Me and my mom in the mid-1990s. I know I was in college, because OH MY GOD I LOVED THAT SHIRT WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE!
Alright, I didn't just realize it. It's more like I realized it last Thursday. Here's what happened.
I started thinking about the one screenplay I've completed, which is mostly based on the things that actually happened when my dad walked out on PT (yes, that's my mom). I was going over some things and my mind landed on the fact that, in the screenplay, the dad character calls the mom character by a shortened version of her actual name. Which the mom happens to hate. This is directly taken from what really went on with my folks.
And then it hit me: No one who cares about someone would call that person by a name they dislike on purpose.
PT's name is Clementine. According to her, she's hated her name since birth. Because of that, no one ever calls her by it, she goes by Tina. But, the entire time I was growing up and right through their divorce, do you know what my dad called her? Clem.
I know what you're thinking, Well, that's not her full name. Here's the problem: PT HATED CLEM MUCH MORE THAN SHE HATED CLEMENTINE.
It was blatantly obvious. Every time my dad said her name, PT would cringe, grimace or roll her eyes a bit. There were even times when you could see her go from happy to disappointed when she heard his moniker for her.
What's even worse is that I can remember PT telling him, on many occasions when I was little, that she didn't want to be called Clem. But, what did he do? He kept right on calling her Clem.
What kind of person does this? Only an arrogant, selfish, uncaring DICK...That's who. How could I not have put this (as far as I'm concerned) critical bit of info together as evidence of his DICKness sooner?
Maybe it's one of those things where I was too young and too close to it. I knew PT hated what he called her and that it sucked that he did it anyway, but I had to get to 37 years old without having any contact with the man for 16 years to really piece together what his denial of her simple request meant: I DON'T THINK HE EVER CARED ABOUT HER. NOT REALLY.
And that makes me so sad for my mom, who spent 22 years in a marriage where she wasn't truly valued. I suppose the little things do matter a lot.
Dammit...now I'm crying.