* ONE OF MY MANY LEAST FAVORITE MEMORIES.
I don’t remember how old I was to be honest. I know I was young, however, with this memory I see through these eyes. The eyes of a woman, set upon the face of a woman, managed with the precision & instinct owned only by a woman, the comprehension of a child.
It is of my strong personal belief, that the way a parent loves will affect the way a baby loves in life.
It is proven, scientifically (Rock A Bye Baby), that a creature raised without love will perish. In my opinion, there is no way to survive without some small glint of love. The tiniest hint of love gives birth to hope, hope encourages dreams and regardless of disclosure or environment all people have dreams. Dreams, by my experience, are our greatest talent. Upon the darkest of hours humans have relied on the power of dream to escape intense pain, we speak of dreams so that others may be encouraged, we pass on dreams in order to breed more dreams – dare to dream! Dreams are love discovered. Love is why we exist.
If you are willing, as an experiment in relating; close your eyes and remember … truly remember as a child, how you felt when you witnessed affection between parents. Mom and dad steal a kiss in the kitchen, maybe they were holding hands and walking side by side while you ran playfully around the park. Did you ever catch a glimpse? Maybe you have a favorite memory of your parents ‘just being’ together, talking or watching tv together. That memory of the two of them ‘just being’ feels like the definition of love, they are a childs first impression experiences. They have provided you with a visual definition. When you have that visual clear in your mind, that feeling of love and warmth, witness to your mom and dad in love, continue with this journey:
___ . ___ . ____
Peter, my birth father, was a US Postal worker in a small east coast town. For some reason, when your a child, the Mailman is like a celebrity! The Mailman (back then it was rarely a she, at least in my small town), he wore a sleek looking uniform that demanded he was a person of authority. The mail came at the same time every day, how did he do that? Peter kept his black shoes shined like a military man, his shirts never wrinkled, pants pressed crisp. He was a good looking man, looking back I’d say he probably traded his soul for looks to the man in the shiny red suit. I was proud of my dad’s job and one day he took me out for a drive on his route in his truck.
I know what you’re thinking, awwwe … that’s such a sweet dad thing to do! But, seriously, I earned this drive.
My dad went through a phase; every night he demanded his family pick him up from work – no matter the time, his kids would be woke, if it was late and they’d ride with mom to get him in their PJ’s – no matter.
During the drive home, Peter would ride shot-gun, mom would tell him all the bad things that the kids, now huddled in defense in the back seat, did that day. Bad things like eating cookies without permission or fighting with each other over a toy. Poor Peter was always exhausted from his hard day, desiring only rest and a joint, if it wern’t for his bad kids who disappointed him so he would have received his precious reward without interruption. He worked all day so we would have food in our stomaches and a roof over our head, AND THIS IS HOW WE REPAID HIM!
I really think he hated us. He would line us up in the kitchen like soldiers, we had to stand at attention. Peter would sit at the right side of the kitchen table blocking the escape to the bedrooms, Mom sat to the left of the kitchen table discouraging the escape routes to the basement or backyard. The beatings were always severe. Peter would take off his belt and take his time deciding who got beat first. There were three of us so he’d really play up the dramatics, he was good with the fear of god. Sometimes I thought I was gonna pass out just anticipating the beating.
He liked to use the buckle on our legs and ankles in winter, I didn’t mind that as much, I fucking hated being taken over the knee. It sounds sick to admit that I would prefer one beating technique over another but, there is a stragegy to taking a beating! Better to be attacked in a way you can protect yourself undetected. I was a natural at ballet (I’ll write about it some day) so when he’d strike us with the buckle it was while standing at attention, an ackward punishment but you could jump and dance through the assault – I’m telling ya, I only recieved like 70% of the blows. Over the knee is more relaxing for the parent, they can go longer and with greater force = physics my friends, physics.
Excuse me, I chuckled for a second over my imagery and ramblings.
I, on the line up the night before, did not receive a beating. When the law pointed it’s cold hardened finger my way, she couldn’t think of a damn thing I had done wrong. The Warden was so proud that he invited me to join him after lunch for a ride on his postal route and I went to bed spank free!
It was a really beautiful day on the road sitting in the back of his truck, I had to sit down so I wasn’t spotted because he wasn’t supposed to have me there. I just hung out in the bags with the smell of ink on paper and the lingering pasty tongue-licked envelopes. At the end of the day we stopped off to a diner for my favorite – chocolate milk shakes! I was such a happy little kid, just floating on cloud nine, I was feeling like my dad was really a good guy.
We strolled together up to the counter to sit on the stools.
I loved sitting up at the counter, it just felt so grown up! If I close my eyes I can almost see the menu’s and the maroon shade of the pleather booths. The waitresses wore cute pink and white uniforms with name tags and pony tails – their faces resembled my babysitter and the way she would look at me once my parents car had disappeared down the street. This one in particular waitress is really starting to fucking annoy me! Pardon, my France’ but I don’t like the way she is talking to my dad. I asked him, “Can we please go, I miss mom.”, without breaking eye contact from the skirt behind the counter he laughed me off and muttered, “Mom who” which earned him a giggle from the skirts pressure filled head. I wanted to grab her lips and stretch them thin like a balloon to see if she’d squeal while the air tried to escape.
