Tag Archive: life


Chapter 17-Part 2.

~Maybe things don’t happen for a reason. Maybe we’re just grasping for ways to make sense of the chaos around us. Maybe we’re giving meaning to things that have no meaning. Maybe we’re clinging to hope so hard that we forget about reality. What if we’re wrong and nothing is meant to be? We’re just lost souls wandering endlessly, desperately, seeking comfort from the notion that things will work out in the end no matter what. What if we’ve tricked ourselves into believing that everything will be okay in the end just so we don’t have to face the reality that maybe it won’t?”-Unknown

Man goes through the morning mist

I was filled with such rage and anger as I exited my mother’s car, pulling my bag of clothes up higher on my shoulder, I was so angry I couldn’t even see straight and as I made it to the door, I realized that I was crying. Tears had blurred my vision as I fumbled for the door, I was falling apart. Everything compounded into itself in that moment, I realized it all been a lie. The family, the love, the change I had been hoping for…had been all for naught. All the fights and battles I had with my father who disapproved of me trying to have a relationship with my mother and everything I had said and done to put the past behind me had all become undone and with it I was unraveling at the seams.

I don’t remember even walking into my house and I found myself just sitting at the kitchen table in tears with my grandmother doing her best to console me. I was broken, my heart feeling as though it were dashed against the rocks, my very soul ached. In one fell swoop, I had lost so much. My mother, my younger brothers and the older brother who had become my best friend, I even lost my computer with a lifetime’s worth of work saved away on the memory banks. My whole life seemed to be wrapped up in the day and torn apart in the most unexpected of ways. I was wounded.

I told her and my father everything and then I tried my one last life line, I contacted Dominic in hopes he could help me, be the voice of reason and to at the very least try to get my computer returned to me. At the time he acted like he had no idea of what was going on, insisting that I try to at least try and talk to Chris one last time. But he wasn’t taking my calls.

A card I got from my neighbor after she heard about what happened.

A card I got from my neighbor after she heard about what happened.

Later my brother’s then girlfriend called me, upset just as much, if not more than me. She told me, that my brother knew of what was happening before I even did, because Chris had called him and not once did Dominic defend me. Leaving me feel even more hurt and betrayed. Then she told me as he was screaming in the background and banging on the door for her not to tell me, but she does. She tells me his plan was to play dumb if I contacted him. Then she told me something else that I should be aware of, while I could hear my brother banging more fiercely on the door where she was, telling her to shut-up and how I, (his brother) Had no business hearing about other family matters. But she presses on, assuring me that at least believes in me and saw how I was being picked on and bullied and pushed further into a corner. Because she had met me on numerous occasions and got a sense of who I was. Plus she had seen and heard me helping him out on numerous occasions. She knew of the times I loaned him money so he could pay his bills, she knew that I often gave him gas money which he never asked for whenever we hang out and she saw the window Air-conditioning unit I had given him when I found out his apartment didn’t have air.

Then she told me that a month or two prior Chris had went behind my mother’s back and secretly asked her sister to borrow five hundred bucks, which she declined and then told my mother. The secrecy of his actions and how he refused to tell her why he needed the money nearly resulted in their divorce. But they had somehow managed to patch things up. This was why she was leaving my brother and why she was calling me now, because she believed this to be the reason why this was happening to me now and how disappointed she was in my brother for turning his back on me now.

I found this card when I was going through a old shoe-box. She was in tears when she heard about what happened.

I found this card when I was going through a old shoe-box. She was in tears when she heard about what happened.

By Christmas day I fighting a losing a battle and more than once I had made calls to my brother, my mother and step-father. My last conversation with my mother was her telling me how careful Chris was with his money and how he had cashed his check and was going to put into the bank when he discovered he was missing the money. So naturally I called her out, telling her how that didn’t make any sense, because if I were to cash my check at a bank, I would deposit whatever money I needed to while I was there. I wouldn’t wait two or three days just because. But my mother ignored my words, instead she resorted back to her old ways, telling me about the things I had done wrong or lied about back when I was a kid. Then I told her she was leaving with little choice, but to file a police report against them. The last thing my mother told me before I hung up, was,

“Do whatever you have to do,” and I hung up on her and it was the last I had ever spoken to her.

That night, I got a message from my brother, telling me that Chris was talking about destroying my computer; he then told me I needed to call and talk to him. But Chris was screening my calls and when my younger brother picked up the phone and gave it to Chris; he hung up without ever hearing a word I had to say. So that night my father took me to the state-trooper’s office.

Where I met Sergeant Scott Davenport, when I first met Mr. Davenport and I started telling him my story, he cut me off and told me this was something I would have to take up with my mother. So with a heavy sigh, I shook my head, feeling defeated and believing Chris had been truthful about the whole domestic dispute thing and feeling frustrated, I told the sergeant that I had been trying, but they weren’t taking my calls. I even demonstrated this by attempting to call him then and there, handing him the phone so he could hear them picking up the phone and hanging it up.
It was then the Sergeant asked me to tell my story again and this time he listened intently, and when I told him my step-father was Chris Hankins recognition let his eyes, as he said,

On numerous occasions I babysat her kids, dog-sat for her and even house sat.

On numerous occasions I babysat her kids, dog-sat for her and even house sat on more than one occasion.

“Chris, yeah I know,” and his hopes immediately dashed my hopes as I thought,

(Oh of course you do)

But the Sergeant motioned me to continue and when I got to the part where I offered to get Chris 300 hundred dollars from my own checking account, he stopped me, and asked me to repeat what I had just said, so I did.

“Wait a minute,” He asks, “You accused you of stealing 300 hundred dollars, and you offered to get him that same amount and he refused?”

“Yes,” I confirmed.

“Hmm, well that changes everything now,” He exclaimed, shaking his head, “So why do you think he declined your offer?”

“Well because my computer is worth a lot more than three hundred bucks,” I told him.

The Sergeant who I think had to have seen and experience all manner of things, seemed genuinely taken aback by the revelation, telling me that I was a better man than him and he wouldn’t have offered him shit. He then tells me to sit tight and he was going to get a hold of Chris. But before he could go I stopped him and pulled my receipt for my computer out of my pocket and said,

“Hey, you may need this, in case he tries to claims it his.”

Mr. Davenport smiles and giving me a nod of approval he says,

“Wow, you keep good records and you’re right, this will help,” and with that he turns to return to his desk when I hear him making a few calls in order to get a hold of my step-father. It takes about ten minutes, and when he does I hear the following.
“Hello Chris, I have your step-son here and he says you stole something of his,”

A brief pause when I hear him say,

“Chris is an HP laptop?”

“Well then, I’m pretty sure it isn’t yours…..because your son has the receipt and I’m holding it right here and I’m looking right at it.”

“No, I don’t care what you THINK he did and you know the law, even if you had saw him did, took photos or even caught it on video, you can’t take someone’s else’s property and you know it’s illegal to do so.

(This apparently made Chris very angry, because then the officer’s next response was, )

“Well if you smash it, or damage it in any way, you’re liable for whatever happens and you’ll have to pay for whatever you break on that laptop and if that means you have buy him a brand new computer of equal cost you will and I’ll make sure of it.”

There was another brief pause, until I heard the Sergeant say,

“No, you’re half right, you will return it, but you’ll bring it here and I’ll give it to him, I don’t you want you to go anywhere near this kid,“ Then sarcastically he adds, “Oh and thank you for being so mature about this.”

Mr. Davenport returns to me shaking his head,

“Wow, your step-dad is a piece of work, but he will be dropping your computer off in the morning, but on the off chance he doesn’t call me,” He says handing me his card, “And I will personally go down and get your computer back.”

A snowman my cousin and I made a year later.

A snowman my cousin and I made a year later.

He then asked if I’d be willing to file an official report when I return to retrieve my property, which I agree to. I was tired of the all the childish games and wanted Chris to answer for at least a little of what he’s done.

The next day, I return with my father to state-troopers office and I discover that Chris is yet again refusing to return my property. Which infuriates and baffles me beyond belief, he had already been caught in a few lies, admitted to have stolen my computer, but was still acting like a child by refusing to do what he had been told to do. So I’m all too happy to oblige when the officers ask to take me for my statement. At this point I’m beginning to feel like a broken record as I go over my story again. They ask me the same questions as the Sergeant and they seem just as taken aback as he was and they seem just as annoyed with my step-fathers prepubescent childlike behavior as I was. So they go over his head, to the chief of Williams Town police to force Chris to return my computer or risk his job.
About fifteen minutes later Chris finally relents and comes in to speak to the officers, as well as to return my laptop, finally!

The officers are quick to escort me out and around the building afraid of what would happen if Chris saw me, or I him. My father is still in the waiting room as one of the officers leads me back to my dad’s car. He tells me they’re going to take his statement and that he’ll return with my computer.

Almost as soon as he disappears, I see my dad returning to the car with my computer in hand and relief washes over me. But I see he’s also angry and he opens the car door to hand me my laptop back, and tells me to make sure everything is there, heading back into the station.

The cop who had taken my statement returns then and climbs into the car with me, he tells me both Chris and Sergeant Davenport from the night before had confirmed everything I said, but Chris had no excuse as to why he refused my three hundred dollars when I had offered to him. The cop then asks me to turn on my computer and he sits with me as it boots up and as I check everything. Fortunately no damage had been done and everything was still in full working order. Then paranoid, I search through all the bags and compartments of my computer, making sure all my items were there and to be sure he hadn’t planted anything in my belongings, fortunately he hadn’t.

The officer then tells me that Chris wants me to take a lie detector test and I don’t think twice before answering, I agree because I had nothing to hide. Plus I figured it’d be more ammunition for the investigators to use against my step-father. The officer looks conflicted and tries telling me that I don’t have to, that if I decline it wouldn’t be by any means an admission of guilt. He tries to talking me out of my decision, but I stand firm. Because I’m angry and because I’m tired of always being made out to be the bad guy. I wanted to pull my mother’s and step-father’s truth out into the light and let everyone see the kind of people they really were.

Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken

Face your life, its pain, its pleasure, leave no path untaken

Yet, my desire for to be vindicated and to have some sense of validation, would lead to more pain and discourse. I know now in hindsight that I had acted impulsively and without thinking.  I had even called my brother to update him on what happened, telling him I had agreed to the lie-detector, but all he could do was blame me for causing so much pain and turmoil in the family. It broke my heart hearing how he already made up his mind about me and he had forgotten everything he had known or had learned about me. He had me judged since the beginning, from before any of this even started. It’s true what they say, a lie will travel twice around the world, while the truth, is still putting on its shoes.

I found it odd how everyone could see the truth, everyone but my mother, my brother and the family who used to tell me how much they loved me growing up, their words I discovered had been hollow.

It took them weeks to finally get them around to giving me the polygraph, time that only caused all my negative thoughts and feeling to fester. Nightmares haunted me on most nights, while on others I dreamt of revenge, of making them regret everything they had done to me and put me through. I wanted my mother’s and step-father’s lives to fall apart, for my brothers to see the truth.

I suppose they had hoped the time between everything would cause me to calm down, but it did everything but. I was angry all the time, hurt, depressed and consumed by all these negative thoughts and feelings.

But when it rains it pours, the night before my polygraph was the beginning of the end for my grandmother who lived with my father and myself. She had fallen on her way to bed in the middle of the night and couldn’t get up. Fortunately my cousin Derek was there to hear her, who after failing to help her up, came and woke me. Together both he and I tried helping her back to her feet, but my grandmother God rest her spirit was obese and neither of us could get her up and I was afraid to pull too hard up on her in fear that I would tear her skin, because she was also a bit frail.

My proof that despite your struggles, you will find your smile again and with friends.

My proof that despite your struggles, you will find your smile again and with friends.

Out of options, I had to wake my father and then the three tried to get her up. Even with the three of us working together all we could do was get up, but just barely and but the strength had left my grandmother’s legs so even after we stood her up, she couldn’t stand or walk under her own.

Out of options, with my grandmother crying, we had no other choice but lay her back down, but on her back, instead of on her knees. Then much to my grandmother’s disapproval we had to call an ambulance, which only made her cry even more. She hated feeling so helpless.

Yet, I found myself overwhelmed by the outpouring of love our neighbors showed us, showed to me when they saw the ambulance loading my grandmother up into the back of their truck.

People I barely even knew were coming up to me, asking me if she was okay, hugging me and crying in my arms, while the paramedics took my grandmother to the hospital for observation,  leaving me wondering if she’ll be okay, or if she’ll ever be able to walk again.

Later that morning, I had to go in for my polygraph and on a whim; I asked the officer taking me what he thought my chances were of getting an apology if or when I pass. He shook his head and told me I shouldn’t hold my breath, then told me that no matter the outcome I should simply stay away, because a family shouldn’t ever do or put a son through everything they were putting me through. His words gave me something to consider….Realizing that he was right, all of this was wrong and never should have happened.

Now for those of who you never had a polygraph before, it’s not quite like what you see on TV. You get lead into a small room; they have a specialized chair for the polygraph against the wall, a pad on the floor to make sure you don’t move your feet in attempt to fool the polygraph. (Apparently shifting your feet while you’re hooked up to one of these can be an admission for guilt, so I was already getting nervous, by feeling like I’d have to be perfectly still or this thing would think I was lying.)

But before you’re hooked up into this chair, you’re briefly interviewed; my technician was an older gentleman, with an air of arrogance about him. When he asked if I had any questions or concerns about a polygraph, I told him my fear, which I think everyone has, which is telling the truth and have it think you’re lying. However the Technician was quick to explain all the technical stuff as if to assure me. When I along with everyone else knows that these machines aren’t admissible in court for a reason, we’ve heard it all our lives, or at least I had.  But according this gentleman the reason was just a technicality.

That's me in the Assassins Garb. Sometimes you just have to step outside yourself, lose yourself, have fun, even if think you'll a little foolish.

That’s me in the Assassins Garb. Sometimes you just have to step outside and focus more on the present and say to hell with anyone who may think you look a little foolish, happiness is found in the moment and memories last forever.

(It wasn’t until much later that I decided to do some homework, discovering the reason why polygraphs weren’t admissible in court. Which is they can give false positives and false negatives, especially when an even in question is emotionally stressful.

Then comes the interview.

Technician: “Have you ever taken a polygraph before?”

Me: “No.”
Tech: “Have you ever been arrested?”
Me: “Nope”

Tech “You ever gotten a ticket for speeding, parking or anything?”

Me: “Believe it or not, no, I tend to stay of trouble.”

Tech: “Well what about school, have you ever been in trouble at school, detention, or anything?”

Me: “Nope, I always kept my head down in school as well.
Tech: So, how honest of a person are you? One being you’re a compulsive liar, you can’t help but lie, with ten being you never told a lie.

Me: Well, I’m not perfect or anything, but I’m a pretty bad liar so I kind of got in the habit of telling the truth, so I’d say about a seven, or an eight?

Tech: “Oh? So I guess you’re just Mr. Perfect huh?” he says throwing his arms up in the air, “I guess you don’t even need to be here because you’re honest Abe, you never told a lie in your life. You’re just Mr. Honestly now aren’t you?”

Immediately I realize I’m in trouble, and that this guy was a royal douche. I realize I should have got up and left then, but I figured I had come this far, and it would make no sense for me to back out now. Plus I had promised my brother I would do this and I was determent to see this through to the bitter end.

So I immediately jump on the defensive explaining and reiterating what I had said and that I had occasionally lied to spare someone’s feelings, or to get out of work so I could hang out with my best friend who was on leave from the Marine Core, etc. (Just imagine that scene from Goonies when Chunk is confessing everything he did wrong to the Fratellis when they were threatening to put his hand in a blender. Because for a minute there I was channeling Chunk, confessing to every white lie I ever told and the reason I had.”the_fratellis-300x185

After the tech manages to shut me up, he asks me to sit in the chair and begins strapping in and I immediately begin freaking out. I know because he tells me as he looks at his instruments. He takes a few minutes telling me to relax and seems irritated by how long it takes for me to calm my frayed nerves.

Once calmed, he asks me a few practice questions and instructs me to intentionally lie at least once to calibrate his instruments. After a few more moments, he asks if I’m ready. I’m not, but I say yes anyway just to get this over with.

He proceeds asking me yes or no questions about that night and I find myself reliving it in my mind all over again, it’s like watching a bad movie on repeat. I feel my blood beginning to boil as he walks me through the night asking me yes or no questions about the day in question. My heart is pounding in my chest like a jackhammer. The tech asks me about the money and all I hear are Chris’s threats, his finger poking me in the chest, the force of him shoving me, throwing me against the wall. My voice is trembling as I answer.

The tech tells me to calm down, but I can’t and again he asks about the money and my thoughts race. I’m recalling every instance when I was a kid and had to take money from his wallet for lunch at school, or when I was younger how I would take a few pennies, (because I collected pennies) Then my thoughts were all over the place, I was psyching myself out, worse I couldn’t stop. My thoughts were everywhere, as my mind replayed the events over and over in my mind, making me feel sick and angry all at once.

Then it’s over and he’s unhooking me and he tells me he’s going to return with my results.

When he returns, he’s acting all cocky as he tells me I’ve failed the test and how he believes I was guilty. He tries making me confess, but I refuse insisting on my innocence, but he laughs and shakes his head, telling me how his machine says otherwise.

To help keep things light, here's me and my best friend & fellow writer on the catwalk.

To help keep things light, here’s me and my best friend & fellow writer on the catwalk.

My heart sinks, I don’t know what to think and I feel numb and that’s where I’ll end this story. I’ll leave it up to you to decide and choose what you believe or don’t. I will tell you that years later my brother and I briefly spoke and after he got done with his accusations and I informed him that I was innocent he asked me to take another test and prove it. Which to be honest I had thought about, but then I realized it was too late. I told him it would change or fix anything, even if I passed, you or them would insist I take it again, and again, because if the first one was wrong, so could be the second, or the third. Even if they accepted the results of a second or third test, it wouldn’t fix anything. It’s been six years, six years since I had any contact with any of them. (except for my brief heated exchanges with Dominic, or the one time little Christian contacted me to tell me how much he missed me and how much he wanted me to call to make peace with the family. But I couldn’t, not after all that’s happened. Not after I lost a family. I would forever be marked as the black sheep; I would never have their trust just as they will never have mine.

My mother and her family would only see the worst in me, judging me for everything I done wrong since the very day I was born. Truth is, I’ll never know if she really changed, if she had anything to do with what happened or not. Sadly I don’t think I’ll ever know, but I do sometimes wonder if I’ll ever hear from her again, if the truth about that day will ever come out and if I would hear about it if does.

I know my mother wasn’t perfect, and the situation sucked. But walking away was still one of the hardest choices I ever had to make. I lost my family days before Christmas and to this day the pain of losing everyone like that still hurts. That being said, I know my older brother was adamantly against me sharing this story, my story with the world. Nothing against him, he can be protective and loyal to a fault. But this needed to be shared and I needed to talk about it, to get the truth as I know it out. But it was C. Joybell, who said,
               “The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”
Even when it was over, I was still miserable, drowning in a sea of depression, hearing everyone tell me,

“Hey, bad things happen,” or, “Hey, you’ll get over it.”

And Man, have I grown to hate that phrase, “You’ll get over it,” is a cliché that only causes trouble.

At the mall with friends who helped me heal.

At the mall with friends who helped me heal.

When you’re hurt, suffering from that pain of losing someone, or something that meant so much to you, there’s never any getting over it. Losing someone you love is to alter your life forever and you never get over it, because “it” is the person or persons you loved. Yeah, the hurt eventually stops, but it’s a long and hard road that cannot be rushed, or quickly forgotten. It takes time to heal, time to decide when to pick up the pieces and try to putting those pieces of your life back together. To regain some semblance of self, it takes time and patience.

I know you and others may have suffered worse loss, or pain, but that was your battle, for me, my battle and my loss had hit the hardest, because it was happening to me. When you become as broken as I was back then, it takes a long time stop feeling miserable, betrayed and depressed, time to stop thinking about killing yourself, and to finally stop being so angry all the time. And Eventually, I decided to stop being the victim and overcome my past and this horrible thing that happened just before Christmas.

