If you read part one of ‘The Gift’: My Marlin 30-30 Rifle. I was thirteen-years-old. My worry and stress levels have become more inflamed since then. Almost two years have passed, and now I will be entering my fifteenth birthday. While you read, notice how my behavior escalates because of the confusion and situation my mother introduced into our family. However, in this two-year slice of my life. Many other incidents occurred to fuel my anger. Not because I was a bad person. I just could not understand why all this drama was happening. In this story, I will continue to focus on this one incident, but also include a little background history. Part 1
“Memoirs are the backstairs of history.” ~ George Meredith
‘UNDER PRESSURE’: MY MARLIN 30-30 RIFLE – Part II
Looking back, during my elementary school years, I would anticipate 3 p.m. with great apprehension. That’s when school let out. My gut would churn worried about going home to find a crooked car in the driveway. The anticipation of the unknown would almost paralyze me every day. Even into my junior high and high school years, it continued.
I remember a time when I turned nine years old; the stress became worse. My little sister was born November of 1969. I feared for my infant sisters life.I was afraid to go to school and leave her, but unfortunately, I had to go. While at school I feared my mother dropping my infant sister.
With each passing day, the anger within myself was building like a volcano ready to explode. I loved my mom, but I had no knowledge of what addictions could do or how they affected others around them. How was I to know what normal was? To me, I was born – poof, here I am. I did not know any different. By the time I reached fifteen, I had dabbled in limited amounts of drinking various alcohol products. I did not know it at the time, but I was using it to take the edge off my stress. I always told myself I wouldn’t use drinking as a crutch. I just do this for fun with my friends. That was my mentality. I’m ashamed to admit it, but smoking weed was widespread.
During the next two years, 1973 to 1975. My mom’s drinking issue accelerated with more severity, and with each passing year into blackouts, missing time and no memory of her actions the day after or her unplanned, random nights out. Mom’s drinking caused a lot of stress in the family. My grandparents would try to cover up her mistakes by sneaking into our home while no one was there to wash dishes, clothes, and straighten the house up, giving all the credit to my mother. Honestly, sometimes I tried to cover. I didn’t want to see our family fall apart. Over that two year period, I would come home for from school or my part time job and find some pretty shady looking characters in our house before my dad made it home from work, not often, but often enough to remember.
THE MYSTERY PHONE CALLS
During the time frame of November 1974 and November 1975. We started to receive random phone calls to the house. In the beginning, there was not a pattern, so I did not think much of it. As the months progressed, I began to notice a pattern when the phone rang. If I, dad, or my little sister would answer the phone. The person at the other end would hang up. However, when my mom answered the telephone (mounted on the kitchen wall), a conversation ensued. So when I heard the phone ring, I would answer it and hold it to my ear until the other person hung up. At this point, I became suspicious of my mother. Of course, every time the phone rang, I cringed. Nobody took notice of this for some time. I did not know what to do. I just held it in and stayed silent. One afternoon, my mom answered the phone. I was in the basement working on my homework from school. The kitchen was right above me. I overheard her talking and referring to the person as Harry. So I tried to listen in on her conversation but did not gain much information. After mom finished speaking to the person. I walked upstairs. I asked,”Hey, mom, who was on the phone?” She replied, “Just a friend.” I continued, “Where did you meet your friend?” I could tell she was getting irritated with me. She would say, “while I was out.” I said, “out where?” At this point, she’s yelling at me, “None of your damn business!” she would shout. “does dad know about your friend?” I would ask. “LEAVE…NOW!” she screamed, gritting and showing her teeth in frustration.
One day I come home from school. I usually stayed at the house if I did not have to be at my part-time job just to make sure my sister made it home safe. I would enter into the kitchen from the back door. The phone rings, I pick it up. Nothing! Silence at the other end. So I say, “Harry, I know it’s you!” Followed by some harsh, repetitive explicit remarks coming from my mouth. I hear CLICK. I slam the phone back onto the receiver all most shattering it to pieces where it hung on the wall. I was furious, to say the least.
THE SITUATION INTENSIFIES
The problem was. I was not sure it was Harry calling. I did not have actual evidence it was him. I continued my silence. I did not know what to do. I was afraid to go to my father. What was I going to say? “Dad, I think mom is seeing another guy.” I couldn’t even comprehend such thought. Drama like this only happens on TV, I would think to myself. I did not have the courage to tell him. I did not want to be the one to tell my dad what was going on. Besides, did he know? I would ask myself. I felt embarrassed to talk to anyone for that matter.
