One of Those Things

It was just one of those nights. Hanging out at home, back in the 1990s. 

Mom was out with friends. I think. It’s been decades since all this happened, but I know my brother Brandon had moved out to live with some of his friends the year before. Our little family of 3 had gone through such changes in recent years. Doug, my stepdad had come along, making our little family number 4 now for the first time in years! We’d been the original gluten free – soccer mom – 3 musketeers for most of my life up until then. Now it was back down to 3 with my brother gone, and I was alone without them. I was just wanting to watch some TV! That’s all really.

Except, my stepdad Doug, was also home. My mom had let him in the house a few years before and, unlike most of my mom’s boyfriend’s, she’d never sent him packing. Even though he treated my brother and I like shit. Since he spaced it in between all this other nice stuff, my mom seemed to worship the ground he walked on. But tonight, he was putting the business to a 6-pack of beer in a way that even the girls who wait around till 2 a.m. at bars wouldn’t have wanted to sit near him. That wasn’t unusual though. He did that pretty frequently. I’d seen my mom walk away from him in a huff plenty of times when he got shitfaced. But tonight, he was going particularly hard. He’d broken out a 2nd 6-pack! Probably because my mom wasn’t there to give him shit about it.

Like I said, it was just like any other night. I’d been reading some books in my bedroom, but I’d decided to go out to the living room to watch some TV. For those Millennials reading this story, I’ll explain that, in those days, households only had one screen per family. In the entire house! There was no way of avoiding step parents back then if you wanted to keep up with your favorite shows. 

That’s the past though, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I found I would have to share the old tube with my stepdad. He was sitting comfortably in his chair. Looking high as a kite. His face was so red, and his eyes were so glassy, I knew my mom would have already sent him to bed a while ago. If she’d been home.

I can’t remember what show we were watching. It’s hard to access any memories of that night. Luckily, for me, my mom taught me how you can always make a funny story about pain. 

Not to change the subject, but she’d do it all the time at parties. It’s really entertaining! No matter who’s house we’d go to, you’d eventually find a group of people strung around my mom: listening to her stories about pain. Most of her siblings did the same kind of shit. Told the same kind of stories at parties. I’m sure their parents did the same crap in their day too. Shit like that usually gets passed down.

You see. My mom had been heavily abused as a child, and then throughout her adulthood. Or so she said. I should know. She told me about most of her trauma before I even went to kindergarten. A kind of old school before new school. You understand? 

By an early age, I knew men were sick motherfuckers who’d stick a finger in you if they’d the chance to get away with it. That’s why I sometimes feel I should have known better when I sat down next to that drunk motherfucker that night. I guess that’s what I get! 

Not to be dramatic, but a lot of people seem to think it’s my fault for what happened, when I start to tell the story (or else they find some way to stop listening or shut me up). But they don’t give me the time to tell my story. The cruel ones (mostly older women) tell me to basically walk it off before I get too graphic. Nicer people, young women actually, listen to me, sometimes, and tell me that it’s fucked up! They also tell me that I got to walk it off, but the older gals never give me that kind of validation (or street cred or what ever those crazy kids call it). Baby Boomers always seem to have a story about what it’s REALLY like to suffer when you complain about anything to them. They’re such entitled cunts.

But I’m getting distracted. That’s a problem I have because of my trauma. Sometimes the things that come out of my mouth don’t seem to make sense or have anything to do with what I was just saying. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, let me tell you that You don’t expect your life to change so drastically in one night. You see? What am I even talking about?

Anyways, back to my story: I’d been sitting there only a short while, in my own seat on the other side of the living room watching TV, when my step dad began to hit on me. If I hadn’t already made it clear by now. I’m a boy.

“You’re so cute.” He slurred while looking like a grinning tomato.

