As my parents and I drove back from the apple orchard, we saw the man again. He drove a red Audi convertible and seemed to follow us everywhere. I didn’t know him, but it was strange how often he came around; he seemed to have an obsession with my family. Mom definitely knew who he was. She always gave him this stare as if to say, “Get away you freak.” Dad always asked mom who he was. She just kind of shook her head and avoided the conversation. Dad was always persistent in his asking, but mom never budged. It became the root of all of my parents’ fights. They would scream and yell at each other. It made me crazy.
I don’t think my parents understood how hard their fights hit me. Whenever they got into it and I was downstairs, I would casually walk up to my room pretending nothing was wrong; pretending it didn’t faze me. I walked quietly, trying not to make much noise. Not that it would’ve mattered; the two of them were so loud when they fought I swear people on the other side of the world could hear them. Once I made it to my room, I would pull the door handle closed and lock it, trying to make the “click” of the door locking as quietly as I could. Then I would go in the corner farthest from the door, and cry.
After we got back from the orchard, I went upstairs cheerfully to work on my chemistry homework. I didn’t even mind that I was going to do homework, I was just glad my parents hadn’t killed each other yet, considering we had spotted the man.
An hour later I heard the screams coming from downstairs again. I assumed my position in the corner and sobbed. The tears poured down my cheeks as I cried, and I could feel the lump in my throat, the one you get when you don’t want anyone to know you were crying. All I could hear was dad, “Who the fuck is this man? He’s everywhere. It’s freaking me out!” Mom was silent. “Maureen, you know something about this guy. Why can’t you just tell me? I don’t understand. I will go talk to him if you want. We can even file for a restraining order.” Still silence from mom.
The last thing I wanted was for my parents to split. No sixteen year old wanted their parents to get a divorce. Thinking about it made me sob even more. But how long could they go on like this? It was simply not normal, and not how married people act. The dumb part was all of their fights were surrounding this random man. I didn’t understand why mom couldn’t have just told dad who he was.
Later that afternoon there was a knock at the door. It was him. The man followed us frequently, but he had never come to our house. I didn’t have the slightest clue as to why he’d come.
The last thing I remember about that day after apple picking, was Officer Varoli reading the man his Miranda rights while mom continued telling him what a dumb prick he was, and that karma had finally bitten him in the ass. That conversation between mom, Officer Varoli, and the man is forever ingrained in my head, “Jeff Regino, you are under arrest for rape.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? Who is accusing me of rape?” the man who I was now able to identify as Jeff yelled through the almost closed door.
“Maureen Wilson,” Officer Varoli responded.
“Maureen what the hell, would you please tell this man I never raped you?” Jeff yelled.
“But you did, Jeff,” mom began to cry.
“When?” the man was now screaming, his face red with anger.
“Sixteen years ago,” mom said sobbing. That’s when it all clicked for dad and I. I always knew I didn’t really resemble dad.