At the park with another friend I've met along the way

At the park with another friend I’ve met along the way

But since then I’ve learned you have to let go. You have to release the hurt. Otherwise it will own you forever and you’ll never escape. You need to have the strength to fight back and take your life back. Dare, dare to take that first big step. Dare to take chances and to have hope, to dream, to be brave enough to live your life and remember the human heart can be disheartened by the most unreasonable self-judgments, because even when we take on giants, we too often confuse failure with fault, which I know all too well. The only way back from such a bleak despondency is to shape humiliation into humility, to strive always to triumph over the darkness while never forgetting that the honor and the beauty are more in the striving than in the winning. So when triumph comes at last, our efforts alone could not have won the day without that grace which surpasses all understanding and which will, if we allow it, imbue our lives with meaning. I’ve experience true darkness and the pain of suffering in despair, which lead me down a path beyond my own moral ambiguity, where hatred and anger threatened to consume everything that I was. It took a long time for me to put the anger and my pain to rest. But the scars will always be there, reminding me of what was and what might have been, thinking back about my family I know it wasn’t always so bad, things happen, people change, some lie to themselves or accept half-truths because they fear what they will otherwise see, or find hidden there in their reflection. Becoming afraid of the avenues the truth would lead them and what it would mean when the truth is finally uncovered.

The rest of my new family

The rest of my new family

Matt and his lovely wife, who have become my family.

Matt and his lovely wife, who have become my family.

But yes new people had since come into my life, friends and other loved ones who refused to let me just drift away, which for a while, was something I tried to do. I couldn’t bring myself to grow close with anyone, out of fear of the hurt they may bring. Because the gap never closes, how could it? The particularness of having someone who matters enough to grieve over is not erased by anyone, or anything but death. I can tell you that this hole in my heart is in the shape of the family whom I lost but will never forget. Those I’ve opened my heart too and forgave time and again. Just so they could dig a little deeper, making the betrayal hurt all the more. To be honest, these holes, no one else will ever fill. Not Matt, his loving and adoring wife and not their three unbelievable and magnificent children who’ve grown to call me Uncle Josh. Who have their own place in my heart and as much as I love them, they will never fill the holes left by the family that once was. Why would I want them, or anyone else too? Because there is never getting over it, not really, of course, the wounds can and may eventually close and scab over becoming the very scars that make up who were are, reminding us of our journey on this crazy path called life.

Matt dealing me but a flesh wound Christmas 2012

Matt dealing me but a flesh wound Christmas 2012

My scars will always be there. Sometimes I lay awake at night, thinking about those I’ve lost, the ones who went away, who I’ll never see again, the ones I still love and wonder how they’re doing. I feel robbed of the chance to see my younger brothers grow up into men, and of being there for my older brother when he met the woman of his dreams. I’ve lost half my family in less than a day and for the longest time I did whatever it took to distract me from the pain of losing them.

But now, I try and live as much for tomorrow as I can and on some nights I still pray that someday my name will be cleared and I’ll receive that call and hear that heartfelt apology that follows. Imagining how we’ll talk, cry and catch up on all the things we missed in each other’s lives. I pray for the truth to finally come out. But all I really know for certain is what I’ve shared with you here. Which is all the truth I know and as well as I know it. But that was then, that was me looking to the past and now I’m tired of looking back, so from here on now and every day, I look back and think “look how far I’ve come.”And that’s what keeps me going.
-J Cooper.alone in the woods

Scars of Who We Are Chapter XVI

Chapter 16.  You don’t expect these things to happen. No one asks to be alone. Some get used to it, some pretend to be used to it, and others are a walking work of destruction. They never saw it coming, and neither did I, but I won’t tell you that…

FudPuckers

FudPuckers

To his credit my older brother, Dominic never gave up on trying to heal the rift between me, my mother and her family. Frequently talking to both sides, or talking me down whenever I had enough of being used, or spoken down to, causing me to throw my hands up and walk away. Usually this would come whenever I realized that speaking to my mother somehow always made me depressed and making any victory I had feel like defeat. When I got my first promotion at the library and my pay jumped from 6:50-8:50 an hour, which included benefits, paid time off etc. But she expressed only disappointment, telling me I shouldn’t be proud of the meager wage I was pulling down and that should aim higher, by finding a place where I could work 80 hours a week and make 17 dollars an hour, as oppose to being paid my 8.50 and hour, for thirty hours a week.May not sound like much, but the library was the only place I could find who would hire me and I had went everywhere, everyday looking for a job, putting in resume’s and filling out applications. I was immensely proud of myself and the recognition I had received for being a hard and diligent worker.

Dominic my older brother

Dominic my older brother

Worse was when she would try to dash my dreams. Telling me how my writing was a joke and that no one ever gets rich by writing. Instead she insisted I find other and find more worthwhile pursuits. Often insisting I follow in my Dominic’s footsteps and be more like him. But despite all we had in common, Dominic and I had different interest and viewpoints of the world, so despite my mother’s insistence I couldn’t bring myself to be anyone else, but myself and I always preferred forging my own path and not following someone else’s, I wanted my failure or success in this life to be my own and no one else, my victories would be my own, as well as the loses.

So all in all my brother had his work cut out for him, but he never gave up on the idea that we could all still be family, so I know it wasn’t easy and as much as I found myself clashing with my mother, or her sister, I also did my best to make things work, which my father strongly disapproved of, he didn’t see why I would risk and give so much of myself to someone who had showed me so much pain. He never did understand why I wanted to reconnect with my mother and this part of my family, despite all the numerous times that I’ve told him that hate was just baggage and if you don’t let it go, it’ll only weigh you down. Plus I saw my father and the all the anger he carried around with him over the past and often he seemed to still live there in the past, bringing up how my mother ruined his life, or how horrible of a person she was, without ever just letting it go, the pain, the hurt and all the anger. And I refused to live my life with such bitterness over the past, I saw a chance to heal the wrongs, believing that everyone has the potential to change and they change all the time.

I wanted to believe in my mother’s change, I wanted to believe she was different and was trying, and that things were getting better. But the clouds of time seems to rain on all the innocence left behind and the past, the past never goes away.

Me as a newborn.I look at this photograph sometimes wondering...

Me as a newborn. I look at this photograph sometimes wondering…

  Despite all my reservations and the snags we had along the road I did my best to wear a brave face, swallowing more than I should have. But my brother had warmed me to the idea of healing our family and the fantasy of finally coming together a family and as one should. So I did my best to ignore all the little things that bothered me, instead I chose to be ever the optimist, because what I wanted was a family.

It wasn’t until late July of 2007 when the cracks began to show. It started with my mother talking me into taking a family vacation with them, because they were planning to head down to Destin Florida. At the time money was a bit tight and I was hesitant to go and was leaning towards saving up and paying off some debt so I could look into the possibility of getting my own car. I don’t know how she did it, but she eventually talked me into joining them.

In hindsight, probably should have backed out when she added the stipulation that I needed to pay my share of the overall cost, rounding up to about a hundred and fifty bucks. But when I raised the issue that money was a little tight as it were, she gilded me into couching up the money anyway, which left me wondering how much money I would have for the actual trip itself.

To add to my reservations, my mom’s sister decided to tag along at the last minute and I for couldn’t stand being around her as it was. She was always on my case more than my mother was, complaining to me about my style, my hair, job and no matter what I said or did, she always ready to tell me how I never did enough for the family. But nothing I ever did was ever good enough for her and saw only the worse in everything I did. It didn’t matter to her how many times I dropped everything to babysit my little brothers, or how many times I helped clean her pool, nothing I did wasn’t ever enough. So the addition of her coming along on our trip didn’t exactly thrill me.

From left to right. Christian, Caleb, My mother, Chris, and my Aunt.

From left to right. Christian, Caleb, My mother, Chris, and my Aunt.

If not for the quality time I got to spend with Dominic and my little brothers, the trip would have been one of the worse experiences of my life. Not only did I get spoken down to for the majority of the trip, I also got treated like a servant. Which I know I could have put my foot down and flat out refused, but my mother and my aunt wouldn’t let anything go. They’d scream and scream, tell me how ungrateful I was and put me on the biggest guilt trip of the likes I never seen. Things came to a head by the end of the trip, when my Aunt asked to see a souvenir cup I had picked up for my father, calling it stupid before letting it fall and shatter on the pavement. Then to my shock both her and my mother laughed at it and harder at me when I finally got angry and told her she’d had to pay me back. But she refused, telling me I shouldn’t have wasted my money on something so fragile and cheap. Then at my Brother’s insistence I begrudgingly dropped it and let the matter go.

About a week after we came back, I started getting calls and text, telling me how I owed them another hundred and fifty bucks, even though I personally handed my step-father the money before we even left for Florida and when I told him to ask Dominic about it, because he was there, Chris, my step-father finally let it go, telling me then that it may have been Dominic who hadn’t yet paid him and for a time after swearing to never go on another family vacation, things started to finally settle back down. My mother even apologized for the trip, telling me she never meant to invite her sister, but felt bad for her when she asked, because her marriage was becoming rocky. Then she attributed  her bad attitude to me on her sister’s influence, apologizing that as well and even tried to convince me that my Aunt and brother rarely ever got along either. I wanted to believe her, so I did, little did I know the storm was already brewing on the horizon and I had no idea of the chaos it would bring with it.

~”Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”   ~Haruki Murakami

By November of that year, things finally started looking up for me, I finally got the promotion at the Library, which I finally got on my third attempt and even still it came quite unexpectedly, being that it was down to me and a girl who had been there three years longer than me, who even I thought deserved it more, from experience alone and the fact she was and still is more knowledgeable than me. (But when another position in the department opened up, I went to bat for her and now her and I work together in the same position.)

The library where I work

The library where I work

So with Christmas being right around the corner, I thought what better way to celebrate, than to give everyone in my family a good Christmas. To say I merely got into the Christmas spirit would be an understatement. In my joy, I dragged out all of my father’s and grandmother’s Christmas decorations, (something we hadn’t done in two years) I wanted to surprise them since they were both away at some Christmas Play. I still remember how it was freezing rain as I decorated the outside of our house and once finished, I came inside to put up our Christmas tree. I even managed to talk my dad’s family into having Christmas at our house. Then, I spent the weeks leading up to Christmas buying nice gifts for a change. Because I always hated having only been able to buy small, and cheaply priced presents for my family. But this year was different, this year I got a raise and more hours, so I made sure to buy everyone in my family nice presents, I would leave no one out.