“What?” I think is what I said after the 2nd or 3rd time he said that to me. I guess I tried to ignore it at first. But like I said: these memories have been intentionally degraded in my brain (by me). Like video tapes from the 1980s rotting in your garage, I try not to open those boxes, so I have trouble remembering the details. Don’t pull me up in front of some cameras if my stepdad ever has some kind of confirmation hearings, okay. Though he might not have a calendar like Kavenaugh did. But recent breakdowns have unearthed things I’ve tried to throw out.

“I’m gonna kiss you.” That definitely got my attention the first time he’d said it!

“No you’re not.” It was easy to say that! No matter what my mom had let him get away with up until this moment: with me and my brother – all the fights and shitty stuff only stepdads can do, we were totally in inappropriate territory now! So much so, that I felt confident telling him, a full grown adult man-giant, what NOT to do. I was such a stupid little slut. Or so he probably thought. Or… I don’t know? Can only women say that kind of thing? I am a boy right? Sometimes it gets hard to remember.

“Yes I am.” He joked with his glassy stare glued on me. What was that look in his eyes?!

Panic is an interesting feeling in times like these. I was 15 or 16 at the time and, once again, sorry I can’t remember all the details: but I remember feeling strong. In my teenage body, I had recently found some budding strength at last! And he was drunk! What could he do to me? 

Except maybe gross me out, with the way his wet lips puckered every time he kept fake kissing the air, making some strange gesture with his right hand (or was it his left?). His fingers looked like what I imagined was a coochie-coo kind of thing you do with a little baby. But the combination of that and his wet, jiggling lips didn’t seem paternal at all. In fact, it was making me more than just nauseous. I was starting to think he really wanted something from me. Holy Jesus! But no. That’s crazy! Right? I’m a boy. Right?

Who knows how long the exchange went on. It must have gone on long enough for me to give up on watching TV that night. Whatever show it was, wasn’t worth this kind of sexual harassment. I know I’m not a girl (maybe I’m like one now), but this was a MeToo Moment if there ever was one! I talked about feeling panic before, but it was nothing compared to what came next.

When I stood up to leave, I couldn’t believe how fast that drunk motherfucker stood up at full attention. Actually, it was more like a crouch. Like a fucking tiger! Sorry if I find that funny. 

He didn’t look so drunk anymore, as he continued to stare at me with a playful smile. This guy wasn’t going to let this kissing thing go! I thought. No matter what I was telling him, he seemed to want to play some game with me. Shit!

If I was misreading things at this point, I could always apologize later. That’s why I didn’t waste a moment when I turned on my heel (faster than I’d done in any soccer match) and sprinted to my room. I knew it didn’t have a lock on the door, but that was the only place I could think to bolt towards at that moment. However, once again, my stepdad’s speed must have been under some random effect of that too little blood in all his alcohol. I mean. I was 15 or 16. You know: young and fast! But he was faster. 

Though, to be honest, my mom had robbed the cradle with this boyfriend (so to speak) so my step dad must have still been in his twenties back then. Not too far behind me in age. Maybe he thought that made us closer. 

I can’t believe that I must have given up on getting to my bedroom (so it’s kind of my fault), as I ran for my innocence. That’s because we eventually ended up in the bedroom at the end of the hall. The room where he usually fucked my mother. I didn’t have time to be amazed at this point how easily he picked me up (and had to whip me around in the air a bit) so he could throw me onto the floor. On my belly. 

It was terrifying how he was instantly on me. Full body. Nuts to butts, as drill instructors would yell at me when I was in Navy boot camp: lining us Rickies up to go through some bullshit or other. I should actually thank Doug for that night though, or else my thus-far tarnished virtue might never have survived a worse tour on submarines before my military career ended. Whatever anyone wants me to believe today, there was something going on here. This didn’t feel playful. He felt hungry, and his kisses hurt everytime they landed on the places I couldn’t cover with my hands and elbows.

I guess what finally happened – was something just broke inside my head. It didn’t take long. When I realized that no matter how hard I pushed with my body, I couldn’t get him off me. I simply wasn’t strong enough. In fact, it just made us grind together harder. Did he like that? I’m not sure if I felt something else hard (or limp?) down there but, at this point in my life, nothing would surprise me. My screams didn’t help either, or shouting to ‘get off!’ But let me backtrack and say that it was the final scream, when my mind broke in half (or who knows how many pieces) that he finally got off me. 

