When I was first born my mother and father were married, but soon after they had split and couldn’t bare to see each other again. My sister and I were barely phased since we were so young, and i’ll admit that eventually I’ve grown to enjoy that they are separated, but because of the divorce my mother was single.
And we both know what that means.
The woman needed a leash. She was a waitress in Key West, she was high on cocaine through most of my adolescent years, and overall I was pretty sure she had no idea about my rather strengthening depression. She knew nothing about me till I started telling her things, and I’d only tell her to test if she’d remember. She never did.
As I grew up she seemed to stray away further, distracted by her constant search of things to make her happy.
I guess having her two children couldn’t do that.
We were always given the option to go live with our father, but he was living in a bit of poverty, so for the most part we hadn’t chosen that option. I remember that we used to threaten going to live with him and she’d just say “fine, go.” and take another sip of her beer. Those comments never ceased to destroy my self worth. If my mother couldn’t love me, who could? Small children are always more susceptible to their parent’s feelings, as an adult I could care less if she likes me, but as a developing child I was always a bit hurt by the fact that if their parent’s didn’t care, they shouldn’t either.
Because of this rough start I had begun to feel a wrath toward her very early on in life. Now you may be thinking I’m just some kid that hates her parents, but then again, my father is someone I look up to very highly. My mother has earned her hate.
Even before the drinking started I was very sure she had quite a bit of drug usage in her past and present. I never caught her actually lighting up or snorting, but I had enough stories from my father and enough residue found on the coffee table that I was sold on the idea. I don’t know that her doing drugs really bothered me as much as I say it does, it was more that she spent all of our money on it. When we already had so little. I would go three or four days without eating because there was nothing in the house, but she’d always have enough reefer in that little brown box. It seemed so unbalanced. The drugs didn’t only take away from our balance, but they also took away from my respect for her. It is literally impossible for a child to obey the authority of their parent when no respect is present. I couldn’t take a word she said seriously, since I felt so superior. She’d say something idiotic or repeat a story to me for the thousandth time, to the pint where I would start filling in blanks for her or just laughing. It became impossible for her to hold a conversation with me.
There was more than one instance where she’d begin to write a letter for me, to excuse me from school or give me permission to do something there. I remember an instance where I was in fourth grade and she had to write a note for me to bring my cat in a kennel for show-and-tell. I watched her write in her fancy cursive letters and felt a sort of respect because I had never been taught cursive. Yet when I took it from her and read it through, it was littered with spelling errors and grammar issues. Even as a fourth grader I could write better than she does.
The word spelled incorrect was “Kennel” she’d spelled it as “Kenal”
As unimportant as this sounds, it made a giant impact. I am a spelling bee enthusiast, and i’ve actually won quite a few of them. I knew my father was rather bright but no genius, so i’d always sort of assumed I got my smarts from my mother, but I realized I had romanticized the vision of her. She was nothing like I thought she was. True disappointment.
My mother had always been a very troubled woman. She had the idea in her head that she could not be alone. She always needed a man in her life, even if he treated her in the worst ways possible, as long as he was there. When a man was present it made her feel normal. It made her feel as if she was wanted in some way, and she always strived to take care of him.
The only problem I’ve ever had with this, is that she strived to find and take care of him, but neglected her kids.
I have evidence in my mind that this man was the sole reason that my mother truly learned to never take care of us. She didn’t have me through our entire youth, so i understood she may have felt a little estranged, but she was always too busy arguing with this man, that she never really took the time to question us. She was never home, and when she was she was fighting with him or napping in her room. I felt like a stranger in my own home, and I still don’t feel entirely comfortable around her. It was is fault that this was so, I just couldn’t look or feel toward her the same after I heard what happened between them oh so often. It was scarring.
I still shake anytime anyone ever shouts, I feel a paralyzing fear when I hear people argue above a debating level.
I know i’ll never get over this shock, since it hurt me when I was so young.
i’d be laying in my top bunk, my older sibling sleeping in the bunk beneath me. Sleep has always been something that I have difficulty with, and i’d be letting my eyelids slowly close when I’d hear a rumbling in the kitchen. The first sign was always a slew of swear words escaping my mother’s aggravated mouth. I could imagine her looking into the sink as her boyfriend walked away and sat in the living room. He’d turn the television on, and my mother would go in and begin to shout at him. She’d turn the television up in hopes that we wouldn’t hear them, but we always could. My sister and I would never look down at each other, laying still in our beds. Listening.
The worst night was a Wednesday in February. I remember only because it was the reason i’ve grown to hate Thursdays. It was also near my birthday, but in Key West the winter is difficult to differentiate from the summer. My mother and her boyfriend had been arguing all day, but mostly kept it low-key. My sister and I expected nothing to come of it except the usual, so we went to bed as we usually did. I was actually asleep this time when I suddenly heard a very loud crash. The pieces of glass hit against the outside wall of our bedroom, and from the caliber of the sound I knew that he had taken the glass off of the coffee table and broken it. I remember grabbing for my pillow and holding it over my head as I turned onto my stomach, crying into it in hopes that somehow they would hear. They didn’t. The argument escalated to a fight, where the occasional sound of a body hitting the floor or a fist hitting skin would meet our ears. I felt my entire frame shake beneath my blankets, and I couldn’t imagine how my sister wasn’t awake. I eventually had gotten out of my safety-net in my bed and went to the door, pressing my ear against it.
I wanted to call the police.
But I had no phone.