For my mother had gotten really into Pandora beads, I went out hunting at four different stores, picking out the perfect Pandora bead, choosing six, one to represent each of us four boys and two that resembled her two standard poodles. For my step-father who loved all things John Deere, I found a limited edition John Deere pocket watch; my little brothers got a collection of Star-wars toys and books. And because my older brother wanted a tiki mask I got him that. I got presents for everyone on both sides of my family, which did put me a little in the hole, but I didn’t care. I figured I’d be able to pay off my debt soon enough and besides it’d be worth it, worth to finally be able to step-up and give my whole family a good Christmas, leaving no one out, for I had learned that often it’s been the thought that counts.

My younger brother Christian

My younger brother Christian

Then came the hard part, dividing my time so that I could spend an equal amount of time with both families, so neither would feel like I was choosing one over the other and since I had a lot of time off saved up, I was able to take two weeks off work.  The plan was to spend the first week of my vacation at my mom’s and with her family, allowing me to spend some quality time with her and my little brothers, then I planned to return home in the evening of Christmas Eve, since both sides of my family celebrated Christmas on same day.

Since I still didn’t have a car, I still had to rely on my mother to give me a ride, since I couldn’t exactly take my grandmother’s car for a week, (I often had to work around her schedule in such things) So my mother agreed to come get me that day after work and as she pulled into the driveway I was beaming. I couldn’t help but feel like Santa Clause with huge bag of gifts I had for everyone, feeling like I finally was able to contribute to the festivities of Christmas gift giving. With me I brought my bag of clothes, along with my laptop and a few books, being that I was a night-owl and needed something to do besides watch TV after everyone else had went to sleep. And I had hated trying to use my mother’s computer since it was always bogged down with malware, from my older brother constantly using it to download music from LimeWire, thus making the computer incredibly difficult to use.

Plus with my laptop I could always get a little writing done and had managed to transfer everything I had ever written onto it, so it was a great resource for me to use and go through whenever I was kicking around ideas for something to write about, or for the times when I wanted to revisit and old story of mine. Also, I enjoyed being able to stay connected with my friends via messenger.

Strangely though, instead of a sense of excitement, I felt a strange sense of apprehension as I neared my mother’s car. I didn’t know it, but I couldn’t help but feel as though something was wrong, off in a way I couldn’t quite describe. However, I was still excited to see everyone and to watch the look on their faces for when they unwrapped what I had gotten them. So I pushed the feeling of apprehension aside, loaded up my mom’s car and hopped in.

My Youngest brother Caleb.

My Youngest brother Caleb.

My mother in the past use to take this time when we were driving together to catch up and to talk about me, the family and what’s been going on. Occasionally she would try to talk me into moving back home and even though our relationship had improved from what it once was, I couldn’t bring myself to it. But today however was different, for we she spoke very little and after repeatedly failing to initiate a flowing conversation with her, she eventually got on her phone to speak with my step-father. So I rode the rest of the way in silence, just staring out the window, never knowing I would never come this again and I did I wouldn’t be the same person I was. I was happy, full of hope and excitement over all the presents I had brought with me.

Pulling into the garage, dread crept steadily into my heart and this place that I once called home, felt strangely alien to me, like I didn’t belong. But then my little brother’s and my mother’s dogs, came pouring into the garage, all excited to see me, so again I squelched the feeling of foreboding as I exited the cars to meet my younger brothers and to pet my mother’s dogs.  Even as I got my things, my mother didn’t seem to want much to do with me as she immediately went upstairs, while I stayed downstairs to be with my little brother’s the dogs, playing with all of them.

In the days that followed, I kept trying to spend time and converse with my mother and step-father, but found myself practically stone-walled on every attempt, with them acting like they didn’t really want, or like having me around, but they didn’t exactly treat me unkindly either, nor were they really welcoming either. It was more borderline if anything and my gut kept trying to tell me something was wrong and I should leave. But I couldn’t think of a suitable excuse to go home, other than I felt like I should. So I stayed.

Four days before Christmas, things got even weirder. I awoke to a call my grandmother checking up on me and asking if I was okay, expressing concern for me and that Lord had told her to call. I did my best to assure her I was okay and would be okay until Christmas, but I did express how I felt strangely homesick and my desire to leave and she offered to come and get me I declined. Still I believed it was all in my head and that it was nothing I should concern myself with.

Later that day, I was hanging out downstairs, typing away at my computer, waiting for my brothers go get home from school, when my step-father came inside from the garage talking on his phone,

“Oh yeah, it’s really nice, I think he spent 1,800 dollars on it,” I heard him say, as he walked over to me and glanced down at my computer.
“You spent about 1,800 on your computer right?” He asked.

I remember thinking it was a bit weird that he was suddenly taking an interest in the cost of my laptop and why it seemed important enough to tell the person on the phone exactly how much it was worth, but I shrugged it off, thinking maybe he was wanting to get my mother one for Christmas, so I corrected him without question, telling him that it only set me back about 1,300, he walked away before I had the chance to tell him that mine was a little cheaper since it was the floor model, but shrugged it off and went back to work as he told the person on the phone the corrected amount and how nice it was, that I took really good care of it, etc. Which had all struck me as a bit odd, but I had yet to begin piecing everything together, for I didn’t yet see the storm that was brewing on around me.

The pending storm.

The pending storm.

That night I was up late, working on an article I was asked to write by an acquaintance who was working to publish a book of short stories by unknown authors. It wasn’t until 3 am, that I finally went to bed.

By seven I was being woken up by my Chris, asking me about some money he had lost. I grumbled that I hadn’t seen it and that I was sorry and attempted to go back to sleep. Minutes later, he returned, flipping the bedroom light, forcing me to shield my eyes with the back of my arm.

“Hey, I’m missing about three hundred dollars,” he says, and half-asleep, I can think of nothing else, but tell him again that I was sorry and that I seen it, suggesting that maybe my mother had taken it.

He assured me she hadn’t and proceeded to ask for my wallet. Grumbling I roll over and pull my wallet from behind a picture on the nightstand and hand it to him, in uniform, (He’s a cop) and I see he’s on the phone and it takes me a few minutes to realize he’s talking to my mother.

Snatching my wallet out of my hands, he asks how much I have and I shrug with my brain feeling half-asleep, I tell him, that I have around thirty four bucks

He rips open my wallet and begins going through it, pulling out my cash and cards, searching every pocket and compartment, as he confirms to my mother that I have in fact only thirty four dollars in my wallet.

“What’s going on?” I ask, waking up.

“I told you, I’m missing some money, I had three hundred dollars in my wallet and now it’s gone, and you’ve been the only other one here.”

All of us together just two years prior.

All of us together just two years prior.

“Wait,” I say, in disbelief, “You don’t think I took it do you?”

He pauses, and tells my mom that I’m claiming to not have it and he tells her that she better come home. Turning off the phone he looks at me, and says,

“I don’t think, I know you took it.”

At this point, I start getting a little scared as well as infuriated, I was once again being accused of something I hadn’t done.

“I didn’t take your money and I never touched your wallet,” I tell him, “But if you want to accuse me, fine, but I’m done, I don’t deserve this kind of crap.”

“Oh you’ll be done when I say your done!” He yells, grabbing me by the front of my t-shirt and pulling me up towards his face,

“Because I saw you take it and I already found your little hiding spot, I just want you to confess!” He barks and I feel my body tense, with my heart now beating like a jackhammer within my chest.

“You’re crazy and I know you’re lying, because I never took anything!” I shot back, already playing through every scenario of what he could do to me through my head. The fact he was in uniform, a cop and had friends in high places wasn’t exactly lost on me.

“Where’s my money?” He demands pulling me up off the bed and throwing me down to the floor.

My instincts are war with my brain, with them telling me I should fight back while my sense of reason, told me not too, because that’s exactly what he wanted. So I shrink back a little as I pull up to my feet and he’s already on me, throwing me up against the wall, holding me there.

“I want you to give me my money!” He commands, jabbing me in the chest with his finger.

“I can’t give you what I never had,” I tell him, my voice shaking with emotion.

He then shoves me back up against the wall and proceeds to frisking me and all I’m wearing is my boxers and a t-shirt. It was here, the storm had finally come…

Scars of Who We Are part 14

                      “As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” –Martin Luther King Jr.

Watercolors

It’s amazing how small your life seems once you pack everything you ever own at nineteen and load it into the back of your father’s truck. It took two trips which we had divided up between two days of moving my stuff up to New Port, where I was to live with my father and grandmother. It felt strange saying goodbye to the place that had once been my home and had spent so much time within and finally walking away from everything. It was hard. Even though she wasn’t the best mother in the world, she was still my mother and for better or worse, I still loved her. I only wished that she could love me too and I wish I could tell you why I loved her. But I suppose it was the little things and something to do with all children loving their mothers. Leaving me to often contemplate about all the things that could have been. But I couldn’t let a few good memories anchor to someone who would only drag me down to the bottom of the sea. It was sink or swim and I chose to swim.

Two days after moving my stuff,  we went to Burger King to pick up my last paycheck, followed by a short trip to the Bank of Kentucky to close out my savings accounts, ideally to transfer the funds over to a bank closer to where I was going to be, which was fifth third. However my mother had already beaten me to it, the young woman at the desk politely informed me that my account had already been closed two days prior, by my mother.

All the money I got for graduation, money I had saved doing odd job while growing up, but all money I was going to save for college or put towards a car was gone. Every penny I had saved since I was fourteen. The poor girl must have thought I was insane as I started to laugh, knowing I should have seen this coming, but I didn’t. Because when you’re under 18, you need a co-signer and I agreed to make her mine, figuring if I was ever in a bind she could withdraw some cash for me. Also, I was fool who believed if I had her name on my account it would show that I trusted her and bring us closer together. But I was wrong. She had taken it for herself, or perhaps even given it to my older brother, but I’ll get to that in a minute. But i shouldn’t have been surprised, because a year prior, I wanted to get a high school graduation ring along with the rest of my friends and my mother talked my dad and grandmother into pitching in, they agreed and pooled their money together to send her a few hundred bucks so that I could get a nice ring.