I don’t know if my stepdad can remember it. Maybe he woke up the next day and didn’t remember a thing? Flushed out with the alcohol he pissed in the toilet the next morning. But I remember the sound of that scream which escaped my mouth when I left this world. It sounded like someone getting eaten by wild animals. You know? While they’re still alive.

Anyway. He was fast. My stepdad. He got off of me so quickly when he heard that scream, you’d think they really put something in that beer he was drinking! The echo of my inner horror must not have affected him too strongly though, because he still pointed his crotch at my ass the whole time he followed me to my bedroom door. He had this way of walking that’s hard to describe. The whole time, I felt like such a whore the way I flirted with him, just to maintain the distance between us and have the chance to get the door closed between us. 

“Now you let me go to bed.” I said it like a girl. Like my mom would. The way I imagined a woman would say it to a creep who’d just pinched her on the ass. Not the kind of way you’d see in movies, where a waitress dumps coffee on a guy in front of a restaurant full of customers. I said it the way a woman would if she was the only one working in a diner at night: when the only customer in the place just grabbed her butt, and she realized there was no one there to see how clever she was at thinking of a response.

It worked though! I got into my room and closed the door, never knowing that I was closing it on a whole world for the rest of my life. Doors still weren’t enough, so I had to put the covers over my head. I couldn’t pretend I was just a boy, going to sleep in a home-made fort. I needed those blankets over my head so I could let myself start crying. It took a long time for me to fall asleep, but no matter how long I tried to stay awake, I never heard my mom’s car get back home. I was still crying when I finally drifted off.

The next day, it really did feel like Doug had forgotten everything but, from time to time, I could see a certain look in his eyes when he’d look at me: so it was hard to tell. Mom was back! Who knows when she got home? I guess now she thinks it was my fault that I waited for her to come talk to me. 

You see, I always thought she had a 6th sense. Growing up, she always told me about the visions she saw, and she told me she felt like it was a Gift that was in our family. I mean, people would sometimes call her to ask where their lost keys were! You think it’s crazy, but when she closes her eyes and pictures your lost items, she can tell you right where they are. 

So I figured, failing her amazing Gift, she’d be smart enough to put 2 and 2 together, eventually. I know things get fuzzy, around these events. But, I know for sure that I only waited 3 days before finally telling her about how her boyfriend had scared the shit out of me the other night. It felt so good to finally let it out, but I couldn’t control all the sobbing that came with it. I was alone with my mom at last. Little did I know, while I just let the fear flood out my tear ducts, that I was about to face an experience even more traumatic than the romp with my stepdad had been.

“Oh, Jeff! I’m soooo sorry. But it’s not what you think it was.” She said it so easily. I guess that’s why it shocked me. For how little effort she put into blowing away the trauma I went through.

I know I said she had a 6th sense, but even I couldn’t believe she could miss the way my jaw hit the ground when she continued to tell me a story about how ‘what I was telling her’ wasn’t what actually happened. She didn’t need to be there, I guess. She just knew. She’s incredible that way. She has a Gift you know.

I was so speechless, that I couldn’t tell her that I was losing my grip on reality. She’s told me since that it was really my mistake (did I tell you that already?) that I didn’t give her more information to judge the situation better at the time. I didn’t realize back then that I was supposed to do her fucking job for her. I’m a good dad right now, but back then I was a pretty shitty mom.

Unfortunately, I had to learn, almost 25 years later, that I made another mistake that day. At one point, when my mom probably couldn’t understand a word I was saying (in all my blubbering), she said, “Let me talk to Doug about this.”

“No!” I shouted. I was so scared of what would happen if he knew I’d ‘told’ on him. If he hadn’t actually tried to rape me that night, would he still get mad if I put a false claim on the table? My mother translated my exclamation as, We Shall Never Speak of this Again. It’s hard for me, as a parent myself now, to understand how easily she brushed it away.

