The Loner

The Loner

Due to a divorce agreement between my parents I was shuttled between two couples for as long as I could remember. The ordeal went on until I was eighteen. The family I spent the most time with had a degree of insight into my character. The other family didn’t have a clue.

As a child, not fitting in makes you a keen observer. You note every expression, every tone, and each gesture, to compute all the implications. You’re never quite your spontaneous self. Instead, you’re always on guard and not comfortable enough to express your feelings, so when you finally get old enough to express yourself, and it’s negative, it’s misinterpreted as being petulant or stubborn. My dad, (the remote one) asked me to attend something I was uncomfortable with, and I, the people pleaser, finally said no. He got huffy, saying,

“Steven, you’re a loner.”

Of course, I wasn’t. I liked the kids in National City. Some of my fondest memories are with them, playing in the canyons and staying out late at night. It was the second family I was uncomfortable with. Just examine the statistics and do the math. Two days out of fourteen means you’re not really there. Nothing of mine was at their house, no toys, no clothes, not one jar of bubbles. It felt like a hotel with a family already in it, but the family wasn’t mine. I was always keen to return home on Sunday night but I knew how to get along when I was with the remote family on Friday nights and Saturdays. I compensated.

“He’s a feeling arranger and a changer of the way he talks.”

Of course I was. That’s how I got along with strangers. I learned all the survival tricks.

©StevenHunley2016 Neil Young The Loner

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