…“Momma said she and Daddy are getting a divorce,” a seven-year-old Billy said. “What does that mean?” I asked. “There’s a kid in second grade who said his parents are getting a divorce,” Billy said. “His father left and he just lives with his mother.”
“Why are Momma and Daddy getting a divorce?” I asked.
“I heard Momma say Daddy just lost another job and he drinks all the time.”
We were sitting on Billy’s twin bed in our room. I felt the satiny smooth headboard. I had a matching bed and Momma had told me the wood of the headboards was brown. “Who would we live with?” I asked. “Momma said we would go live with her and our grandparents in Florida,” Billy said.
“I’m scared of Daddy. He bought me a doll stroller and I ran it into a new chair and ripped the—what do you call that stuff that covers a chair?” “Upholstery,” Billy said sounding important.
“Well, I think Momma is a lot nicer than Daddy,” I said. “So do I,” Billy said.
In 1959 very few people got divorced. If they did, the person seeking the divorce had to have a good reason. Daddy separated from Momma a few years after my accident but it was Momma who ultimately sought a divorce. For years, I didn’t know what the formal grounds for the divorce were. In 1984, right before her death, Grandmomma said to Billy, “We had tapes.”
“Tapes of what?” Billy asked. “Tapes of your father with other women.” “What?” Billy asked in astonishment. “Your grandfather hired a private detective to follow your father around…So, the grounds for the divorce were infidelity.”