Y'all probably noticed that Charlie's been missing from my posts for awhile. He's been missing from my life for about that long, too. I wanted to tell you about it before now but...well, some things are easy to write about, and some things are not.
His arrest last May on felony DWI charges changed everything. It shattered forever my belief (in spite of ample evidence to the contrary) that he was working on bettering himself, it drove a considerable wedge between my police officer son and me, and it turned Charlie into a bitter recluse who blamed everyone but himself for his troubles. We were both holding onto a lot of simmering anger that occasionally bubbled over into screaming matches in which I called him stupid and he called me snooty. We were both right: getting arrested for drunk driving for the fifth time is incredibly stupid; saying "I am better than you" when a guy accuses you of snootiness proves his point. And so that gulf between us widened until, eventually, we just couldn't cross it any more...or maybe we stopped wanting to. We quit talking at all sometime in January. I found out through the small-town grapevine that he's in prison now doing a 120-day sentence, so his lawyer must have been successful in pleading down the charges to a lesser felony.
It does occur to me that railing at someone for not learning from his mistakes while simultaneously making the same error is the worst kind of hypocrisy. The last three men I've been involved with have been alcoholics. That is more than coincidence; that's intentional. I have a pretty good idea of why I pick drunkards. Having had my heart ripped out and stomped on in the worst way about three decades ago, I'm now careful not to give it to anyone who might actually take care of it because the risk is too great, so I pick men who I know are not worthy of my affection, only pretend to give them my heart while actually keeping it safely tucked away untouched, and then when they treat me badly I get the satisfaction of knowing I was right all along. (That was difficult to admit.)
The other, simpler, thing at work here is that I like to fix what's broken. That explains healthy decisions, like buying an old house and being an emergency services dispatcher, and also not-so-healthy decisions, like men. The trick seems to be recognizing what I can fix and what I cannot. I'm better at that when it comes to houses, so I'll stick with that for awhile.