“Can’t we just leave?” I asked her. She doesn’t seem to remember a word of what I said through all that crying. A friend of mine thinks she was too worried about losing her breadwinner to care. I don’t know what I think.

“No.” She said it like she usually did when I’d used to ask her if I could stay home from school. She knew that school had been boring and meaningless to me back then, but she still made me go. She knew I got hit and bullied, and she’d still tell me that it’s just what life is like and you have to learn to live with it. It’s just one of those things.

“I just want him to go!” Here came the tears again.

It was when she just shook her head and said, “Oh Jeff.” that I knew she’d choose him over me. Had already chosen him over me.

All her talk. Her stories about pain. All her bullshit over the years! About how horrible her own mother was. All the stories she told me (made me listen to as a young child) about molesting priests and abusive husbands (my father, her father, or whoever), were just for her! She was telling me without words. Those kinds of stories didn’t belong to me! That’s what she thinks, but she’s wrong. I’m the storyteller in this family.

“This is just how men show affection with each other.” she told me recently, as I began to finally share more details of what I was remembering. You don’t get to feel that way Jeff. Stop being a drama queen. She said without words. Actually, let me backtrack: she did call me a drama queen. I think. It’s hard to remember trauma like that.

The story I haven’t told yet, is that years later, when my mom came into my home to take care of my kids (to help me after my divorce) I almost killed her. Not metaphorically either. I almost cut the bitch. But try to stay with me. Don’t be scared of me. I’m not dangerous anymore, because I know what it means to be a dad now. I protect people. Especially little ones. I don’t hurt them. I’m just an asshole is all.

Anyways. It was because I just lost my job, and she was telling me I was acting crazy. At the time, I just needed someone to talk to about how badly my employer had treated me, and she just wanted me to to shut the fuck up about it. But she lived in the same house with me! She knew how bad I was getting fucked by the people I’d worked for, but she just wanted me to stop bitching. Shut up Jeff. You’re being annoying, is all I seemed to hear when she talked to me. Don’t know if that’s what she actually said, but I’m not working with a full deck of cards anymore, so bear with me.

And before you think I’m a psycho, you should know that I’d been begging my mom to leave the house for 3 days before my mind started resorting to murderous thoughts! And, it was only one brief thought. Okay? Don’t be a drama queen. It was very brief. I swear.

But you have to understand that she’s just cruel. She’s got a lot of people fooled otherwise though. My mom likes to think because she cuddles and makes birthday cakes, that she’s a bowl full of sugar. To me, she feels like a barrel full of hungry badgers who’ve just been told they’ve gotten syphilis. 

She’ll tell you she was just trying to cook herself breakfast when everything came to a head, and I kicked her out of the house. To be honest, I was being annoying the way I just stood my ground and kept challenging every bullshit platitude or metaphor she flung at me about how I was being a cry baby for losing my job. You might think I was the one to push our relationship off a cliff, but I wanted to know how she really felt. If she was going to live in my house and take care of my kids, I wanted to know if she felt bad for the way I was treated. Not surprisingly she didn’t feel bad at all. In fact, she had a story she wanted to tell me about how she’d once had it worse.

I don’t know why I brought up my step dad molesting me in this particular argument. It’s been 25 years since my stepdad made me question my sexuality. My mom did nothing about it, so the only option I’d left was to make friends with the guy. I never spoke to Doug about that night. I bet he wishes I forgot about it too, or that I believe he was too drunk to remember. That’s why I don’t bring it up. I tried telling my brother Brandon about it. After I kicked my mom out of the house. During our conversation, I thought I was the one talking in a calm voice, but my brother was the one who started shouting at me, “You need counseling Jeff!”

