The moments when good come with the bad. However the bad is perceived bad as a whole, but then it could make you see and feel a complete different prospective.
Mum said it was ok for this man to come inside. “Hello you must be Terrie?” he then turns to me, “and you must be Philip?” Terrie had the same look on her face when all we were thinking to ourselves was ‘how does this guy know our names?’ Mum then introduced him to us as her friend Fred. He didn’t stay long however at the end Fred and my Mum made a date to have dinner on the weekend. As he said his goodbyes, I somewhat had a feeling we would be seeing more of this man in the near future.
We started asking mum all sorts of question, “where did you meet him? Who is he? Why did he ask you out for dinner?” The story she told us is still one unbelievable fate. She went on explaining that they knew each other in their teenage years. They dated for a while but it didn’t seem to work out so they split. Eventually Mum moved on with Dad and had us kids etc. Mum for many years had thought Fred was actually dead, she read it in the news-paper. Although what she read was correct, it was actually Fred’s Father Fred. Frederick’s father was Frederick and his Father was Frederick and so on. I can still imagine Mum’s reaction after seeing him for the first time since he passed away.
Mum started going out on dates and really enjoying his company. Fred was a real gentleman and I was so happy for Mum, I could tell she was having fun and being happy herself. They began to get closer and closer until one day Fred moved in with us. I was so over the moon. Not only for mum’s sake, but for mine as well. For the first time in six years another male would be in the house.
Fred would do everything, he would cook and clean, do all the handyman work around the place and I could see Mum was genuinely happy for the first time in a long time. He would like to have a beer, he would sit at the end of the kitchen table playing his patience the card game and listening to some good old country and western. I would at many times sit at the table and he would tell me stories of when he and his mate Bluey was young. On random nights he would turn the music up, sing, laugh, speak loud, dance. At this time it was a great vibe in the house.
Gradually Fred started getting a lot more comfortable around the house and started to be more of an authority figure than the fun man. For me at the time it was ok, I was taught to respect your elders so I did everything he said or even understood why I was getting in trouble for. I knew I was in the wrong. So if Fred sent me to my room or grounded me, I would obey his orders. Although I was to scared to stuff up anyway and I thought I had the feeling of Fred liking me. However my sisters, especially Terrie had a problem with the orders coming from Fred. It was common to hear, “you can’t tell me what to do! you’re not my father,” coming from the girl’s mouth. Terrie more so than Kelly. There were times he and Terrie would fight in the bedroom, and it got pretty loud. I never got to see what was happening behind the bedroom door. At this stage I didn’t care what was happening. To me all that mattered at the time was that Fred liked me, and Terrie was getting shut down. It felt as though Fred was on my side.Months went by, I was in a good place. Terrie certainly stopped picking on me and using me since she only had time to argue and fight Fred off. Terrie got a boyfriend so she ended up being out a lot she was 17 at the time.
Mum came home one day and said we all need to get together and have a talk. So all of us, me, Kelly, Terrie, Mum and Fred all sat down at the kitchen table. I didn’t know what to expect but I was interested to know what was happening. They told us that Mum had been to the doctors and that she is pregnant. I really can’t remember the other two siblings reaction as I was busting with happiness. I remember jumping up and down, Just for the thought of Having someone younger than myself. The whole time all I remember thinking and wishing for was a brother. The thought of that would have balanced things out. Not long at all after that, Terrie announced she was also pregnant. It freak me out over the next nine months seeing my mother and my sister looking so, so, pregnant.
Through out the pregnancy, we all noticed Fred becoming more controlling of us kids. It was like he knew his own blood was on the way. There were times he wouldn’t let us near mum because we might hurt her and lock himself and Mum in a room so us kids couldn’t get in there. All questions had to be put forward to him and he had the final word. I could see mum struggle with this, but at this stage, she was heavily pregnant at 40. She didn’t have the energy to argue.
Because mum and my sister were both having kids, Terrie went to live with her boyfriends parents house. I was a little confused, I was getting abandoned from the person who I didn’t care about. It felt so because she was the only one the seemed to somewhat stand up to him. To Fred having Terrie out of the picture gave him more power to ground control. Kelly soon learnt she needed to step up and she did. I felt safe with Kel. I had no guts or courage to stand up to anyone let alone Fred. I still could not tell you what was happening behind the doors when Kelly was standing up to him. It got the point where our only option was to ask our Dad if we could live with him after seven years.