My grandma, I miss her

M grandmother, the closest thing to a real mom I ever had.

My mother had no problem cashing the checks, but the ring however never found its way to me. It didn’t matter how many times I asked about it, she would give me the run around. She always seemed to have multiple excuses at the ready, but eventually she convinced me to have one made at Wal-Mart which would be cheaper, telling me I could put the difference in the bank.…(before you go judging my on my stupidity here, remember hindsight is 20/20.) so as you can guess I never got my ring and the money never found its way to my saving’s account.

Two years prior I had been the proud owner of a dirt bike that I was given a year before and a mini bike the year previous from my grandpa on my mom’s side. Then one day I noticed both my bikes were missing from our garage and when I inquired about them, I was told my step-father had taken them to get serviced. But as time wore on I kept getting excuses as to why it was taking so long to get my bikes back. Until one day, I came home early from a friend’s house and by chance I happened upon  my mom on the phone with my brother, which wasn’t uncommon, they called each other every day, but then I overheard her saying,

“Dominic I can’t afford to give you any more money right now, I already gave you the money for Josh’s bikes…”  Then I froze there on the bottom of the steps, knowing that she didn’t know I was home and that I had just overheard the truth of why it was taking the guy so long to finish tuning up my bikes, because they were gone, sold.

I never confronted her though, I figured if I did she’ll only deny it, or give me some excuse, or sob story, or somehow turn it around on me for ease dropping even though it hadn’t been purposely done so. You can’t help but hear something you overheard. So I let it go and quietly fumed and never thought of it again, until that day at the bank when the young woman was telling me my account had been closed.

Anger soon gave away to depression and I spent the next few days just lying on my grandma’s couch, feigning illness so that my grandmother and father wouldn’t worry. Truth was, I was broken and couldn’t stop thinking about all the things my mother had done, wondering if she ever loved me at all, or if it was all just some ploy to rob me blind and to make my life miserable. Everything I had been working towards was gone and at nineteen my life felt like it was over. The task of starting all over from scratch seemed daunting and I was afraid of failing again. I blamed myself as much as I did my mother, hating myself for not getting out when I had the chance, for not being smarter and not better protecting myself. I hated my naïveté.

IMAGE_026

My cousin Nick reminding me to hang in there

I ended up beating myself up for days, before finally finding the strength to pull myself together. My cousin Nick contributed more than he knows to helping me find the strength to pull myself back together again. For after hearing I had moved in with my father and grandmother, he took it upon himself to help me stand back on my own two feet again, reminding me how to have a good time, how to laugh along with helping me rediscover my lost smile. Every week we hung out, went to the movies, biking, or simply sat around and shared a few laughs.

After a while I was finally ready to start all over, walking the streets of Newport everyday going to every business and filling out applications and always following up the next day and the day after. Eventually the Newport Library got tired of seeing me coming in every day and asking for work, so they finally offered me a job as a shelver.

A few months later the calls started, my mother was trying to get a hold of me, wanting to talk. At first I avoided her calls like the plague, refusing to speak to her, always telling my dad or grandma to tell her I wasn’t there or that I had just left. I didn’t want this woman anyway near my life. As far as I was concerned she was poison.

But eventually, my grandma and even my father of all people began telling me that I needed to talk to her and I should see what she wants. So then one day she called and I answered. I could hear the tension and the relief in her voice and the tentative way that she spoke that she was afraid I’ll hang up before she got to say what she wanted to say to me. At first she was asking me questions about how I been, what I’ve been up too and how it was living with my father. I kept my answers as short as possible, afraid of accidentally opening that door that would lead her back into my heart, until she started crying… between sobs she confessed to everything, apologizing profusely for not being a good mother and for never being the kind of mother that I needed. She begged for my forgiveness, and for another chance. Reluctantly I cave and agreed to let her back into my life.

For a while things were okay between us, I started spending time with her and the rest of the family again and as if by some unspoken agreement, none of us mentioned the past or what it was that drove me away from home and all of them. In time, it began to feel like family again. But over time, the cracks began to show and suddenly I wasn’t good enough and my job at the library had become a disappointment. Things slowly escalated from there with little snide comments and the “forgetting of my birthday” and eventually things degraded to the point where I didn’t like the way I was being treated. I couldn’t help but feel like I was becoming the target of ridicule, with nothing I ever did being good enough and I was constantly being treated like I was some little kid and calling me selfish and greedy because I didn’t come around more, ignoring the fact that I was working and also had another family so to speak.. But I bit my tongue and kept trying to make things work, wanting them to work and trying to watch my own behavior to see if they were right. But I was feeling torn again between what felt like to warring factions, my mother’s side and my fathers.

Rebekah my guiding light.

Rebekah my guiding light.

But then I met her, Rebekah Josann Stidham, my lighthouse who guided me from my own darkness and the rocky shores and treacherous shores of my soul. My dealings with my mother and her family was tearing me apart and I was gradually sinking back into my depression, beginning to believe in my own worthlessness and that I was broken, destined to spend the rest of my life alone.

Rebekah changed all that, I me her by chance at the library; she was a volunteer along with her sister Rachel and Rebekah’s smile reminded me of Christmas morning and the sound of her laughter was as soothing as a warm breeze in the fall.. She was the first girl I ever met who made the first move by leaving me at work after we first met. She was…and still is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid eyes on, sweet, attentive, understanding and her laugh had an almost musical quality about it and she was always quick to laugh and the ease of which her laughter came always brought a smile a to my lips.

But I never told her about my past, or my mother, instead I pretended to have a good, healthy relationship with her and her family, so that she wouldn’t think I was some guy weighed down with a crippling amount of emotional luggage. Plus someone once told me that I should never tell a love interest about all the things wrong with me, for they can become overwhelming, thus become a turn off. So I let her get to know me in the present, for the person I was and not who I had once been.

Overnight it seemed we had become best friends, even though I had already fallen head over heels in love with her on that  day we first met, losing myself forever in her big doe eyes. I loved her then and ever since, although back then I was afraid to admit it, but still everyone knew it. But I was afraid of what would happen to my heart if my love once again went unrequited as it did with Sherry.

So I remained her friend, for the longest time, longing every day to hold her in my arms and to kiss all of her worries away….But I was fool and I was afraid, so I dragged my heels for the longest time, feeling constantly at war with myself. Then one day another guy came along, who was a singer like her, a real musician, who was well on his way of turning his passions into a career. She grew to where she talked about him all the time even when she was around me. I knew without her saying that she was torn between him and me. But in the end, I decided he could offer her more than I ever could, so I walked away. I didn’t fight for her or try to argue my case, I simply stopped calling/texting her, avoided her if I could, but remained friendly whenever I ran into her.

Eventually, things with her and Caleb fell apart, then somehow she found her way back to me and we became fast friends again. Then before I knew it, she had fallen in love with me, or as she told me, she was always in love with me, but her father had disapproved of me and when I disappeared from her life she thought that maybe she was meant to be with the other guy, (Caleb so she chose to be with him.) But now she was finally distancing herself from her father and wanted to live her own life, one she wanted to share that life with me which she did.

We were together for six months before I finally decided to bring her around my mom’s family. Albeit I was curious if what I perceived as disrespect was real, or was all just in my head. She would be my impartial witness, because I still hadn’t revealed any of the truth about my childhood and I wanted…needed some kind confirmation if what I was seeing was real or not.

So I took her down to my mother’s for thanksgiving and to my surprise my mom and her family fell in love with her almost immediately. They fawned over; she was the daughter my mother always wanted, beautiful, charming, talented, graceful and modest. But for some reason my family also seemed to go out of their way to paint me in a negative light. Harping on me whenever I wasn’t being the perfect boyfriend, (I.E pulling out her chair, or refilling her glass for every three sips she took, all things I kept thinking was odd and even though she kept trying to tell them that she didn’t like that kind of hovering. Insisting that did like doing some things for herself.

Rebekah and me

Rebekah and me

At the end of the night, she and I went for a walk and I asked what she thought of my family and I noticed her hesitation as she told me they were very nice to her. However I had known her long enough to know when something was bothering her and when I asked what it was she said,

“I don’t like how they treat and talk down to you all the time, it’s almost like they don’t think of you as a person….”

“Oh…” I said, knowing she was confirming what I had been feeling this whole time when I’ve been trying to heal the past and mend all the broken fences between me and m family.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it, I know it’s your family and you love them,” She whispers, kissing me, before pulling me closer against her. I could lose myself forever in her warmth; for nothing in this world had ever made me feel better.

“It’s okay,” I assure her, “You’re right, I just needed confirmation.” I confessed, returning her embrace and her kiss, happy to have her as a part of my life and knowing I would have to tell her everything once we got home.

“I just don’t think they’re good for you, I felt like the whole time they kept trying to turn me against you for some reason.”

“You saw that too?” I asked, smiling sheepishly, knowing she had also become my rock. I would have probably married her too and would have if I could go back, but that’s another story for another time.

By the time we made it back to the house, Rebekah already had me feeling better and that night we spent the night at my mother’s. The following day we were having dinner, a follow-up to our thanksgiving day feast and while the food was being prepared my mother had asked me to help my little brother’s put together a Star-wars Lego set, which I eagerly agreed too. But fifteen minutes in, my mother asked Rebekah if she could talk to her upstairs for a moment because she wanted to show her something. I don’t know why, but something in my mother’s tone struck me as a little odd. So I waited several minutes before finally deciding to sneak upstairs and see what she was up too. I heard them talking down the hall in my mother’s room, along with my aunt and they were asking her why she was with me. She explained that she had been in love with me, that I had been the sweetest, most caring and thoughtful guy she’s met and she loved my sense of humor, and my intellect. When I heard my aunt start asking her if she met my older brother and how handsome, smart and funny he was.

My heart started to sink and I realized as I stood out there in the hall, that my mother, along with her sister was trying to convince her to choose my brother over me. I heard my own mother say how Dominic was so much more handsome than I was and how he’d be such a better match for her. My heart broke into a million pieces that day; I stood out in the hall.

