I don’t know what hurts more, the fact that my father actually left my wife and I on the side of the road while he left, or the fact that he didn’t have enough trust and faith in me to hear my fears and take them into consideration. This morning we (my wife, father, niece and I) were supposed to head back to Texas where my mother, younger brother, and son are. Since August, my family and I have been traveling back and forth between Texas and Virginia trying to reestablish my relationship with my parents and birth family and have toyed with the idea of even moving to Texas to be closer to my birth family.

At first the biggest problem that I had was the fact that my younger brother Charles started referring to me as “it” and was openly hostile towards my son, my step-son and me. It led to me leaving Texas ahead of what I had planned to return to Virginia because of the hostility of the environment. My mother and father were really doing well, other than the fact that my father would slip up with pronouns and call me she rather than he.  On the way back to Virginia, my truck ended up breaking down, which led me to limp it back to Texas and have to get a ride home with my father who refused to just allow me to borrow his vehicle. He said that he was afraid the vehicle would break down on me along the way and leave me stranded. This is a car that is barely a year old and have less than 26,000 miles on it.

My father, niece and I returned to Virginia where we spent two weeks so that I could take care of what I needed to take care of in Virginia before heading back to Texas. During those two weeks the car that my father didn’t trust to make it to Virginia and back (his words) was in the shop and had a wheel hub replaced and a rotor (I believe it was). The shop said that the tires on the car were in bad shape and needed to be replaced before driving any further on them. Unfortunately, neither my father nor I have the nearly one thousand dollars to replace the tires on his car. They are specialty low profile tires and are extremely expensive, and because of the braking system on his Ford Focus, we can’t change out the rims to accommodate less expensive tires. As the time to leave got closer my father keep insisting that we could only drive the car if absolutely necessary because of the horrible condition of the tires.

Basically, we were going to travel back to Texas on a prayer.

We were about eighty miles down the road when both my wife and I heard a popping noise come from the rear driver’s side of the car followed by a high pitched ping. When I turned to look out the rear window in the car I saw a large nut (about the size of a lug nut) fly out of the back of the vehicle. Not only did my wife tell my father (who was driving) to pull over, but I also told him the same thing. It took him a good while to actually pull the car over and when we explained what happened he said that we would go into town and check the car out.

He pulled off the road on an entrance ramp for the highway, looked under the car and deemed it fine.

I begged my father not to keep going. I told him I would get the car towed to my house and we could borrow a vehicle or find another way to Texas because I didn’t feel that the car was safe. This car has been in the shop at least six times in the past month for different issues.

My father refused stating that he wasn’t going to go back or leave his car in Virginia. He wouldn’t hear anything that I had to say. I told him that I wasn’t going to ride in a car that I felt was dangerous and got out of the vehicle and started getting my duffle bag and computer bag from the car. I tried to get him to let me take my niece with me, but he refused and after a few moments he left, with her bawling her eyes out in the backseat of the car.

I think it was in that moment when I realized how little that I actually mattered. I was eighty miles from home with my wife and no transportation and he left us there. We are lucky enough to have a friend that drove the eighty miles to Appomattox so we weren’t stranded completely or had to hitchhike to get home.

I can’t begin to explain how badly that hurts that he just left.

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