Taking his place

Jacob Pruitt, Opinion Editor

My mom told me she was going out of town for the weekend with some friends from work. She wouldn’t be back until Sunday night. I asked her if dad was going with her.

I didn’t suspect anything.

I was just concerned with getting the house to myself the whole weekend.

She kept up her act as she explained that he wasn’t going with her, and he should be back by the time I got home from work.

I left for Planet Sub just like every other day.

Little did I know my dad had told my mom he wanted a divorce, or that all of his clothes were already packed.

I’m glad I didn’t know, because working at Planet Sub sucks enough already.

I got home at 9:20 p.m., with a whopping $3 tip in my wallet. I was ready for a long night out.

Until I saw my mom crying on my aunt’s shoulder.

I honestly don’t know why I immediately thought of him.

“Mom, where is Dad?”

She burst into renewed tears, forcing my aunt to explain.

There was no weekend trip. My mom just left the house to drive to Manhattan and tell my brother Jordan everything, giving my dad the opportunity to tell me what was happening.

But he never showed up, leaving it up to my mom, who had to drive all the way back from Manhattan to tell me.

The only way I can describe the way I felt is disoriented. I wasn’t sure of too much anymore — even too sure of my future.

My dad was the main source of income for the family.

I wasn’t sure if I could go to college anymore, keep my truck insured or even keep paying for my phone.

Not going to college was never an option for me. It was simply a fact from my childhood on: I was going to get a college degree.

I certainly don’t have the GPA to get a full-ride scholarship, and I was worried I would have to take out a large amount of student loans just to pay for my school.

Since then, my dad has confirmed he will help me out financially for the next few years.

But the trust between us had already been broken.

This all happened shortly before school started this year.

I have only spoken to him once since my mom broke the news.

And, let me tell you, it was a novel experience.

He sat in the senior lot of BVHS for an hour and a half just to see me.

I wasn’t prepared to talk to him.

Harsh words were said, mostly by me, none of it school appropriate.

I’ve joked recently about being a one-man support group for my mother, now that things are going better for her.

But it’s true.

Her family all lives in California. My brother attends K-State. I’m the only one to help her through this — and I’m 17. Like I know what I’m talking about.

But that’s the position I was in after the divorce.

The best part of this, clichè as it may be, has been the support from my friends.

Every single one of them has been nothing but supportive.

They get me out of the house and keep me from thinking about it.

I try not to talk about this to people who haven’t had their parents get divorced. It’s not that they don’t care. They just don’t understand.

Most of them don’t really understand what it is like to go for months on end without seeing a parent, to pass messages between your mom and dad like you’re in sixth grade again, to park in the driveway and sit in your car for an extra ten minutes because you know nothing good is waiting for you inside and you have to prepare yourself just to walk inside your own house.

If anything, this whole experience has taught me to think things through.

I see now how bad it can be to just jump into things.

You have to always look for the repercussions of your actions.

You can’t always walk away when things get challenging.

Just work at it. You might find something rewarding that way.