Rebekah, me and her younger brother

Rebekah, me and her younger brother

I know I could have made a scene and kicked the door open, confronting my mother, but instead I retreated and went back downstairs to play with my younger brothers, trying to pretend I didn’t hear what I had. The next day I went and saw Rebekah and asked her what happened when my mother was talking to her in private and she told me everything that my mother and aunt were trying to talk her into breaking up with me in order for her to date my brother. Thankfully Rebekah loved me and was loyal to a fault, my heart and my guiding star, my best friend. And in that moment I knew I had to keep my distance from my mother and shield Rebekah from her as well…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watercolors

Scars of Who We Are Chapter XIII

Chapter 13

We write to expose the unexposed. If there is one door in the castle you have been told not to go through, you must. The writer’s job is to turn the unspeakable into words – not just into any words, but if we can, into rhythm and blues.

― Anne Lamott

A month after my suicide, I was a patchwork of emotions, still living at home with my mother, although I’m unsure why I didn’t just get up and flee, but I was struggling to pull and hold myself together, sensing that something foreboding was waiting for me somewhere off on the horizon and that every day it was looming ever closer. I was afraid, but I knew that whatever storm was heading my way, I would stand before and weather the storm and I would stand before my biggest fear and let it pass through me. Knowing if I survived, it would make me stronger and I would be better, maybe even a little bit wiser.

The Grant County Fair

The Grant County Fair

I was steadily settling into working  nights at the Burger King at the end of my street and like most first jobs I hated it. But it wasn’t the grease burns, or the nightly rush that bothered me, it was the getting home every morning around two or three a.m and having to wash with lava soap to get the smell of burgers, fries  and grease off of me. I also hated it for all the things it took from me, I couldn’t see my dad because I was often working and I was seeing my friends less and less. The situation was made worse by my mother who would come and bang on my door every morning at ten in the morning and sometimes she would wake me up even earlier, screaming at me for sleeping the day away, oblivious to the fact I had just gotten home, showered and went to bed a few hours prior, which was quickly wearing me down and making me feel as though I was slowly turning into a zombie, just going through the motions. Every day I would wake up tired, shower again, eat a little breakfast and watch my little brothers before going in to work at seven.  I was nineteen and already felt myself falling into a boring and lonely routine. Wondering if God really brought me back from the brink of death for this of all things.

As if sensing my growing frustrations, or noticing my slow decline into depression, my two best friends started visiting me at my work, often waiting hours after we’ve closed just to give me a ride home, since I didn’t have a car.

(Well I did technically get a car from my grandpa for my last birthday, but unbeknownst to me my mother gifted it to my older brother, until he was done with it and got a new car himself, allowing her to sell the car that was meant for me.)

Matt and his lovely family

Matt and his lovely wife

Matt and Steven were like the brothers I never had, they enjoyed having me around and often went out of their way to make me feel accepted and cared for. Often encouraging me in my passions and my writing. They also made me feel loved.  (which I so desperately needed, I didn’t know it then, but looking back now, I know I was looking to fill those holes my family had left within my heart. So they became my family, filling in those holes I so desperately wanted and needed to be filled. Because family to me is what you say it is and you what make it, family doesn’t have to be defined by blood relations or by marriage alone. It’s the connections you make and the bonds you share.)

Then one night after they picked me up from another late night at work, we went to Matt’s and sat around his pool discussing our school year and  the summer that we all knew was drawing to a close and soon we would all be going our separate ways, with him going off to the marine core, Steven pursuing a career in special effects and me the writer, dreaming of a better life for myself. We discussed the possibility of this moment being the one moment in time that would never again come around, that this was it, the days of our youth were winding down and would soon be forever behind us. So it was with that thought, we realized we had to make this summer count for something and we agreed to make it a summer we’ll always remember, our one last hurrah.

We planned to attend the Grant County Fair, and because we lived in a closed minded, back water little town, populated mostly by hillbillies and country bumpkins, we decided to go in goth, to stand out, daring to be different, maybe even ourselves.

Also for me it’s always been easier to act more carefree when I wasn’t dressed as myself, so dressing up in goth felt kinda freeing in a way, by believing I could put on this other persona and be this person that I wasn’t. It gave me person to stop worrying about what others thought of me and what they said, it was liberating. I also learned that I look good in all black, for I actually had more girls flirting with me than I had in my entire life. So that was a nice added plus.

Steven

Steven

Once there Matt decided to have a little fun by staging a fake fight with another one of our other friends, John and being young and stupid we all thought it was a great idea, which almost resulted in us being booted out of the fair. But once everyone figured out it was all staged and we were just goofing around, everything was well and good, with the rest of the night being incredibly memorable, one that made me feel more alive than I thought possible and how we laughed  all night until we cried.   Although I must confess, the whole time I did keep an eye out for Sherry, hoping to see her somewhere in the sea of people there at the Grant County Fair.

It took three days for word of our shenanigans to get around to my mother and My step-father, Chris and believe me, they were not too pleased. I had been asleep for a whole five and a half hours when they came banging on my door, demanding I get up.  I rose, bleary eye and sleep deprived from working even later than usual and opened the door wondering what they wanted to harass me about now and was immediately shoved inside as they forced their way into my room, with the accusations already flying.

Immediately they began questioning me about the fair and I answered as honestly as I could and believing them both to be overreacting and that if they just heard my side of the story, that it would all blow over. (But I obviously forgotten who I was dealing with.)  But I did my best to explain the situation for what it was, our one last hurrah before we risked never seeing each other again. But they weren’t having it, instead I found myself being accused of being in a suicidal cult and how I was tarnishing Chris’s good name as a police officer and for the first time in my life I found the conviction to finally stand up for myself and cry, “Bullshit!” and reminded them how I always stayed out of trouble, and how I never once broke the law, or drank, did any drugs, nor did I ever cause any problems at school.

But my mother wouldn’t listen, instead she stepped to me and began jabbing me in the chest with her finger, ordering me I was to call Matt, Steven and the others and tell them how I could no longer be friends with them. An act I couldn’t find more humiliating, or degrading, especially from all the times they’ve been there for me and so I stood my ground and defiantly told her no.

She hadn’t expected my answer and looked surprised, which quickly gave way to anger and she began screaming at me, telling me how I was going to do it, or she was going to. But I found my courage and my voice and shook my head as I said,

“Look, my friends and I all graduated together,  and none of them have ever been in any kind of trouble, or been arrested, none of them smoke or do drugs, they’re good friends to have and they’ve been good to me and they’ve been there for me than you ever were. They’re my family and have been my family in all the ways you never were and I won’t write them off for you. “

“I don’t care,” She says, “You either call  your friends up right now and tell them you can’t be friends with them-“

“Mom,” I interrupt, “I’m nineteen, I’m not my brother and my friends aren’t his, mine are better.”

(Which was the truth, my brother’s friends have all been, or gone to prison…some still are and almost all of them have either been expelled or dropped out of high-school and more than one had knocked a girl up, or was hooked on drugs, or an alcoholic. Unlike my friends who worked hard, kept their noses clean and help motivate and even tutor me on their own when I was falling behind them in my classes. All the things she’s always known.

“Call them, or we’re kicking you out!” She threatened and I smiled. Because I realized her threats didn’t bother me anymore and I wasn’t afraid. I was free and my eyes were finally opening to all the lies she’s ever told me. This was what my father kept trying to warn me would eventually happen. My mother was going to kick me out because she had no further need of me, no child support and I was no longer a prisoner for her to bully and threaten, I was free to choose and I chose to go.

“Alright…I’m gone.” I rasp and picking up my phone as she asks me where I’m going to go and so I tell her, “I think I’ll go live with my dad for a little while.”

She watches me make the call with venom and revulsion as I dialed my dad’s number and when he answered I told him, that I  needed a place to stay and that I was being kicked out.  He understood and told me he’d be right on his way and we both hung up.

As soon as I got off the phone with my father, my mother started going off on me, rattling off everything that was wrong with me, calling me a little hoodlum, a liar, and how weak and pathetic I was. All the while, I kept trying to ignore her and begun packing up my things as she followed me around telling me that I was nothing but an ugly little coward and worse.

Of course I didn’t expect any less from her, after all this was the person I’ve grown up with, so I bit my tongue and quietly packed up my things and praying that she would just go and leave me alone, which she never did.

She insisted on saying that I was nothing but a little mischievous liar, always sneaking around and how my dad wouldn’t put up with my attitude or behavior, along with every little thing I did wrong since I was seven and how one day my father would end up beating me to death, or forcing me into the military life to make a man out of me, which was when I finally snapped.

“Enough!” I barked, “Just stop it okay, seriously when does it does it end? You won alright? I’m moving out, you can stop blaming me and holding me accountable for things I did when I was seven. I’m sorry I ruined your life so much by being born. But believe it or not and despite whatever you may think, I was a good kid and I don’t know maybe I’ve just been a little misunderstood, but I’m not the same person I was when I was a kid and I admit,  I used to steak candy from people’s candy jars, I snuck around people’s houses and explored,  I looked in cupboards, searched every room, explored every closet, but  I was seven! That’s what kids do, I never stole or took from anyone and I was a kid. I’m sorry I couldn’t always act like and be the adult you wanted me to be, I’m sorry for all the times I didn’t behave, or be the perfect kid, I’m sorry for the lies I used to tell just so that you wouldn’t beat me with the paddle. But that’s what kids too, we’re afraid of getting punished and you made us afraid of the paddle, but I was eight and you still act like it was yesterday. You haven’t noticed that in the past ten years I’ve changed and grew to admit to the things I did wrong and would only deny the things I hadn’t, until you either beat, or blackmailed a false confession out of me, that you would then use to further incriminate me for other things I hadn’t done, forever condemning as a liar, no matter what I ever said or did to prove otherwise.

“Josh you’ve always been a liar and vindictive, trying to get back at me cause you think you’ve been done wrong!” She snapped back.

“Are you kidding me?” I asked, “And why would you think, that I would think or do that? For what reason would you think I would want to get back at you  for something you did if you’ve always been the perfect mother? Or do you admit that you’ve always been horrible to me and are afraid to death it’s going to come back to bite you? But you got me all wrong, despite everything you’ve ever done and said to me, I always loved you and prayed for a real mother and son relationship with you, but you took all that away, you made me afraid of you and I never once stood up to you, so whatever it is you think about me is twisted and I seriously think that you’re sick.”

“Josh I can’t believe you would say that,” she shot back.

