Wayne could still remember the exact moment that he heard his father tell him, ‘that he was good for nothing and never had been and never would be’ it was at his birthday party when he turned seventeen.
His father had always been difficult, drunk, and too loud, in all his years of school he only had two friends who ever came to his house and they only once or twice. His mother had insisted on giving him a birthday party and while they had invited about ten people only six showed up, he was surprised for that was four more friends than he had. She had grilled hamburger in the backyard, made homemade ice cream and put up a boom box so they could play music.
About the time they had finished their meal, eaten the cake covered in ice cream his dad had come through the door shouting “What is going on around here, who do those cars out front belong to and who is playing that loud music?”
His mother had tried to run interference but his father had shoved her aside and walking into his faced began to shout the words of no good, and who did he thing he was and who were these freaky kids.
The friends began to move away when they saw his father slap him, and each of them managed to leave before the full storm raged. He had never felt so bad, so discouraged, so humiliated, and so ashamed of his father and sorry for his mother. After the storm raged, his mother was hit and the grill turned over in the yard his father went to his room in his drunken state telling him to clean up the mess and calling for his mother to come upstairs. He had cleaned up the mess, packed a few things he needed and wanted, took the $300 dollars that he had saved and left.
After a lot of nights on the road, under bridges, in camps of the homeless, he had made it to a distant uncle’s house and they allowed him to stay with them until he enlisted in the Army.
After six years of hard work in the army, doing his job taking classes and saving all the money he could he got out of the army and in two years had completed college.
The next ten years found him hard at work in a small upcoming company in New Orleans. They supplied packages of items that were needed by the workers on the oil rigs in the gulf and soon found a very profitable business. Over the sixteen years he had called his mother, hung up when his father answered and talked briefly when he could with his mother. Life at home was the same she said, his father had never mentioned his name and had never changed his ways.
He received a call from his mother telling him that his father was in the hospital dying, so without telling her he flew back to Memphis hoping that a final moment might bring some peace. It didn’t, his father had died soon after his mother had called and the storm of Wentworth Circle was over.
He begged his mother to come and live with him but she had a few friends in the community and the old house was paid for and all the investment she had. Wayne walked into the backyard, remembered that night eighteen years ago and wept. Before he left he arranged for all the repairs to be made to the house, got his mother a new car and promised to stay in touch. For the next thirty years she received three calls a week, a visit each month and a nice check from her ‘no good son’, and even flew in a plane to New Orleans a few times to visit.
After her funeral he placed a marker that covered both her grave and his dad’s for no one had bother to do so in all of those years. He wept as he stood and looked at those two markers and realized that while they looked so much alike, they stood for so much that was different in his heart. In love he wept for his mother, in heartache he wept for his father.