I didn’t have the time to explain I didn’t have the money for that kind of stuff, and mom said I still owed her money for all the help she gave me while she lived with me. He wouldn’t want me to bring that up anyway. My brother doesn’t tell stories. Doesn’t read them either. He only watches them on TV. Anytime I try to tell a story of my own, he always finds a way to shut me up. I can only talk to him if we discuss a common show we watch.

“I’m a dad now Jeff! I’m busy!” I can understand that. “I can’t take a single moment to text you. How dare you call me and accuse me of not texting. I’ve been driving all day!” Or maybe he didn’t say it exactly like that, but he’s right though. I think there’s laws about those kinds of things. Maybe not. I can’t be sure.

My mom likes to point out that I couldn’t have been abused by Doug, since I became friends with him after he traumatized me. But I’ve made friends with a lot of my abusers over the years. I’m a lot like my mother that way.

I can count on 1 hand the amount of times I’ve talked to my mom about that night. It seems it was that fifth finger (maybe the middle one, I’m not sure) when my mom thought it was 1 time too many: and finally yelled in full throated frustration, “Oh my god! I already said I was sorry for that!” She put her hands to her head in frustration with me. She’s such a drama queen. Couldn’t I just shut up already? She was trying to cook breakfast for christ’s sake! 

I could never seem to find the right time to talk about it with her, you see. When I was finally ready to deal with my trauma, I was in my 30s. Back then, I was dating the woman who would go on to be the mother of my two boys. I was robbing the cradle with her so, of course, my mom hated my young girlgriend. And she hated my mom. Back then, my ex gave me a safe place to talk about the way my mother abused me with her indifference. My ex isn’t surprised that my mom made me go through that kind of hell. 

It’s always funny to watch the 2 most important women in my life try to get along with each other. They both secretly (or rather openly) think the other is a horrible mother. I always try to stick up for both when alone with either but, let me tell you, it’s just a waste of time. Anyways.

Like I said. I’d been asking my mom to leave for days! She didn’t care I’d lost my job, or that her son (or ex) had invented grinding (years ago) well before any other ho on the dance floor! So don’t hold me accountable for looking at the knife on the counter next to me, when she refused to leave the house. When I asked her the last time. When I told her I wanted her gone! 

Like always, I had to be the adult in the room (with my own mother) when I looked at her, and put my whole brain to the task of trying to figure out how to make this stinking hypocrite leave my house in one piece. I’ll admit that I allowed myself to take the briefest of moments to gaze at the naked blade and think about what I could do with it. Tell me. Is that a crime? I can’t tell.

In any case, I inherited a clever brain from my mother, so it didn’t take long to come up with an idea to save her life. It’s the least I owed her. She gave me life. Right? But then, I remembered everything else she gave me too! I remembered all those horrible stories she’d told me. Like some mother bird who chews up food for her chicks and pukes it into their gaping mouths. 

I was full of all that creepy shit from her family. What they did to each other, to other people, or other people did to them. All it took was a few idle threats. Mentioning that a few family tales, which I could leak on the internet, could expose how rotten to the core her family was and, instead of being a phoenix (like she professed), she was just another chunk of unthinking goo that had spewed from between the legs of her inhuman mother. Was she really such a bad mother herself? My grandma? She was an okay grandmother to me, but she always made me call her by her first name. Never grandma. You know? No worse than any other cold bitch.

After I made those empty threats (I’d never use someone else’s trauma like that by the way) she left the house so fast that she’d left the bulk of her belongings. For my part, I clutched my kids to me as I locked doors and windows. I had a full blown panic attack, but I’m a good enough dad that I was able to make a game out of changing the passcode on the garage door with my sons. They knew it was because dad wanted to keep grandma out of the house. They’d heard the horrible things I’d said to her.

After that, I called anyone I could think of who would hear my story. I tried to tell a few family members, and I told them about what happened with my stepdad all those years ago. While I got a good 10-15min talk out of some of the people I called, I soon found myself in complete radio silence.