Shrugging, I shake my head,

“Do you ever stop to wonder about why it is you think I’m such a horrible person? My whole life all you ever done was blame me for everything, no matter what and without fail. Never believing anyone else would lie to you, but me. Even after Dominic (My brother) got arrested for stealing a vending machine from the Wendy’s break room, I was there when he swore up and down he had nothing to do with it, swearing to God, that he was innocent, but when they showed the security footage of him actually stealing it, I’m still somehow always the big liar. It’s always been lose, lose with me, I would plead my innocents and you  wouldn’t stop beating me until I confessed and you would always hold that confession against me, telling me it’s why you couldn’t ever believe me in the future. Do you recall how many times and how long it would take of you beating the hell out of me before you got your confessions? Did you ever once stop to think that I would have comped to anything if it meant  the beating and the groundings, would stop, or just so that I could have dinner?”

“Josh, you’re just trying to be the victim,” She snorted,

“Because that’s what you made me!” I retorted. “No matter what I did or what happened you would judge me as being guilty before even speaking to me and automatically assumed the worse about me when I gave you no grounds to do so.  I’ve always been a good kid, stayed out of trouble, always doing what I was told. Even my friend’s parents believe I’m as straight laced as they come, too afraid of ever doing anything even remotely bad or wrong. But you see only what you want to see in me and I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the threats, the accusations and being treated like a second class citizen, so I’m done, you got your wish, and I’m no longer your son.”

Then I shook my head grabbed my bags and shoved my way past her, to wait out in the driveway for my father to pick me up. My heart was still racing, I never spoken to my mother like that before, heck until then I barely even stood up for myself…like ever. It felt good, if not a little scary and hurtful, because I finally admitted what I never had to courage to really face. Which was there was nothing I could do, nothing I could ever say, my mother hated me and would always see me as some stupid delinquent that she could bully and manipulate. Although a part of me was already looking back, thinking about my little brothers and how much I would miss them, imagining there reaction when they discovered that I had gone and how they would ask about me, dreading whatever lies my mother would feed them. But this was something I had to do, I had to cut ties with my mother no matter how much it hurt, otherwise I risked drowning.

But little did I know, my mother wasn’t done, not yet, not by a long shot, dealing me a blow that I never expected or saw coming….

Me, Matt, Dawn and Steven.

Me, Matt, Dawn and Steven.

Scars of Who We Are Chapter XII

Chapter 12

You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott

Senior photo

Senior photo

At eighteen I finally broke down and killed myself, for I had enough. I had just graduated High-school and felt like life had thrown everything including the kitchen sink at me. Even graduating high-school hadn’t felt real to me, or like something I really deserved. I kept expecting word to come down that there had been a mistake and I wasn’t meant or supposed to graduate along with my friends. It felt weird saying goodbye and walking away from all I had known, High-school was something I once hated and feared coming to every morning because of bullies, the pressures of just getting by and the unforgiving social hierarchy. But, it was also the place where I made some of the best friends anyone could possibly meet and it was the place where I had fallen in love for the very first time. Sherry Troy had been the sister of one of my good friends and falling for her was something I had never meant to do. For when we first met that day in the cafeteria I had already knew that her social circle would never approve of me. She was popular, gorgeous, funny and sincere; she was also dating one of my friends. But as life happens, things happen and life changes, because the of them ended up breaking up and her I grew closer, exchanged numbers and started talking on the phone almost every day.

About around that time my mother gave me some real motherly advice, which was,

“Listen, when any girl talks to you as much as this one does, calling you almost every day, it means she really likes you.”

But I couldn’t accept that, she didn’t know Sherry, she didn’t me and good things didn’t usually happen to me. But I was young and just beginning to b4d5878dget schooled in love. Sherry gave me a reason to get up every day, seeing her was like Christmas morning and it gave me strength to face each day. For once I had something to look forward to other than the weekends I got to spend with my dad.

Of course I still remember the day when her sister Jane had approached me in class and told me how her sister was falling hard for me. It had been the happiest day of my life and felt like I had finally been thrown a life preserver and according to Jane my eyes lit up and sparked like the fourth of July, robbing her of her breath as she was taken aback by the purity of my reaction of hearing her news. I couldn’t believe it, I was inspired.

I went home that night and wrote Sherry a poem proclaiming my love for her, playing coy all throughout the day, until we were walking to our busses when I slipped my poem into her hand and walked away smiling like an idiot on parade, felt like I could do anything, the world was mine.

The next morning her other sister Terry approached me that morning, excitedly telling me how much her sister had loved my poem and how no one had ever wrote her a poem before, that she was so happy and excited that she was actually and completely overjoyed. So now I couldn’t wait to see her, I couldn’t wait to tell her how much I loved her, I couldn’t wait to feel her arms wrap around me, to hold her tight, imagining what our lives would be like together, picturing what it would be like to one day proposing to her, getting married and growing old together. (What they don’t tell you about being a hopeless romantic) It wasn’t until lunchtime rolled around that I finally had the time to approach and ask her out, surrounded by her sisters and all of our mutual friends. She answered with a disgusted no, and after hearing all day how much she liked me by all of our friends, so I was dumbstruck, managing a feeble, “What?” And when she repeated her answer I could feel my dreams shattering and falling like rain all around me, my heart felt like it was breaking in two.

Sherry and her sister Terry

Sherry and her sister Terry

“But…my poem…” I mumbled numbly, “Was garbage, so I threw it away,” She replied, making me want to just crawl into a hole somewhere and die. But then came Terry and my friends trying to supportive and reminding her how crazy she was for me. She denied them over a dozen times, each one a blow to my heart, hearing her telling not just me, but everyone how she never liked me and never will. I wanted to beg them to stop, to ask them to stop trying to help me because it had hurt too much.

I ended up spending the rest of my high school career in this on again, off again dance with her, trying to win her heart with every song and there were times where I could have sworn she had the same feelings for me, but whenever we would get close, it was like someone or something would always drive us further apart. It drove me crazy and eventually I gave up on chasing her, I walked away from love.

But on graduation day, her sister Jane sees me and pulls me aside and asked me if I still had feelings for her sister.

I couldn’t bear to speak the truth, I was too afraid to so much as think about her out of fear it’d spark that torch I carried for her and be left feeling like a love struck fool all over again, so I shrugged and said, “I don’t know….”

Taking my hand, she pulled me close then and I could feel her eyes exploring the depths of my own and before I could ask what this was all about she says,

“I have to tell you something, my sister did like you and probably still does, the reason she never said yes, was because of me.”

I could feel my brow furrow, because I didn’t understand, it didn’t make sense to me….she had been one of my closest friends and I couldn’t fathom why she would be sorry, or what she could have done to keep Sherry and me apart, then she said something I never expected to hear, because I had known her for years, she was my friend and confidant.

“I’ve been in love with you for a long time and when I saw that look on your face when I told you how Sherry felt about you, I was jealous and I told her nothing but lie about you. I told her this had all been a game to you, because you only wanted her to make some other girl jealous. I told her you only seemed nice but in reality you were really just a player…And I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have gotten in the way.”

I could feel the earth giving away beneath my feat, I never felt or knew such an act of betrayal even existed in this world. I had no words, I couldn’t speak, and all I could do was turn and walked away. It’s wasn’t until writing this that I realized that I still haven’t spoken to Jane since that day. But still every now and then I can’t help but wonder what my life would have been like if she never intervened.

Sherry Troy and smile that was like the sunrise.

Sherry Troy and smile that was like the sunrise.

I turned away from my friend and walked away from her that day without ever looking, feeling a small twinkling of hope that it wasn’t too late, believing I still had a chance to fix things and maybe, just maybe pick up from where we started. That day I couldn’t stop scanning every face in the hall and the crowd of my graduation ceremony, hoping to find her face someone among the countless faces, to see her staring back at me. Imagining what I would do when I saw her and having this little fantasy that I would see her, walk up to her and pull her away from whoever she may have been talking to, pulling her against me as I leaned down to kiss her lips of soft velvet.

I never did find her and I was too distracted to join in the excitement of celebrating of finally graduating from High-school, I was somewhere else while my friends were busy living in the moment. But I was too busy thinking about her, anxious to get home to call her and to just hear the sound of her voice. But when I finally got around to calling her no one was home and so I took off and went to my best friend’s graduation party hoping she’ll be there, but she wasn’t.

Days go by and I can’t seem to ever seem to get a hold of her, or catch anyone to just tell her that I called.  Eventually, one day her mom answers and she tells me that Sherry had moved out a few days ago and was now living with some boy she had just met. I don’t remember hanging up the phone, just the feeling of my heart breaking and the pieces falling down all around my feet.  I feel defeated and numb, I was given hope and it was in was torn away from me in one fell swoop. Shell shocked I wondered out of my room, hoping to find some reason to keep believing….to believe in something, anything, wanting to find some purpose and maybe a little hope. But my mother found me instead and asked why I was moping around. For once, I decided to just talk to her and tell her everything, hoping that I’d receive some of that age old motherly advice, or receive a little of that love that always seemed so out of reach. Instead she interrupted me before I could say but two words and said,

“I don’t care, you’re just stupid, pathetic loser and I can’t stand you, I never could and the worse thing is that I never wanted you. You’re nothing but a stupid mistake and if it wasn’t for your father I would have never birthed you, I wanted an abortion and he’s the only reason you’re still here because he wanted you. You were the accident that was never supposed to be and I think you would have been better off dead, because no one will ever love or want a pathetic, weak loser like yourself. “

She turned and walked away from me then, striding toward her craft room, mumbling about how much she resented me and I hear her tell say with my own ears that the only reason she put up with me for so long was for the child support and the money. I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t want to. My father had been right all along, it’s exactly what he’d been trying to warn me about for years, but I never listened and now I could feel what remained of my already broken heart shatter into a million little pieces.  Leaving it so broken that they could now pass seamlessly through the eye of a needle, I was broken, in every sense of the word and I couldn’t move. Not at first anyway. All I could do was watch disappear into her little craft room, expecting at any moment for her to pop back out and tell me this was all some sort of twisted and cruel joke, I didn’t want to think she was serious. But after several minutes of just standing there speechless with my mind reeling. I hear every 18 minutes someone commits suicide and ever forty seconds, someone attempts one. And I was about to become another statistic.forsaken

In that moment I lost my faith, I hated God. I couldn’t fathom why he would make this woman my mother and never allow me any real happiness. I had been hopeful my entire life, wanting and trying to believe that things would get better, believing that they had to. But my battles were too numerous, too long and hard and I was tired. Immediately I turned and headed upstairs, grabbing a few prescription pill bottles my mother had kept in our medicine cabinet. I’m not sure what all I took, but I took seven or eight pills from every bottle that read “Only take 1 every 12 hours,” And “Do not mix with other medication” Then not wanting to risk anyone seeing what I was up to, or trying to stop me, I shoved the pills down into my pocket. This was my decision and my choice and I wasn’t going to give anyone a chance to stop or delay me.

