It was a blustery February, I was eight at the time; but today was a pivotal turning point where my life went from rough to " bed of nails and spiders". You see, my father had his alcoholic tendencies and I never much did have very good luck, but the mistreatment that I received was mostly due to my own person poor decisions. My father might be more inclined to hit me when drunk, sure, but he was generally a gentle soul with nothing but love for me and whatever he was trying to accomplish. The task though that was currently being worked on was one I was quite frankly not a fan of; he was to be remarried that evening and the woman was horrendous. However at first glance all you would see was a moderately attractive young blonde woman with the most convincing mask that anyone could ever wear. She would address me like my old mother would, but her tongue was filled with venom and hatred for me; so when she said, "You shithead! Get your ass over here!" I was genuinely afraid.
Her name was Janice...
So I remember that evening being dressed in a small tuxedo my father splurged to get me and going about the dinner service confused beyond belief at the amount of people crammed into this small dining room. I would catch glimpses of my father, his eyes sparkling with excitement and his mouth curled into a genuine, warm smile. He was enjoying himself.
But every time I caught a glance at Janice she was eyeing someone with her cold-blue gems; a look of judgement and irritated uncomfortability. So there she sat, in her all-too expensive, princess gown and her face discriminatory of everyone but my father. I hated her, more than anything...
There was a loud dinging as I recall that caught everyone's attention, the guests' heads all turned in the direction of Craig's father, Mr. Morrison, as he said, "I'd like to propose a toast to my best friend and his newly wed."
I was quizzical to say the least.
Mr. Morrison continued, "It's been awhile since you've had this comfort in your life, this sense of well being to share with someone other than your son. I know things haven't really been easy, nor would I expect them to have been, but in the end you pulled through and I can see Janice makes you truly happy for all that she is and will be. You're my best friend man, I've known you for fifteen years and we've been inseparable ever since, I look back on that day where we went out to play paintball with Jimmy. Raise your hand Jimmy!"
I heard chuckling as a balding man stood up and waved, his face in a broad, embarrassed smile.
Mr. Morrison laughed and went on, "I look back on that day and remember saying to you that you'd never find anyone because you were overweight, lacking in intelligence and never really had thought on anything important. I look back on that and laugh, you're the most successful man I know. You've been through a lot of hard times and a lot of unfair situations. But in the end you've become someone better for them. So I wish you and Janice the best on your wedding day! I know it's not the best or most imaginative toast I could have come up with, but for what it's worth, I love you man!"
As he finished his speech I saw my father stand up and open his mouth, "Thanks Jerry. It mean's a lot. But I have a toast of my own to make, to my little man, Joseph. He stood next to me through all of this and I need to thank him for all of it."
I was nudged by someone behind me towards my father, so I proceeded towards him, moving quickly but with uncertainty.
"Come here little man," he said.
I walked over and he put his arms out to me and lifted me up in his arms almost comically and spoke again, "This little guy, is the best thing that has ever happened to me."
I smelled alcohol on his breath as he said those words and glanced over at Janice, clearly displeased at the lack of attention on her and glaring directly at me.
As the wedding came to a close, all of the formalities were met I remember people leaving and Janice coming over to me and saying, "Could you come with me a moment?"
As I recall she guided me to the bedroom where she and my father slept that was upstairs and she, as she closed the door, breathed fire at me, "You horrible little pile of fuck, this was my wedding day. How dare you! HOW DARE YOU TAKE THIS FROM ME! You made me look bad, you took the stage, your father is supposed to pay attention to ME on MY wedding day. Don't even think that this is over.."
It was quiet enough to not escape the bedroom, but loud enough to make me shudder, my little body quaking as the poison of her words slid through my veins. And then as she finished and turned towards the day I received a forceful punch to my gut. The wind was knocked from me as I fell to the ground and felt tears come from around the edges of my eyes.
"And don't you even dare think of telling anyone about this."
I was scared, terrified, paralised in fear and truly in a nightmare. No, I did not tell anyone, not once until later in life. Janice, this attractive blonde broad, was the reason that I became first-hand familiar with the term "Step Monster"... She was among... The worst of things in my life.