September and October of 1975 arrives, I became so frustrated about what was happening. I became very disrespectful towards my mother. I’m sure my father took notice of my hostile behavior towards her. One evening we were sitting at the kitchen table having dinner. The phone rings. I jump to intercept my mom reaching for the phone. I get to it before she does. I listen, absolute silence! I slam the phone to the wall. I would turn and yell at my mom while standing in the kitchen. I would say, “mom! What is going on? Why is this happening? Don’t you care about any of us?” She would give me an answer of, “You don’t understand.” I would beg her to explain to me so I could understand. But it was futile. The anger would rage out of me to the point of ramming my fist through the drywall in the kitchen. I would lose control of myself. My dad would try to calm me to no avail. Dad had no idea what was going on. I could see the perplexity on his face. He couldn’t figure out why I was so mad. I could not properly channel my energy in a healthy way. I just did not know how too. My little sister would start crying frantically out of confusion. Poor dad patched a lot of holes in that time frame. So, I ran out of the house blurting out, “mom is seeing some guy named Harry!” I cracked under pressure. The only thing I heard while leaving was my father asking my mother to explain what my rant meant. Somehow mom managed to lie her way out of it because nothing changed, but at least dad knew that Harry was real. I think?
THE GIG IS UP
During the time span of November 1974 to November 1975, my mom who was thirty-six years old befriended this guy named Harry. I have to think she met him while my father and I were on a hunting trip November of 1974. It would only make sense because my mother could easily drop my sister off at her parents and just use the ole “gotta go to the store” excuse.
Harry was much older than her. I think he was in his early sixties. Of course when my mother thought of a reason to leave the house. She would say we need bread or milk and then leave for extended periods of time to Ronde-Vu with her friend. My poor dad put up with this craziness until around 1979. He was from an era that took his marital vows seriously. This friendship of my mother’s turned into a nightmare for my family. I found out the two met in a bar. Harry became infatuated with my mom. He thought nothing about his impact on us nor did he care. Harry was on a mission to woo my mom from our family. He obsessed over my mother’s Hungarian accent. I must admit, my mom was a beautiful woman. But come on! She should know better. They both should, so I thought! Alcohol was the main ingredient for disaster in this circumstance. Harry had a drinking problem, a horrifyingly wicked one. Mind you, I have never met him face to face at this point. I only heard silence when he called on the telephone, and by name when I found out from my mother’s lips. I never visually saw him. When I finally meet him. It wasn’t under the most social circumstance.
PLANNING A TRIP
Now, we were into November 1975. Our deer hunting trip right around the corner along with my fifteenth birthday and we have this stupid mess on our hands!
Everything was spiraling out of control. We were at a loss of what to do. I shared my frustration with my dad. I was getting angry at him for not making this situation go away. How could he? He did not know what to do either. We sought console from selected relatives or friends of the family who we shared our secret. They were at a loss for words nor could they offer any guidance. Our church pastor tried reaching out to mom and us with no useful help at all. We were willing, but mom thought she did not have a problem. She was completely irrational. She denied having any issues.
So here we are, two years had passed from my thirteenth birthday. I had another one coming up on the tenth. I was about to turn fifteen years old. My dad had planned on taking our third deer hunting trip together. This time for ten whole days. The thought of it was exciting. We would go five days early to do some scouting before opening day, then hunt for five days. Our goal was to create a strategic plan to find the best location to place ourselves. Even with all the excitement, I tried to enjoy it, and yet I felt sad. I hated leaving my sister for any length of time. I was always worried sick about where my mom would end up with my sister. The three of us always felt this stress – day in and day out for years.
My father grieved and was torn about going on our trip, yet he felt somewhat safe leaving home, knowing he could call using a payphone to communicate with my mother and grandparents every night. If something should go wrong, we could leave and go home. I think Dad took me on these trips as a way of having quality time with me. He wasn’t able to afford me much attention during the year; understandably so. I think we both needed a break, but it was so hard to relax; especially with a nut job on the loose. So it was decided, we would go November 10th, on my birthday, 7 am!