With my family suddenly so busy with their own lives, I was daunted at being alone. Without my mother. The only parent I ever knew, I was left without a counselor. I knew how to take care of myself though. She’d taught me that. So, after years of avoiding counselors and psychiatrists, I finally decided it was time to see one. And, wouldn’t you know it? On the very first day of counseling, my life changed again. It wasn’t the psychiatrist that made me have a breakthrough though. It was my life falling apart all over again. Another breakdown. 

It started, after I spilled my guts to the doctor (a complete stranger), for an hour, when I walked out to the parking lot to see 2 missed calls from the 2 bitches in my life. Both my mom and my ex left me voicemails, telling me the school had called to say my son was sick and had to be picked up. When I called my mom, and because she had a schedule to keep, she let me know she was coming back to my house that night to get her remaining stuff before moving back in with my brother in another state.

When she said she was going to stay for the whole weekend, I said, “The whole weekend?”

“That’s what I said.” She replied.

Fine. She wants her stuff? She was going to give me something for it! I’d learned from my ex-wife that if I wanted something out of that bitch, then I’d better have something my ex wanted first. With my mom on the phone, I thought about the fact that the dispensaries in my town were out of weed and my mind was going nuts! I’d only gotten my card for PTSD recently, but stupid laws had caused a shortage in town, and I had no other hook up.

“I want you to have your friend Rose buy me some vape cartridges!” My mom was staying with that old gal just south of my house. Rose was an old hippie with a marijuana card. “If you bring those, you can have your stuff! Buy as much as it cost for my counseling visit! If not, you don’t get anything! Call the police if you want. I’ll keep your stuff until you want to talk to me about Doug…” She’d keep hanging up the phone when I mentioned him and would call back to let me know that we were only going to talk about her stuff.

I know I shouldn’t have been so harsh, but I didn’t have time to pussy foot around. I just wanted her to do me a favor for all the shit she’d put me through. All the people in her life, not just my stepdad, who knocked me around. Her friends. Her people.

I knew my mom was getting my weed when her friend Rose started hate-texting me.

“Hey Jeff, it’s Rose. I’ve spent time with your mom the last couple of days and I’ve seen first hand how she’s being tortured by the conflict between the two of you. She knows you’re in pain, she knows you’re angry, and she’s trying to get out of your way.” Seems like my mother learned this particular skill from my grandmother. Where you send another person to take down your enemies.

But Rose was saying exactly what I thought! What I knew my mother was doing. Instead of really helping me. My mom was always trying to just get out of the way. It sounded just like her. My mom really knew how to make good friends too. They just got her. You know? It was probably because of all the great stories she told.

Rose continued to text, “I was here listening to her on the phone to you just now. I heard you cutting her off, talking over her, and trying to bully her from her own belongings and her grandchildren. How dare you treat your mother this way!”  Rose had a point. My mom really loves her frying pans.

“She saved you from an abusive father…you think he wasn’t coming for you next?!!! And now, as a supposed adult, it seems okay to blame her because she wasn’t perfect raising your ungrateful self?”

What kind of stories was my mother telling this woman?! My dad was an abusive asshole, sure. But if Rose was saying my mom kept him from hunting us down and murdering us, that’s a little too much. Even if Rose just meant: by leaving my dad, my mom had saved me from abuse too! Then Rose must not have known the story of how my mom was married to my dad, getting beaten for 5 years, before she chose to have my brother and I with the cocksucker. I’m getting confused about what I should be grateful for at this point!

But Rose kept going, “I am begging her to let me come with because I don’t trust you. And if I do come, I’ll make SURE to bring the police so she can retrieve her things and get away safely.” 

This wasn’t the first time my mom had painted my brother and I as thugs to other people either. Even though we feel like loyal sons, she betrays us so casually to other people sometimes. I remember, when my stepdad first moved in with us, she told us he was her enforcer now! She’d finally get us to respect her now! She’d told us. Now that she had someone bigger in the house to protect her. And was big enough to abuse her children. Wait. Did I just say that? Does that have anything to do with what we’re talking about? I can’t remember. 

