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I'd had what I thought was a perfect childhood—Sunday drives to clam bars, picnics on the beach.My parents were the kind who attended every ballet recital and graduation.
He flutters from job to job, never really explaining his reasons for leaving, constantly finding himself in unlikely circumstances. They'd been madly in love for many years, but their marriage ended in screaming matches and arguments over money.
Two summers after my parents separated, I visit home for a week. Before arriving at Aunt Junie's I imagined either I would immediately hate my father's girlfriend and refuse ever to see her again, or I would love her. To see Dad kiss another woman is like watching a scene from my very own version of The Twilight Zone.
Mom and I take a drive out on the east end of Long Island where I grew up, stopping at farm stands and antiques shops. As I sit talking to her, I realize Donna lands somewhere in the middle. Two years into the divorce I still avoid spending time alone with Mom.
They Skype often, he visits frequently, and he continues to talk about her with the same infatuation.
When I ask him if he still loves her as intensely as he did before, he tells me, yes. And now, to me, he's a whole new kind of inspiring.