It was near two in the morning when my mother took the knife from the holder in the kitchen. she wielded it against him in warning. She’d threatened him before, but never so directly. I slid to the ground, my back against the door, focusing in silence. The sound of feet running through the hallway at top speed met me, and I heard her boyfriend run into the bathroom next to our room. He slid the pocket door closed and held it against her. The sound of the knife sticking into the door made me feel as if blood flow had ceased. I cried, but muffled it into my sleeve.
It became eerily silent for the merest moments and I knew he was dead or they’d given up.
so suddenly the sound of the knife dropping to the ground was heard and my mother began apologizing, I heard his voice, he wasn’t hurt or at least not seriously. He tried to coo her to calmness but just as he got close, his hand lashed out and struck her face. I knew it was so, since she fell back into my door. It would’ve opened had I not been sitting in front of it. I gave out a small shout, but she couldn’t hear it over her own noise. I heard the clank of the knife being picked up and my mother let out a scream. Running was heard going back toward the kitchen but just as her boyfriend began to follow after a loud knock was heard and the police kicked in the front door.
I moved out of the way of the door and let my eyes open as our door opened, a flashlight in my eyes. He questioned us, but I couldn’t speak. I was struck by the moment, struck by the fear of how escalated this fight had gone. Eventually we were escorted out of the trailer. I walked through the living room in my bare feet. what I had thought was just the coffee table was actually the coffee table into the aquarium, water staining the carpet. I would’ve looked for my fish, but it was too dark since they’d broken the lamps. The police man sat my sister and I in the back of m mother’s red vehicle, and asked us questions, still keeping that flashlight in our eyes. I didn’t give out much information, but what I could I made the pair look as horrible as possible.
This was the night i’d grown to realize that I’d never much liked my mother’s boyfriends.
I’d developed the idea that I would never forgive this man for the sleepless nights he plagued me with.
to this day I still don’t sleep much, I’ve actually developed a very severe case of insomnia that has never ceased to go away.
And because I feared for my mother’s life I began to fear for my own. constantly picturing one of her boyfriends barging in and just taking away my life.
I’ll lie awake for hours on end, fearing that somehow her and her new husband would start to argue.
I can’t hear someone yell without feeling a crippling fear.
My father had always been a very lonely man. Throughout my entire childhood I could never recall when he had a girlfriend for more than a week or two, and by all means, if he did the space of time between girlfriends would be years. It always seemed very normal to me. I had just assumed that he wasn’t interested in finding a girlfriend because he wasn’t lonely, he had us there to keep him company.
Little did I know, my father was harbouring a serious case of depression because of his lack of female company. Now, in my later life I can tell that this could’ve been told because he did work very often even when he didn’t need to. He tried to forget about his personal life by making money. He would go to work for hours upon hours and really spend more than half of his day down at the restaurant that he co-owned.
Eventually he did find a girlfriend, the woman was short, lean and actually pretty considering that he had always had trouble getting women. My sister and I didn’t mind her at first, though we were only introduced to her because she was moving in. I didn’t care, I lived with my mom mostly.
The more I got to know this woman, the more I became familiar with her villainy.
At first she wasn’t so bad, she was nice, and she seemed to really love my father.
I tried to ignore her drunken nights, because she seemed to make him happy.
Things began to go downhill once they began to not get along. They would fight constantly and although things never quite matched the escalation of my mom’s boyfriends, they got close. It was never my father that did the beating, she’d try to slap him and he’d just try to control her, never injuring her in any way. It was more so her throwing fits and breaking objects as opposed to actually attacking my dad one-on-one.
I ignored all of this for the most part. I still never told my dad that I hated the woman, even after I found out that she was an ex-stripper, and even after I found out that she had a child from a separate marriage. All I knew was that my dad loved this woman, so it wasn’t my place to say anything.
The day I finally lost my cool was the day when I was sitting in my father’s kitchen. We had moved from the island home up to this cold northern state, and I was just visiting for the weekend. I was eating some form of soup and my father was talking to me about poker. My stepmom came into the kitchen and began to talk harshly toward my father about something. I felt irritated to the point where I turned around,
“Can you just go away?” I was too perturbed by the fact that she had moved up here with my dad. She needed to be ditched before he moved, and yet she was not. She didn’t give me an answer immediately, looking toward my father as if he should scold me for saying such a thing. Once he didn’t stand up in her defense I got my answer.
“No, and i’ll have you know I’m not going anywhere,” she knew I wanted her gone, “I’m pregnant.” I remember the rush of fear that surged through me, my blood boiling to its furthest it could. My face flushed and I wanted to cry, but I didn’t. I simply shrugged and nodded looking at my father. “Cool, whatever.” and with that I simply got up from my seat at the table and made my way to the upstairs bedroom where I had previously cried my eyes out after the incident with my cousin. I didn’t know what to do with myself anymore.
I returned home to my mother’s and refused to answer my father’s calls. I tried to just block him from my life, but it was too difficult to do so.
I let him contact me again and I even mustered up the courage to go to her baby shower. I didn’t enjoy myself, but I tried my best.
It wasn’t just my pure hatred for children than really made me uncomfortable.
I hated the fact that she had hooked my father in, especially now since he’d knocked her up.
He couldn’t just tell her to leave.
He had a responsibility.
I still did my best to accept her, though I did this using the logic that if I just never saw her we wouldn’t have a problem. Only days later I found out that my mother was also pregnant, so let’s just say my world was rocked. I didn’t know how to react, so I didn’t. From that day forward I disconnected my faith in my family and still have yet to regain it. I just ignored their antics, their fights, and their love. I feel nothing toward them and the day I leave is the day I forget them.
A chapter of my Novella “I Ate KFC With a Nazi”