She's my dad's "new wife," although not so new anymore because they have been married almost as long as I have (about a year less). He met her about 3-6 months after my mother committed suicide, although "popular speculation" states that he was cheating on her way before my mother died. I have no proof of this at all (neither do the people who say this, but they base it on how quickly my father bounced back), so for now, I am going to believe that they didn't know each other until early 1987.
She's a short woman with dark hair and big brown eyes. She speaks like a woman who is used to fine things, and I don't mean she's snooty or arrogant, just... not used to having to work very hard for a living and has always had enough money to at least get by, not to mention probably an excess to keep herself wrapped several walls deep away from having to deal with anything very stressful. I'm sure she'd balk, and mention her Oxford education, or the fact she managed the Frank Lloyd Wright house at Woodlawn Plantation, but she's typical McLean, and always has the "Oh my..." level of excluding her from trying to sympathize with the less fortunate. She probably doesn't see that, but most of my friends know they type: nice to your face, but their sympathy that you are a fellow human being is shallow and distant; almost as if they are speaking with children. Sadly, combined with her looks, she doesn't quite pull off the shallow thing well, and comes off like an older version of a spoiled sorority girl turned Stepford wife. I wouldn't say she's dumb... just not very deep.
Nicole has, on occasion, exposed herself and her shallow attitude. The famous one we talk about is when she went out with takayla one day, shortly after we were married, and we were very, very poor. My father never offered to help me out financially with anything growing up, and if it hadn't been for intervention on my mother's part, I would have never had toys, new clothes, or school supplies. His attitude was "get a job" ever since I can remember, telling me about how he grew up poor, and had to pay for everything himself, even as a kid (I later found out that this, of course, was mostly bullshit, but that's another rant). So Nicole makes some comment about loaning us a VHS Tape for something or another. "We don't have a VCR," said takayla. "Oh, well, go and buy one, then," said Nicole, as if takayla were too stupid to know they were sold just about anywhere. That's when takayla had to explain that we didn't have the $200 VCRs cost at the time. A flash of confusion passed over her eyes, a moment of panic, and then Nicole never really spoke to us again. Was she afraid she made a serious faux pas, and too embarrassed to see us again? Somehow it seems to me the concept of not having enough money, not even having $200, was so beyond speculation, well, we were hopeless. I used to see people like this in McLean, the kind that think that poor people just don't work hard enough. "You mean poor people don't have a retirment fund? Are they insane? How about a summer home? No? They only have one house? Why? Just go to the bank and get a mortgage, you don't have to have the cash right away. Oh, come on, don't be stubborn..."
The second time was pretty patronizing. See, I was never allowed back in my childhood home. Again. When I left in 1987, I was only in there once, and even though takayla was pregnant, and really had to use the bathroom, they wouldn't let her past the dining room near the entrance to the house. Rumors abounded that they were very sloppy people, and three maids quit (again, no proof), although at least the dining room seemed normal to me. I snuck to my old bedroom, and saw it was being used for storage, but there were no luights, so I couldn't see enough to maybe grab some stuff I left behind 3 years prior. I made many offers to takes some of the stuff from them. I told them they could watch me, to make sure I didn't take anything that was mine. One thing I had was a handmade wooden toy carpark, a gift from the Wicklands. It was huge, like 3" x 4" and 3" tall. Had a working crank elevator and lights. I wanted it for my son, and knew it was in the attic. "Oh, we lost everything in the attic," said Nicole. "There was a hole in the roof, and everything got eaten by squirells." That seemed like an... odd excuse. But I didn't have any choice but to believe them. When they moved, Nicole said she found some of my old things, and sent them to me. About 20% of them were some of my old things, and the rest were totally random things I NEVER owned. There were some broken Christmas ornaments and clothes that were apparently my baby clothes. I said, "I thought you said everything was eaten by squirrels? What happened to the garage?" Her reply was shocking. "Squirrels? You have a very fertile imagination..." Lady, keep track of your own lies, please? Jesus, tell me the truth! You tossed it, gave it to the poor, dropped it, I don't care. But don't change lies on me.
But Nicole has never been unkind to me in person. She has never tried to be a replacement for my mother, and for that, I am grateful. She has never really tried to be friends, either, and for that, I am... ambivalent. While she was dating my father, I spilled the beans about the suicide, the child abuse hearing, and how miserable a man he is. I felt it was my right to warn another human being of impending danger, and she may have confronted my father about it, but whether she did or not, she chose to ignore it or believe some lies my father soothed her with, and so she married a rich man, and all is well. I have no doubt they love each other. I also have no doubt they depend on one another, I think because Nicole feels safe with my father, and my father feels safe with Nicole. Sort of like he's her anchor, and she's his safety blanket. I can't really find any fault with that.
But it does puzzle me if she questions the fact she has a step-son she never sees. Or accepts that as something doesn't have to confront. She's also dealt with a man who never speaks to me, his only son, or his only grandson, his only brother, nor shows up to his own mother's funeral, etc.... I guess the niave part of me asks, "Doesn't she know that's wrong? Wouldn't that be a major warning the person she is with is a bad person?" I think she doesn't care. Maybe, like my mother, she pushed it out of her head, because if you don't think or question, you aren't plagued by moral doubt. Maybe I am asking her, "How can you be like this? How can you not see that this is wrong and DO something about it?" I am projecting again. And being a bit presumptuous. Why should she care? Why should she even get involved; other than moral pressure, what's in it for her? Nothing but headaches, I am sure.
So we'll probably only know each other through what we see on the Internet. She'll write her colums about San Diego living or whatever, and I'll write about my odd life. Then one day, my father will die. Maybe she'll tell me, and I'll show up to the funeral, of course.
What will we talk about?