My bedroom was down in the basement now. My grandparents were in their new home. So I took ownership of the space downstairs. Besides, I did not care to hear the arguing that went on through the night anymore. One morning around 6 a.m., I heard a honking sound, two of them to be exact. I didn’t think much of it then. But I started to hear it every day around the same time. My dad usually left around 5:15 a.m. So I know it wasn’t him; besides, why would he honk his horn? About the fourth day, my annoyance and curiosity got the best of me. I leaped out of bed about ten minutes to six and ran upstairs to wait and look out our picture window in the living room. Low and behold, I see this car coming with his headlights on, traveling from east to west down my street. As the car approached our house, it honked twice as it passed! Who is this I thought! Then I thought to myself. COULD THIS BE HARRY? YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME! Remember, I have not met him yet.
My father was unaware of these morning stalking rituals. Harry got bolder with his antics. I’m pretty sure my mom knew about this. One morning I asked her, “Hey mom, did you hear any honking sounds today?” Her facial expression said it all. I caught her off guard and stunned her with my words. She said, “No, why?” I replied, “Just wondering.” Now, I am internally enraged at her lies, again! These morning honks were nothing more than acknowledgments of, “Hey, it’s me, thinking about you.” It would be equivalent to a text message saying “Morning, have a great day” in today’s culture.
The horn honking antics continued relentlessly every single day, and there I was perched on the living room chair looking out the window, stewing with rage over this idiot. So now we are eight days into November, two days before our hunting trip and my birthday.
One evening my family was sitting down at the kitchen table preparing to eat pizza. Next thing you know I hear, “Honk Honk.” I glanced up at the clock which was on the face of the oven. To my horror, it was 6 p.m. I shifted my head to my right where mom was sitting and saw that she had paused for a moment. Twenty minutes later, our telephone rings. I jump up to beat mom to the phone. I answered and heard nothing at the other end. It became a waiting game of pure silence. I said,” Harry,” then, I heard – “click.” I now slam the phone down on the receiver, on the kitchen wall. Then I turn around to face my mom and begin to point my finger at her and started to scream like a deranged mad man, furiously. I dropped an “F” bomb on her followed by calling her a whore then plunged my fist through the kitchen wall. My poor little sister begins crying hysterically again because of me. My words and loss of control of myself caught the attention of my father. Now I’m getting the look of death from him. He grabs me by my shirt collar and proceeds to drag me to the basement. He throws me against the wall and backs me into the corner like a trapped animal cussing me out for calling my mother names. He said, “I know you are mad, but you will never disrespect your mom like that again! Her actions are wrong, and I can’t explain what is happening. I’m doing my best to figure it out. As bad as her behavior is, SHE IS STILL YOUR MOTHER, GOT IT?” That was the only time I can remember my dad getting that mad at me. I’ve made him angry before, but never so fierce, and there he is, still defending my mom. I have to respect and honor him to even think like that.
NO RELIEF IN SIGHT
November ninth, the day after my blow up. The tormenting continues. My dad still has no idea about the stupid horn honking. It’s driving me insane! I can’t stand it anymore! I can’t even look my mom in the face. I’ve been going to school every day with this in my mind. I can’t focus on anything anymore. The obsession of the horn honking is a constant reminder before I go anywhere in the morning and then in the evening when I am home. I was too afraid to tell my dad what was going on. I had this horrible fear of my parents divorcing. I did not want that to happen. I buried my fury deep inside. I struggled to tame the beast within myself.
All day long in school I’m thinking there is no way we are going on our hunting trip. I’m sure dad will cancel it. To my surprise, he did not. I’m in the garage, and I hear dad’s truck arrive from work. He comes through the gate, and barks out,”start packing!” My father and I gathered our gear late afternoon to put into our pickup truck for our northern excursion. While doing so, it was silent between the two of us. Then I hear the infamous honking. My head slumps down a little in disgust. I try to ignore the moron driving bye. Finally, I tearfully said I was sorry to dad. He said, “Don’t apologize to me; you should be apologizing to your mother.” I’m thinking, not happening. I was internally beating myself up for my behavior. I looked like an absolute lunatic in front of my baby sister. What kind of example am I, I thought to myself. So that night I made it a point to assure my sister she wouldn’t see any more flare ups from me. We prayed and hugged each other goodnight. I told her I loved her and she said it back. I half-heartedly said goodnight to my mom. She wanted to hug me, but I would not let her. Dad said, “Get some sleep, Johnny. We are leaving around seven in the morning.” I nodded my head in response to his words.
