Late September, 2016, I had arrived back in my home state, freshly off tour, a couple weeks after a difficult breakup, and utilizing my only housing option: A trailer in my dads backyard.
I love my father, but I do not like him. He is not a decent person, unfortunately. He loves me, in his unique and twisted way, and after the convincing words from my brother he decided to buy a cheap trailer and let me stay in his backyard next to the sound barrier between his yard and the freeway. I was grateful. And stoked, a cozy trailer all to myself? Awesome! Winter was setting in, but I didn’t care, I know how to stay warm.
The first day was alright… and just alright. He is a hard ass, my dad. The first words he said weren’t from love, but a strange sort of malice. The kind that suggests he doesn’t trust me as a person. “When are you getting a job? And that trailer cost me $400, you are going to fix it up so I can resell it and make a profit. And you will pay me $100 a week to live in it. No friends are allowed over, you are only allowed inside the house if you need to shower or shit. You being here makes Stephanie uncomfortable.” My first day back, not even an hour in, not a simple “I love you, son.” I guess it was to be expected.
I joked, replying that I stank and was going to shower before I started applying for work (I hadn’t showered in about a week). I didn’t let his words bother me, it was good to be back in Utah. I was looking forward to long hikes with my brother, lazy nights with my friends, and writing new music. Then the bombshell from my ex… “Kyle asked me on a date, I said yes.” This was fine, I knew her feelings towards him weren’t existent beyond just friends, plus we weren’t dating anymore. Yeah, I wasn’t thrilled, but I tried to be understanding.
The next night was her date, and a long night for me. She didn’t message me at all except for two times: “I’m off! Talk to you in a bit.” Normal. Then, several hours later, “The movie was okay, I have to pee so bad!” Then silence. Oh well, I tried to not assume the worst, I distracted myself by watching The Notebook for the first time (great movie). And eventually, clutching my phone in hopes to receive any word from her- anything at all- I fell asleep.
This is where my night went from not great, to horrible.
I woke up suddenly to somebody inside my trailer. Startled, but alert, I saw my stepmom in a squatted position messing with the trailer heater dials. Exhausted, and already tired of her as a person (she is worse than my dad) I ignored her, assuming she would leave after doing whatever sabotage she was up to. I was wrong.
“JORDAN!!” She screamed, obviously drunk. My blood curdled.
“What?” I calmly, tiredly replied.
“You need to pick your dad up from jail. He assaulted me,” she replied with a sick tone that suggests she was proud of it in a way. Being used to dealing with their shit, I told her to get out so I could get dressed. She was impatient. Less than a minute outside before she began yelling at me to hurry up. I don’t understand this woman.
We got into my fathers 4Runner, and she turned the music up incredibly loud. I turned the music down. She, bitterly, cranked the music again, glaring at me. I turned the volume down. She wasn’t having it. She blasted the music, and I became impatient.
“Stephanie,” I stated as I turned the music off entirely, “I am doing you a favor by picking my dad up this early in the morning (about 2 am). Please, no more music. I am tired and I don’t want to be here.”
Her response was another death-glare, accompanied with angry words, and that I ‘had no right to treat her like that,’ then turned the radio back on to full volume. I was done, I made a U-turn. She threatened me, began screaming every hurtful word she could think of (they didn’t effect me) and said I could take her to my dad or drop her off there. I pulled over, offering to open her door for her. She didn’t budge, only becoming louder and more aggressive.
I drove her back to the house, getting out of the car to escort her drunken self out of the vehicle, but she was quicker than me. She opened her door, ran to my side, and began to strike and scream at me. I tried to get her to tell me which jail my dad had been taken to, ignoring her assaults, but she refused. Instead she kept shoving me, punching me in the chest, hollering at the top of her lungs (at 2am) that I was a ‘loser,’ and that my dad and her talk about it all the time.
I replied, “Steph, I know you both feel this way, and I have for a long time. Get inside now or I will call the police.” Again, she became more aggressive. It was as if she were attempting to provoke me into hitting her, like I’m sure she had done do my father. Of course I didn’t do so, violence is not in my nature whatsoever, so I pulled out my phone and dialed 911.
I’ve never seen somebody run away so quickly. She was at the house door, slamming it shut, before the 911 operator could finish their classic line: “911, what’s your emergency?”
After inquiring if I could be transferred to the non-emergency line, the woman told me no and I called the line manually. I found out where my dad was, and I drove to the jail, ignoring the inclination that she was up to no good and rummaging through my trailer. After waiting an hour for his release, I discovered through the guards that he was being as loud and obnoxious as my stepmom. He trotted out proud and wasted drunk. “Well, it’s about time!” he chortled.
Yeah, yeah, I thought. “Lets just get you to a hotel.”
We didn’t make it far, he became calloused and mean after my asking which hotel he would prefer. He stated, among other words, “You can take me to my house or I will walk there!” I slammed on the brakes, in the jail parking lot, and said, “Okay, get out.” Hahahaha, of course he wouldn’t have that (understandably). After yelling at me for a short minute, I parked the car, left the keys in the cup holder, and walked away. I wasn’t going to deal with him. I recommended he didn’t drive drunk (promising I would call the police if I saw him do so) and I called my brother. He was drunk at a birthday party, so he was unavailable. I called my mom, she didn’t answer (I left a voicemail that caused her deep concern the next morning). Then, stretching myself to my final option, I called a close family friend. She didn’t answer either. I was unsurprised, it was 3:25 in the morning. So I walked. My moms house was only 8 or so miles away, and she would be awake before I arrived (probably). I was cold, I was tired. I just wanted to sleep.