What I do remember is my brother and I looking at each other, when she’d said that enforcer shit, and wondering why she always seemed so physically afraid of the only 2 males in the world who would never hurt her.

I might have gone off track, but Rose kept texting, “I wish you well,”  Yeah right. “I hope you heal, and if I see you in the future I will greet you warmly. But you need to know she is not alone or at your mercy.” I couldn’t help silently cheering for Rose the way she stuck up for my mother! The way I wished my mother had stuck up for me. You might think I would call Rose a cunt at this point. My mother too. And you’re right! But Rose is also something even more special. She’s a pothead.

All my traumas. All the things that make me sad. It’s weed that actually helps. People can’t be counted on to be there for you, when you need them. They’ve got their own lives. Their own families. If I have weed in the house: I can get by. Unfortunately, for me, I had asked my mom to get her pothead friend to score me some vapes, so (like it always happens for me) I always have to receive that final nut punch (which all younger pot heads usually get from Baby Boomer hippies).

Rose typed hypocritically, “Oh and by the by, it may not be a good idea to ask me any more favors.”  

Well. I didn’t ask you for a favor Rose. I’d asked my mom, and this is what I got instead. I could go on to transcribe the rest of the texts that Rose spat at me, but what’s the point? I could tell you how, after my mom came to get all her stuff, that I found an earlier memory (an older one) of someone trying to take my pants off when I was asleep. Probably, when I was too young to know who it was.

I wonder why, now, that she never took me to counseling back when I was a boy. There were signs she could have picked up on. Seen with her Gift. Even logically, my mother never seemed to wonder why I would wake up at night and run around the house, screaming, as a small boy. For years! She never once wondered what story might have caused me to sprint around the house in terror, so she just learned to turn the water on in the shower. Eventually, I’d hear the sound of the water (she’d tell me – I don’t remember) and end up asleep on the bathroom floor. She’d carry me to bed and I’d always be surprised to find myself in a different place then I’d gone to bed in. It was never a night that I remembered.

Before I ran out of money for my psychiatrist, she told me I might have a dissociative disorder the way my memory gaps and my mind hides things from me. Last thing she told me was to stay away from the memory with the HANDS. It’s what came back after my mom found some chinese therapy that cured the night-sprinting-screaming. Years later, when I lived alone, I thought I woke up to a ghost next to my bed. I didn’t think the ghost’s hands were real until they got close to my crotch. There’s this music that plays in my head when I think of that memory. I’m not sure of the song, but I can’t get the melody out of my head (even though I hate it). But the music always stops when the ghost knows I can see his hands. Realizes I’m awake.

My shrink told me to stay away from that memory. That I was too poor to do this on my own. Wait. Well. She didn’t say that. Right? My mind sometimes translates things and my memories seem edited. Maybe the doctor didn’t say it that way. In any case, she wanted me to stay away from it. But I can’t help it. I need to remember what happened. I’m currently hoping that it was something I made up, and no one ever penetrated me. Just a dream. I’ve had other trauma in my life, so I could have cobbled something together that never happened. Except, why is this particular memory so painful.

Once again. Don’t worry about me. I’m fine. My boys are fine. I can totally compartmentalize. But I can’t help wanting to share with people that pain has a secret. Just bear with me now. But I’ve learned to tell stories about TV shows like my brother does. So it’s like the show Lost. Maybe you’ve never seen it: but there’s this doctor, Jack, who describes doing surgery to a criminal in one of the very first episodes. He tells a story about cutting a young girl’s back tissue (to watch all her nerve endings spill out) and freaking the fuck out. His brain was probably going to explode under all that fear, but he gives himself a few seconds to be scared before he turns it off like a switch. I found that it’s not just fear you can do this with. You can do it with pain. Humiliation. Feeling bad that you’re such an asshole. You can choose to allow those emotions to have full reign in your mind for a few seconds, and then you can (and you should) just turn it off. Back when I first saw the show, I didn’t know what he was talking about. I couldn’t control my emotions the way he talked about. Now I do. 