Now I am lying in bed with this big secret circling in my mind. I have this horrific hatred in my heart for this man I never met. I’m supposed to have fun with my dad, but I feel utterly depressed. I’m leaving my baby sister behind unprotected. At least with my grandparents will be around, I won’t have to worry as much. I tried to rationalize and convince myself everything would be fine. However, I am positive while we are gone my mom will pawn my sister off on her parents so she can meet up with her home wrecking, villain friend Harry. I can’t stand him! I finally relaxed enough to fall asleep. I set my clock for 6 am.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I’M LOSING IT!
The morning of November 10th, my birthday, I wake up wondering what time it is. I open my eyes squinting to see my digitally lit, radio clock – it’s 5:30 am. Immediately I start thinking about Harry. I could feel my blood pressure rising my stomach in knots the anxiety consuming my body. My anger was escalating with every thought and breath. Here I’m asking myself when is this going to END! I can’t take this anymore. Something has to change. Someone has to stop this!
5:50 am flashes across my digital clock. I spring up out of bed frustrated over my thoughts. I begin to swing my fists into the air half-crying frantically because I was distraught. I dress in the dark. When I finished dressing, I stood dead in my tracks, paralyzed and emotionless. Right at that moment, I made a decision to end Harry’s life. In my young adolescent mind, this was my only viable option. I placed no thought into what consequence I would suffer if I carried out my plans.
My rifle was leaning against the wall at the bottom of the stairs in its case. It was placed there in preparation for my trip. I reached for it. I did not want to turn any lights on, so I used my flashlight. I unzipped my rifle carefully from its protective cover. I remember the heavy smell of gun oil from a previous cleaning as I removed my weapon from its case. I grabbed five .30 caliber rounds and proceeded to load all five into the magazine tube. Once loaded, I swung open the lever to mechanically insert a round into the chamber. With safety button ON, I was locked and loaded.
With rifle in hand, I maneuvered up the stairs towards the back door. Once I planted my feet on the landing, I paused and grabbed the doorknob to pull it open so I could make my way outdoors. I totally disregarded any worry of anything or anybody catching me. I just did not care. Once outside, I could feel the brisk cold air on my face. The air smelled so sweet when I inhaled deeply through my nose; perhaps it was because I was hypersensitive at the moment. The moon was only quarter lit in its phase cycle. It was still dark enough outside to be less conspicuous. These were seasonal shorter days. But, none of that mattered because there was a street light every two hundred feet apart on our block. One of the lamps on our neighbor’s front yard easement cast an enormous amount of light over my target area.
All of my human instincts come alive. I could feel the intensity of my hypervigilance. I was in an absolute pure state of focus, completely on autopilot. The adrenaline in my body was surging inside me. I had never felt so scared and exhilarated at the same time. I made my way along the east side of the driveway. Four-foot high shrubs were running parallel with it, so it made for good cover. At the end of the paved drive was a large oak tree, about four-foot diameter, but very tall, and I hid on the west side of the tree knowing full well what direction Harry travels. His pattern was always the same, from the east to west. My hope was he wasn’t going to change on me today. I stood and waited. I reached for the rifle safety button – click – OFF!
To be continued in Part three…
John C. Gyorki
John is currently an Electrical Skilled Tradesman for the University of Michigan. He has over 32 years experience in his field. He resides in Southern Michigan with his wife, Maryann. He spent four years in the Marine Corp as a 7011 (Aircraft Launch & Recovery Tech). After his tour, he completed a four-year Inside Wireman Electrical Apprenticeship with I.B.E.W. (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers).
At a very young age, John developed a love for reading and hoarding books and has continued to do so. It wasn’t uncommon to see him writing notes about something. John believes inspiration comes from an intentional reading of the word and following the Lord. He feels it encourages better living and thinking.
When John is not working, writing, and reading, he is trying his best at being a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend, and uncle. On occasion, you’ll see him making sausage and jerky or fermenting cabbage and pickles. He is always put in charge of making Hungarian Goulash over an open pit fire. No one else is allowed!
“My goal is to foster traditional family community and common sense thinking.”
“I enjoy reading books about personal life experiences. When people are at their lowest, broken point, and then making a victorious comeback.”
John C. Gyorki
John is new to the writing and blogging world
You can join him at ThinkerMe.com or email at john@ThinkerMe.com