After walking about half a mile I heard my dad calling to me. He had followed me. I was in a strip mall parking lot, security was driving nearby, so I motioned them over. They stopped, they didn’t head in my direction. I didn’t need them, but I was annoyed they weren’t going to assist me, just in case my dad became voilent. I heard my father call to me again, I could tell by his tone of voice that he wasn’t going to give me any more problems that night, so I walked to him. The security guards, after I already was walking with my dad, decided to pull up behind us.
“Is everything okay?” They asked in their cowardice, their car window halfway rolled down. My brother suggests I shouldn’t be bitter towards them, but I disagree.
I replied, annoyed, “Yeah. I called you over for a reason, but everything is fine now. Thanks.”
After getting back to my dads 4Runner, he requested I stop by his house and get his work phone and cigarettes. I obliged, dropping him off on the nearby corner. I went inside the house, Stephanie wasn’t there, but I couldn’t find his work phone. I assumed she had taken it. I went to my trailer to gather my few possessions, but to my dismay I found some personal items scattered in front of my trailer: an open, smashed bass case with no instrument inside. The pedals I used on tour drenched in water, rendering them useless. And a paint can lid. I became numb. I didn’t care anymore. I stepped inside the trailer, and it was a disaster. I don’t own much, but what I did own was upturned and broken. My laptop with a very obvious stomp print on it, my ukulele and bass were missing, my clothes strewn about, my bed half on the floor, half on the wall. I grabbed my cup of loose change, an unsent letter to my ex, the gameboy my drummer let me borrow, and a few clothes. I put them into my backpack and left, not caring to shut the door behind me.
I picked up my dad from the corner. I didn’t tell him what had happened. I was exhausted, already knowing it to be the worst night of my life. My heart was broken, my body bruised, my instruments missing, my possessions destroyed. I dropped my dad off at the hotel, he offered to buy me breakfast in the morning, but I declined. It was only 3 miles to my brothers house, so I walked. It wasn’t long before I received a phone call from the police.
“Jordan Jaeger? Yeah, hi. Officer ____ here. I’m with Stephanie, and she claims you stole her purse. Where are you?”
“Hey, officer. I didn’t take it. Like I told her, it is in her car where she left it last.”
A few moments of silence passed.
“Okay, thanks. We found it.” -click
I wonder now if that was an officer at all, or one of Stephanie’s whores she cheats on my father with in exchange for pills and booze.
Then I received a multitude of nasty texts and voicemails from my fathers work phone, the one she stole. I didn’t respond, but they included soulless insults, and threats to have my dad fired from his job over the assault. I rolled my eyes, and continued onward to my brothers house. When I finally arrived, I didn’t cry. I asked for food and lied in the bed he graciously prepared for me. I didn’t sleep.
After sunrise, my dad requested we bring his work and insurance checks to him. We reluctantly obliged, needing to go and gather the rest of my things regardless. Fortunately my stepmom didn’t find my records, nor did she damage my record player; my last bit of solace. We discovered that she had painted on the door of the trailer, failing to fully cover the words written in permanent marker “Sorry Too Late”. Evil words. Hateful words. Words only someone spiteful like her would write, and her attempt to cover them made it all the more comical to me.
We met him, my dad, in the parking lot of a Lowes hardware store. I gave the checks to him and said there was “x” amount there (my brother checked), and that I felt entitled for compensation for my destroyed possessions. Most everything I owned (the record player is a friends). He, in his strange mind, thought otherwise and proceeded to pick a fight with me. Egging me on, threatening me, saying anything he thought would get under my skin. My brother observed, being sure to remain close to him in case he actually tried to hit me. I knew he wouldn’t, he couldn’t afford another night in jail. I lost my patience entirely in that moment, and I yelled back, shouting the few words I never thought I would in response to the terrible things he shouted at me.
“Hit me! Do it! I’ll call 911 so fast that you won’t even have time to think about what you’ve done… Felon!” (my dad was in prison throughout my childhood)
I lost most self control, and realizing this I walked away. I went to the garden section of Lowes, smelling and feeling the different flowers, trees, and assorted plants. Nature is my refuge, the garden center was the closest place I could “escape” to in that moment. I needed to clear my head.
After a few minutes my dad drove off, my brother called me back. We went to his house, my ex had text me earlier in the day, distraught because she slept with Kyle. This effected me more than the horrible night given to me by my father and stepmom. The news hurt. I figured something of the sort happened, but I had chosen to trust her. I found out a miserable month later that they didn’t have sex. She was very vague on the details, though. I safely assume foreplay was still involved. My dad reluctantly payed me a few days later to compensate for my damaged items, having been guilted by my brother (thanks again, brother!). I found my ukulele broken in half on the freeway side of the sound wall, and my bass 2 days after the incident water damaged and hidden in the lot nearby my fathers house. The money eventually payed for my new (much better) Music Man bass, so this night and its outcome wasn’t an entire loss.
I no longer associate with my dad, though I am setting up a time to meet with him when my band goes through on tour. It may just be an invitation to my shows, but we will see. I do want to talk to him, tell him to his face that I need time before I will consider allowing him back into my life. A long amount of time.