Dad seemed to enjoy having us there.. He had his boy, and then someone to clean and cook for him. I missed and worried about mum a lot. It didn’t feel right being at Dads. Dont get me wrong I was at first very excited. Dad and I had a better relationship than what he had with the girls. He just never seemed to be home. He would start getting angry at Kelly if the food she cooked him wasnt right, or the house wasnt clean enough. He came home one night in his usual drunken state and told Kelly her dinner was shit. I remember him saying that he couldn’t handle us kids being there anymore. He then organised with mum to take us back. I really did not know what the hell was happening, whether I was coming or going. By moving back with mum, I don’t know who was more happy; Mum or Dad. I know I was happy being back with Mum. What ever it was that actually happened I saw it got Kelly real upset.
We arrived back to mum’s house and they wanted a family meeting, it was not long until mum was going to give birth. Fred wanted to tell us that we would need to help out more when the baby comes blah blah. I kinda zoned out to be honest. Until I heard Kelly ask Fred if we could start calling him Dad. I looked at her trying to get her attention to show my disapproving face. I know Dad didn’t want us to live with him but Dad was still my Dad. I never thought about having two. Although Fred looked after us kids better than our own, he still wasnt my father. He asked me what I thought about it and I said that I’m not sure. He then said, “that’s ok, I’m happy for you to call me Dad.” Kelly said in return, “thanks DAD.” I did call him Dad only a handful of times to see how it would feel, I stuck with calling him Fred. Kelly was quite happy calling him Dad there for a while but time certainly changed that..
Things were ok back at Mum’s for a while. She was mega pregnant and housebound apart from the odd disagreement with Fred, it seemed that Kelly’s request somehow gave him some sort of nice high and became a little less demanding. Well so we thought….
Mum was in hospital after giving birth, while Fred had his friends over to celebrate. After being inside for sometime they moved out to the front yard. They were talking loud, laughing and carrying on. It seemed to be a good night. It was around 7 or 8pm, I was at the kitchen table playing cards by myself and Kelly was in the lounge room doing her homework. Out of nowhere Fred came inside and switched the lounge room light off only to go back outside and laugh with his friends. Kelly got back up and turned it back on. Within seconds Fred came back in and switched off. He walked outside and I heard him say to his friends, “the smart little bitch.” Of course Kelly got back up to switch it on. I had a feeling that she should have just left it off. Fred came barging through the front door and started yelling at Kelly in her face. Kelly was trying to tell him that she is doing homework and needs the light on. He grab her and she went to defend herself by slapping her hands around. He then put her up against the wall. I then came to realisation that this must be what was happening behind the door when him and Terrie would fight. While this was happening I heard one of his drunk friends yell out “get her lammy!!” Which edged him on. I remember the raised voices and the screaming coming from my sister. I was in so much shock I could not even move let alone go help my sister. I felt like such a loser, a pussy. She managed to get away, she got on her bike and rode away. Fred followed her out the front yelling out bitch, and never to come back. Still in the same spot frozen Fred comes in and tells me to get in my room. I couldn’t move, he ended up dragging me by my arm and shut me in my room. I felt truly scared and alone.
Around an hour later, he yelled out to me to come outside. “I’m sorry you had to see that, but she was misbehaving.” I didn’t say anything. Him and his mates were pissed. Fred told me to get in the car they were going for a drive. I knew I wasnt meant to get in the car with drunk drivers after dad driving me drunk to get pizza without telling mum. Put it this way, when we got home there was no pizza in the box. However after the nights events, I wasnt going to argue and just went and sat in the back. Fred and one other mate jumped in. The whole way I remember holding on for dear life. burnout, Doughnuts, almost crashing into trees, speeding all over the road. I was so scared I had my eyes shut most of the way. Looking back now, Fred was being this way because Mum and his son will be home tomorrow so he was using this night to be real irresponsible…. I knew two things for certain. 1, mum would be home tomorrow and things would be ok. And 2, that night I truly feared for my life.
Because Fred told us we weren’t allowed to go see mum at the hospital, when she came home that next day I was introduced to my very own brother. Little Frederick. I keep forgetting to ask him if he has a boy ,would he call him Frederick? I couldn’t believe it, finally I was no longer the only boy in the family, of course not realising at that moment that we had this huge 11 year gap between us…….
To Be Continued………