In February of 1996 my severance check consisted of a check for 1300 or so dollars for every hour worked. His brother and sister-in-law had been trying to get us to fly out to Hawaii to see them, of course we wanted to, but who could afford the trip? My daughter Jennifer worked at TWA in Kansas City at the time and she said she could get us tickets for nearly nothing, 50.00 for the two of us each to fly and Dakota could fly free. After making arrangements to have a job when I got back home we started making plans to go to Hawaii. They lived on the island of Oahu not far from the Honolulu airport. They would meet us at the airport and take us to their house where we would stay for three weeks. I brought 500.00 of the money with us and Jenny and Eric, her husband, would stay at our trailer and watch the pets while we were gone.
On February 21st we headed out. We were all excited and anxious for the trip of a life time. Kelvin was in a bad mood as he was most often these days. Anything could set him off. He’d started drinking with his new found friends in the court and had stopped paying the rent and used his money for other things we surely didn’t need. Jennifer had warned us to behave and act civilized on the plane because whatever we did reflected on her since we were using tickets that she had used her discount on, thus representing TWA. We had lots of bags, the baby, the diaper bag, my purse and I was expected to carry it all. If I asked him to help me with the bags he would go into a sudden rage. He did that a lot over nothing in particular except it afforded him his way whenever he wanted something. His drinking and drug abuse came back with a vengeance and nothing I could do or say could talk him out of it. Everything was my fault. His friends were right and I was wrong. Whenever he was with his friends he laughed and showed them courtesies that he never showed me. I was supposed to be the one he loved and had saved his life when the apartment burned and he had to live me in the trailer in Wathena. If I hadn’t met him where would he have gone? He had no friends as long as he wasn’t drinking or selling Marijuana. As soon as he started up again then he had friends coming out of the woodwork. I stood between him and the elements that he thought made him happy at the time and he resented me for it.
While waiting in the airport for the flight to board, women and children were supposed to get on first. I looked around and Kelvin was no where to be seen. The attendant kept looking at me while I was struggling with all the bags and the baby and I told her I was waiting for my husband. She said they were getting ready to board so he’d better hurry up. I tried to put the baby in my arms, carry the carry “on’s” with everything we would need to keep the 1 and a half year old content during the nine hour flight, my purse, the diaper bag all in my arms while looking around nervously for Kelvin. I knew he was somewhere and I was afraid he was in the bar. Knowing how he was when he was drinking I hoped I was wrong; it would be a long flight.
He finally showed up with a bad attitude and the enormous chip he carried nowadays on his shoulder. Giving me a dirty look he sauntered on the plane bare handed. We found seats together but he didn’t want to sit with me because he knew if he did he wouldn’t be able to drink the whiskey he had planned to order on the flight. He sat behind me in a middle aisle just behind me.
I sat with a black young man who had come from New York and was in the Navy, on his way to be stationed at Pearl Harbor. He played with Dakota who was being exceptionally good, trying to look at a picture book I had brought for him. He held up the picture book and looked directly at the Service Man and said clearly, “D’wanto read to me?” I was flabbergasted and the service man laughed and read to him for a little while. He said that he didn’t like Hawaii because it was too hot there. I couldn’t wait to be hot in Hawaii, the winters, especially in February, were brutal in Missouri. He said it hadn’t been his first time and always dreaded the trip, he had a wife back in New York and I think he said he had a child at home too that he would miss terribly. When Dakota said his first sentence on the plane I tried to get Kelvin’s attention to tell him his son had spoken his first full sentence but he just snarled back at me, telling me he didn’t care and to leave him alone. He was nursing a glass of Jack Daniels at the time and he and Jack didn’t want to be disturbed.
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