My psychiatrist tried showing me tricks for desensitizing myself to my traumatic memories. I hate that word. Desensitized. It describes my mom’s whole family. It’s why I think I have trauma myself and can never get past it. No one I reach out to in my family validates a goddamn thing I say. Or maybe I’m just an asshole who asks for a soda and complains when they’re handed a diet Coke. They don’t want to listen to my stories. They just want me to shut up. But if you don’t talk about it, the memories can get lost inside you and bubble out later. It might not kill you, but you might think about killing your mom, like I did. Just for a moment.

The next morning, after packing her car, my mom ran for her life, though she didn’t know about the knife. The night before, I’d read her the text’s Rose sent (while she clutched her frying pans) – my mother’s carefully crafted response had been, “I agree with a lot she said.” The cunt just can’t help herself sometimes!

After my mom was gone, and I was a single dad at last, I was in the shower, having my kids watch TV. Dealing with the dietDoug version of my childhood abuse, the older memory started to tease it’s way to the surface again, like it’d done for years. All those little things started to click together. How I didn’t like to touch men. Wouldn’t kiss my own sons on the mouth. 

As I watched the water fall from the shower head, reality started to split apart right in front of me. It looked like a small vagina opening up on a huge alternate dimension! Or a huge vagina opening up on a small dimension. I’d never had a vision like that before, so it was hard to tell. I just know I saw this when I remembered the HANDS, and the way they looked as they travelled up my legs, when I woke up one those nights so long ago. 

If you’d asked me the week before, I’d have told you that it was only my mom who had visions. I wonder what she’d think if she knew how I have visions all the time now. Ironically, just as I turned into the kind of son my mom would have loved to have had – she lost me. 

Right now, if she had the guts, she could have someone to talk to about this great power that we share. We could discuss ways to use it, or what it might mean on a higher level. But she chooses to hide from me like a cockroach, when the lights have been turned on. It’s okay though. She knows I’m still out there. I won’t let her forget me. No matter how hard she tries. 

You know. She’d asked me, before she left, the last time I saw her, “How long should I wait before I can talk to you again?”

We’re talking right now. I thought. 

But, she thought I wanted to bury all this pain and move on. Get desensitized. Not to talk about it, or tell stories like she always did. She was asking me how long it would take for me to get over all this pain. How long before I could talk to her without making her feel bad. If you don’t know what I mean, let me tell you: I’m an asshole. Even to my mom.

I searched my mind for an answer. “A year.” I said, and she drove off that day thinking that was all it would take to get her son back.

What she doesn’t know is that I’m waiting for another story from her. A good one. She was always so good at telling stories about her abuse, I want her to tell me a story about mine. She thinks she can wait a year, and we’ll talk again. But that’s not going to happen. If she waits that long, she’ll never speak to me again. 3 days. 25 years. 1 year! What the fuck does it matter? I’m here right now! Either talk to me or cut the cord Mom.

So…No. I’m waiting for a story. Written from her own words. She can write it however she wants, but she has to tell me she’s sorry. Not only does she have to apologize, she has to tell my WHY she is sorry. And it wouldn’t hurt if she put a little more finishing touches on it either. I mean I just wrote a whole story for her. 

I’d like to feel something other than hatred for her. I’d like to know if there is someone inside that aged shell that used to be the center of my world. She can tell the story any way she wants, but I do have one condition: 

When she sends it to me she has to title it, “The crybaby and the little girl who couldn’t say she was sorry.” Don’t try to make sense out of it if you don’t understand. She’ll know what I’m talking about.

I know I’m an asshole, but if mothers are supposed to love their children unconditionally, then she should love that I’m such a big one. Right? It is Mother’s Day today, and I’m going to send her this story. I’m going to send it to a couple of other mothers in our family too! I’m the storyteller now. My mother can choose whether to listen to me or not, but I’m done being quiet. I love you mom. Even still. You fucking cunt. Happy Mother’s Day!

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