The slut tries to bribe me off with extra whipped cream, no doubt the indulgent cause of her thunder thighs and rumble buns, I hate her! My mom is thin and more beautiful then this girl.
The slut is now on our side of the counter sitting to my left, to my right sits my father. They talk over my head, I hate him!
“I want to sit in a booth.” I declare and take action alone. Looking back to see my heart shattered on the path to my new seat. Behind me, Peter, my father, is kissing the strange waitress on the lips. He doesn’t kiss my mom that way ever.
My brain is S C R E A M I N G ! I want to scream but there is a bubble in my throat. I want to bash this girls fucking face in but my arms are aching, my fingertips hurt. My face is burning. My stomach is spinning and my knees are locked. Why can’t I move? Why didn’t I slap her in the face and tell her she’s a disgustingly unforgivable whore and I hope she dies a slow violent painful death! And to Peter; you are scum! You are the lowest of the low. An evil selfish little boy in man’s world. You let me down, you failed me, at a time when I needed you most. You were supposed to be my hero, the man I look for in my future was supposed to be shaped in your image. Do you know how long I have been suffering and for what? For you? Because of you? I am so ashamed. If you read this ever, I want you to know that I will protest to God and picket the Pearly Gates of Heaven for you. I will secure your eternal souls rest in Heaven among the angels, I will see you there and I will smile love in your direction, for I can see no greater reward for a demon then to sit in heaven without his sin to claim.
Eventually my protest broke the mood and we abandoned the bitch. It’s obvious I am crushed by what I saw but Peter acted like nothing happened. Before pulling into our neighborhood he announces casually that should I decide to be dramatic about today he’ll beat me so bad they won’t recognize me when they find me. I didn’t ask who ‘they’ were, I could only imagine that once translated from Asshole, ‘they’ were someone I didn’t want to find out about. I kept my mouth shut.
I began to suffer nightmares. Dreams of strange men showing up to my house, making out with my mother. Dreams of women I’ve never seen before in bed with my father. Dreams where I am trapped watching and I just want to run but my legs won’t work but when I look down I don’t have legs and everyone is laughing at me.
Music began stirring up random emotional outbursts. My parents would get so angry with me when I’d ask to change the radio station. The Fleetwood Mac song ‘Hold Me’ freaked me out inside. I knew that song was about a guy/gal who wanted another gal/guy and didn’t care what was going on her/his life or what time it was:
“I live just around the corner, if you’ve got a minute to spare, I’ll be waitin’ for you If you ever want to be there”
… I didn’t need the album cover to understand what I already knew they were talking about.
The words conjured up very physical sensations that made sense to my heart and broke it slowly. I was mad. It all bubbled to the surface after a long car ride with the family, a Billy Joel song called ‘Christie Lee’ was on the cassette that we had been listening to for the last 4 hours. I was so sick of hearing about this whore who led on a talented sax player only to break his heart when she refused to leave her man. The musician was an idiot and the woman should be shot – end of song, can we please listen to ‘I’m Movin’ Out Instead’ ? Peter threatened to back hand me if I didn’t quit my bitching about what songs we listen to and what songs we don’t. He reminded me that the world, his world, didn’t revolve around me. I called check mate and announced to the entire family that I was sick of listening to music that reminded me of the day I watched my father kiss his slutty waitress girlfriend at the diner. All my mom heard me say was ‘his slutty waitress girlfriend’ and ‘kiss’ – she didn’t hear the underlining fact that I was hurting inside. I don’t think she’d have cared even if I tried to explain it in layman’s terms.
Peter came after me like a tornado in a trailer park, if you’ve ever lived in a trailer park then you know exactly how real that analogy feels. He pulled the car over and before he could put it in park, I was out the door, running as fast as I could – away from the car, into a field. My mother intercepted his charge with fists of fire and a mouth that could further silence total silence. She protected me because she needed more fuel for the war she’d wage as soon as we got home and marked me as territory before God, in a field on the side of the road.
FORGIVE AND FORGET, EVEN WHEN IT DOESN’T FEEL FAIR . . .
In my 20’s, after one of my attempts to end my life, my birth father and his wife attempt to have a heart to heart with me. We are discussing memories that hurt in order to heal. I tell him about the waitress and the kiss, the music and the hurt I felt. As I sat there drowning in tears of pain and confession he looks me in the eye and says, “I don’t know what you are talking about ladybugg, that never happened.” He proceeded to educate me on the makeup of exacerbated childhood thought patterns and fantasy filled memories. He warned that childhood memories can’t be trusted, for they are the exaggerated, an overly dramatic result of half truths influenced by sensory overload in the learning process of life, but it rolled off his tongue like this,”Kids have wild imaginations and there is no way to tell what is real and what is an active fantasy from the mind of a stupid kid.” He was certain he has been to diners with me on several occasions and swore that he had never flaunted an affair or even so much as flirted with another woman in my presence.
Some day I may employ a hypnotherapist.