at his soul, filling him with guilt, grief, sorrow, and the feeling that he really had no purpose in life other than to be a man-bitch to the foreman. She actually made him cry, and then she kicked him out of the house

He ran sobbing to his car, a completely defeated soul with nothing left to live for, not even a wife to call his own. He drove down to the bar and started drinking. At first it was just beer, since that was his M.O. at the time. He was well known down at the bar; all the waitresses referred to him as the 'draft beer regular'. It was all he drank, and he didn't even have to be at his seat before his drink was ready and waiting on the counter. But that night, after four beers, it wasn't enough. He couldn't bury his guilt, so he'd drown it. After all, pain can't swim upstream against bourbon, as his father once told him. So he drank, and he drank, and for four hours he punished his vulnerability with his friend Jack. The bartender would never have let him drive home, but he couldn't very well stay and overdose, so he had Her take him home. She was everything he needed in a woman at that time: receptive, willing to listen, and as sweet as humanly possible. She was the only person in his life who had showed him kindness without being forced to, and that made him far more drunk than J.D. ever could have. He even got so used to it from meeting Her everyday at lunchtimes and at the bar that he even began to expect it from my mother, that arrogant bastard.

My mother, when she found out about Her, decided that she needed to teach my father the true meaning of his existence, which, to her, was to make people feel better about themselves and to realize that no matter how down they get, there's always farther to fall than you might believe. She devised a plan to make him realize how worthless he truly was, and to make him live with the guilt of that plan for the rest of his life, no matter what the outcome was. I don't think she realized how well it would work, which was the only time I can ever remember her not planning out everything to the T. I guess she didn't think she needed to, but it probably would have saved her, if only for a little while.

The last time my father came home from the bar, my mother was ready. She had prepared all week for what she was going to say, and she anxiously counted down the minutes until she was able to take up the stage with my father again. When he came home this time, she became the victim, the one who had been wronged beyond all others. She told my father she knew about Her and that she couldn't believe he betrayed her trust. My father, along with his lifelong scars of being treaded on, folded under her pressure. He apologized over and over, and told her he would do anything to make her feel like the truly wonderful woman she was. She refused to be consoled, and once again tiraded him about how much he took her for granted and how lucky he was to have her. In short, she sent him on a guilt trip that made the first one seem like a two-bit run-through. She sent him speeding towards the bar sobbing like a schoolgirl, and feeling lower than low. That's where her mistake was.

She knew that he would stay all night long and meet with Her that night to try to solve his problems with Her. She decided to go up to the bar and catch him in action with Her, so she could play her roles again and have a divorce settlement. Then she had a better idea. She thought that if she waited until he left completely drunk, she could provoke him into hitting her or backing into her with his car, which would serve her vengeance much better than a glimpse of him basking in Her compassion. What she didn't consider was that She wasn't there that night, and he had no one to drive him home, so he tried to drive himself. Driving with Jack is about as terrifying as anything else in this world, but he didn't care; his only mission was to get back home, and damn the red lights and stop signs and all the other drivers, because they didn't have to deal with what he was going through, so they couldn't possibly know why he was rushing. But, there was one motorist who wasn't content to get out of his way. As he barreled down the wrong side of the road, this particular driver held firm, and wouldn't swerve to avoid being hit, thinking that this crazy drunk would just swerve again and veer out of the way. That was my mother's first, if only, complete misunderstanding of my father. When he gets his mind set to something, he'll do it no matter what, and damn the cost. So when his big truck's wheels crushed her car like an aluminum cup, his only thoughts were of his wife and child waiting for him in his house, ready to receive him as the wonderful man he was.

In truth, her plan worked. He'd lived with the guilt that he killed beautiful, intellectual wife in a haze of booze and misconceptions. He'd never forget it, and wouldn't ever let me live it down. 'If only you hadn't made me do it,' he once said to me. As if it was my fault I showed him that not all people are sadistic self-centered bastards who use people like him to feed their own self-image. No, I showed him that he could have a wonderful life without her, just the two of us somewhere far from this nobody town. But he wouldn't listen. He was too attached to my mother, which is why I told her she should go after him that last night he went to the bar. That was 15 years ago, and he still won't forgive me for it. He had even yelled at me when I said that it was 15 years ago today that his new life had begun, and he slammed the door in my face.