"Hey Dad" Don said as he touched him gently on the shoulder. Alan was sitting outside on the patio finishing up his lunch. It was a mild and breezy day, not a cloud in the sky. A day a person would find any excuse just to be outdoors.
"Hi Donny" Alan said looking up a little surprised to see his older son in the middle of a work day "Charlies not home right" Don asked already knowing his brothers schedule. "No you just missed him he has a lecture in half an hour"
"Hungry Donny?" Alan said"I can make you a sandwich if you want" "No thanks Dad I need to talk to you about something" "Well you can eat and talk at the same time you know its done quite often" Alan chuckled as he spoke.
But it was an uneasy laugh as he knew Don had something on his mind and he kind of suspected what it might be. "OK tell me Donny its got to be something important or something you really need to get off your chest to stop by in the middle of a work day "
"Dad" Don said feeling his way on how to start this conversation."I talked with Charlie and he mentioned something about you and Mom and a rough patch in your marriage " It was exactly what Alan was afraid he would bring up.
"Yes" Alan said " I explained all about it to Charlie. It was a rough time but we worked throught it. I know it was somewhat of a shock to Charlie but it happens in marriages and everything ended up fine. Me and your mom loved each other. And thats what saw us through it"
"Charlie mentioned you saying something about "irrational jealousy" Don continued not letting the subject be dropped "He was afraid to ask then and its been bothering him and I'm kind of wondering what you meant by it too. Did you suspect mom was having an affair? Or was it just your fears with her being away"
Alan was quiet for a moment before he spoke "I wish I had never let that spill out when talking with your brother. I really did not mean to do that. And I would say this is between me and your mom but since I brought you into it by telling charlie I will tell you. But your brother is never to know! You can tell him it was my insecurities and wild imagination if you want. You will understand why Donafter I tell you"
"There was no affair or even the thought of it on your moms part". Alan then took in a deep breath andlet it out "I was jealous of your brother Charlie. Of all the time your mom spent away with him and not with me. I know its ridiculous and childish its why I called it irrational jealousy. I should call it insane to be jealous of my own son. But I was... I missed your mom and the separation between us was really hard. And I have such guilt about feeling like this ...ever since these feelings first arose.
Don was quietly listening staring at his feet. He had never heard his father being quite so candid about his feelings. And it made Don a little uncomfortable. But not as uncomfortable as what his father said next.
" Don the longer your mother was away from me along with the money problems the more frustrated and angrier I got with the situation. It was a situation that was necessary and no one was to blame especially Charlie. But I found myself blaming him and worse than that I thought things about your brother I will never be able to forgive myself for. Not that there is a fraction of truth in them. But I am so ashamed that these things could have ever entered my mind. And I have never spoken of them to anyone not even your Mom.
Don finally looked up at his Dad for a moment. "What things? Don said wanting to know and not wanting to know both at one time.
Alan felt it was wrong to burden Don with this but he felt he hadlost control to stop it. It was as if his body needed to cleanse himself of these horrible thoughts by saying them out loud. Perhaps in some unconscious way Alan thought it would ease him somehow of the guilt and shame that had been buried insdie him for so many years
With his voice almost breaking with emotion he told Don. "I was so angry at Charlie for being born the way he is. I wished so hard he was born a normal child like you Donny" "At my worse" Alan said choking back tears "I wished he was never born".
Tears were welling up in Dons eyes for his Dad but also for his little brother. Daring to raise his head a little to look at his Dad Don noticed a pair of familar sneakers in the doorway to the house. "Charlie" he whispered in disbelief.
Don shaking slightly looked straight towards the doorway and stared right into his brother eyes and knew he had heard at least a part of this conversation... the worst part. Charlie was frozen in place with pain and shock on his face and all he could manage to say was "I ...I forgot some of my notes and I...um...