A childhood friend of mine just killed himself in his prison cell.
I'm not going to pretend we were close after age 10. I hadn't thought of him in decades, not since I last saw him in the hallways of high school and Nate pretended not to see me. Such are childhood friendships. Or such is me. Whichever.
Nate's parents banned me from their home. They banned me due to a specific crime: my face got in the way of their dog's incisors. Nate and I were playing one day, and he let the husky out of the back yard, and it leapt on me. To this day, I have puncture scars on my left check and temple.
My parents didn't sue, nor threaten to, nor even make a stink, which tells you how long ago this was. But they were informed nonetheless that I was no longer welcome at Nate's house, for I had clearly been mistreating the dog. The evidence was trickling down my neck. The dog went on to attack Nate's little sister and others, but my gold-embossed apology must have gotten lost in the mail.
I didn't know it at the time, but this was my first encounter with destructive, delusional parenting.
In reading about Nate's suicide, I see that he grew up to become the worst possible classification of child molester. I will not comment on the typical histories of child molesters other than to acknowledge that yeah, I'm thinking that, too. What really caught my attention was that Nate, who had seven children by three women, was hailed in an ad placed by his parents as a "loving and devoted father."
I stared at that line for a good, long while.