With a bottle of Vicodin that I had left over from my wisdom teeth surgery,  along with the various other pills that I had stuffed down into my pockets. Then I took one final look at my reflection in the mirror and waved goodbye to the person I used to be, the person I used to know.

Returning to my room, I closed and locked my door, filled my cd player with my favorite cds and took a bottle of prescription sleeping pills, along with about 3/4

I wrote a single sentence on my desk’s notepad, “This is my goodbye, I’ve waited too long, I’m not worth anything, and tell dad I’m sorry.”

It didn’t take long for the room to start to spin and for the shortness of breath to begin and I fell onto my bed, crawling up onto the sheets feeling so cold as my body went numb, feeling pins and needles all over body, I felt like I was suffocating, struggling to breathe and it was then my world went black.

At first darkness was all I could see and feel. I was relieved, because I was finally free from all the pain and loneliness that plagued me for long. No longer did I feel all the pain that was tearing my heart apart, it was over and death wasn’t so bad I thought, I felt a strange sense of comfort in darkness that coiled and wrapped around me. I was a little disappointed though, I was hoping to find myself before God and demand an explanation, an apology for all that been wrong. But I didn’t and I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, or loved ones who had already passed over. Instead I found myself in a world surrounded by darkness and for a moment it was soothing and a little peaceful. But then I felt this jerk and then I had this sense like I was falling. I was falling faster and faster,  feeling what felt like cool air rushing up to greet me as I plummeted downward, feeling the air grow and become warm, then hot as it rushed over me. The realization of what I have done hit me then. I had committed a cardinal sin, I had committed suicide, I wasn’t going to get my trial, I wasn’t going to able to curse at the God who made me and let me cry so many tears. I wasn’t going to get answers and I would never learn why or the reasons for any of it, I was going straight to hell.

In my fear I cried out to God and it was then I felt descent slow and the heat dispel, until when I was once again just floating there in the inky blackness and I felt like was being watched and I sensed this profound sadness in the air around me, before I felt what I can only describe was warm comforting arms wrapping around me, pulling me close and lifting me up. I have no words for the feelings that washed over me. The love I felt was overpowering and I felt like a child in the warm, loving arms a loved one, of a father who was holding me close. I began to cry as I heard the voice apologizing for the struggles I’ve had, that despite what I had done, he was still proud of me, but telling me not to lose hope and that I had to stay, I had to go back, asking me to stay strong, to have faith and to live, to really live, that I’d go on to do great things in time.

But I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay in this place that I was, I clung to the father, pleading to stay and I saw the faces of my father, my grandmother, my friends and all of those who would miss me. It made me sad, but still I didn’t want to go, I was happy here and now, in this warmth.

So he showed me something else instead, he showed me myself, decades later, living a life where I’m happy, with my dreams finally coming true and I see the world waking up and finally beginning to read again, I see a family, a loving wife.

Without really thinking I feel myself letting go and I’m blinded by this sudden light that seemed to appear out of nowhere and when I look around, I discover I’m outside and I’m flying, miles above the earth, the view is breathtaking. But I’m actually was falling, down through sky, past the clouds, with the world rushing up to greet me, the air is cool against my skin and comforting as it rushes through my hair. I see my house, coming into view and I’m falling faster. I’m not afraid, but I bring my arms up protectively around me as I fall into the roof, passing insubstantiality through the shingles and support beams of my house.  I Falling through the kitchen where my mother had started making dinner and I can smell macaroni and cheese from the pot on the stove, before I pass through the floor to where I saw myself, laying so still and alone on my bed, where I crash with a jolt into my body.

I sat up just as I reunited with my body, taking a sharp intake of breath as I rose up off the bed, it hurts to breathe, yet I’m gasping for breath. I’m cold and my body burns as blood rushes back through my limbs, giving me a feeling pin and needles, that you often get when a part of your body falls asleep. But mine was all over and then I crawled out of bed, where I collapsed on the floor and passed out once more.

I firmly believe that I died this day; but you may have come to your own conclusion. But this is what happened to me and when I woke up, I felt okay, even though I knew my the worse was far from over, instinctively I knew would be leaving Grant County and saying goodbye to all my friends until the day came when we would meet again. But I knew whatever came and no matter how things would turn out, I would survive it. I may have died a coward, a scared and frightened little boy, but I was born again and in so doing became a man.

Closing note: a few years ago thanks to the advent of Facebook, Sherry managed to look me up and send me a friend request. We still talk and she tells me she’s always had strong feelings for me. But she’s currently in a relationship and has a few kids and to me she’s just as beautiful as she was the day I first met her in the High-School cafeteria.

2008 I'm the crow with my cousins

2008 I’m the crow with my cousins

 

 

Scars of Who We Are: Chapter X

Scars of who were are, memories chapter 10.

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My little cousin, me, Dominic my older brother and his now ex-girlfriend, five years ago.

~These memories of who I was and where I’ve been are important to me. Just as your memories should be to you, even when they’re painful, or mired in regret, they still make up a large part of who we are, who I am, and the person I’m going to be once my journey finally winds down. I need to remember the essence of magic and hope that I once knew and held so dear, if I’m ever to capture it again. Because life isn’t a journey, for every journey ends and when it ends, we go on. There are no do-overs and second chances come as rare as a flower blooming in the dead of winter, but we learn and carry on. Sometimes we’re heavier from the burdens we take on and carry with us; sometimes we become lighter by sharing our burdens with those closest to us. The world turns and turns and we with it, plans fall apart, things change, scars fade, but the memory, the memories always remain and sometimes there’s a moment in our lives that hovers and settles for but a moment, leaving us forever and inexplicably changed in the most unexpected of ways, ways we never thought or felt before. And it’s then that our dreams take over and it’s there I see you and it seems that wherever I go, I find you, you’re there, my luck, my fate, my fortune, my life, my blessing and my curse. But it’s not all about you, or where in the stars your destiny lies, it’s about the here and now and what you find in the hidden depths of your soul, it’s where we go from here, as the ashes of what was and what might have been finally settle down around us, leaving us forever transformed, this is it, this is the now and it’s when you finally decide where you’re going to go from here.

      Patrick and I became inseparable, we were best friends and brothers all the same.  His eyes were also open, he wasn’t afraid to speak up and stand up to his mother for me. It was something about him I always admired, he never cared that

My step-brother and me at King's Island....Sorry Patrick this is the only picture I could find of you.

My step-brother and me at King’s Island….Sorry Patrick this is the only picture I could find of you.

by jumping to my defense whenever she was jumping on my case, making fun, or bullying me and how it would get often get him grounded, or chewed out, he was someone who always stood up for what was right, no matter what it had cost him.  Eventually Patrick would be the one to go to my dad about how I was being treated and I would begrudgingly confirm that Patrick was telling the truth. Often I had held my tongue Because I didn’t want to cause any ripples in my father’s new marriage. He loved her and she made him happy and I couldn’t bear to bear to be the the reason why he couldn’t hold onto this family he had found. He loved her kids and still does as if they were his own and maybe I was a little selfish myself, because I also didn’t want to jeopardize my relationship with my brother, I didn’t want to lose to him, or any of my extended family. So I was willing to go through that mental abuse and more if it meant my father’s happiness and the continued bond that forms between brothers. Sadly, I would eventually see this marriage fall apart and once more I got to relive all the ugliest therein. With a part of me always wishing they would get back together and mend the fences, so that we could all once again be a family.   

My Step-mother.

My Step-mother.

To my step-mother’s credit, she did eventually find me on face-book years later. To be honest I didn’t know what to make of the friend request that found its way to my inbox, or the message she sent with. In it, she wrote me a very heartfelt apology for how she treated me. Telling me how sorry she was and asking if I could ever find it in my heart to forgive her. So I accepted her friend request, and wrote her back, telling her I had forgiven her a very long time ago, because truth was I saw why she resented me so much even back then, I knew why. Even though she had two kids from a previous marriage whom of which my father had accepted as his own, she couldn’t bring herself to accept me.  I was a constant reminder to her of father’s previous marriage and how committed. I would be the one thing that would always keep him tied to her

       But now I’m happy to report that her and I still stay in touch and I do still have love for her. I even told her as much the last we talked and that she was often more of a mother to me, than my real one, because Trisha did  occasionally put forth at least a little  effort in trying to get to know me and she did spend a little bit of time with me here and there. Yeah, it may have been mostly because she didn’t want to watch a particular scary movie alone, or  maybe she was just lonely when my father wasn’t there and just wanted a movie buddy. But those memories of her asking me to sit with her and watch a movie together are some of greatest memories I have and still carry with me to this day. Movies had become her and mine thing that we would share and do together, further illustrating how the magic of a story, in a cinema, a movie can capture the essence of magic and bring unlikely people together. I remember how she would make me popcorn and how we would talk about the movie later, about what we thought of the story and how it should have ended. And to be honest if we shared more of those moments, I would have elected left home and would have moved in with them, adopting a new family all my own. 

My step-sister and no I'm not ashamed to admit I did used to have a bit of a crush on her.

My step-sister and no I’m not ashamed to admit I did used to have a bit of a crush on her.

 

 

But at fourteen, I had fallen into the habit of spending most of my summers with my father and when I stayed with him, I never wanted to come home, partially because I know I would be left alone and because I was afraid of my mother, who had the habit of making me miserable, so naturally I loathed the idea of coming home. Home was a place that never felt really real and always left me feeling a bit out of place, like I really didn’t belong, even though my mother had went from physically beating me, to full scale psychological abuse which started a year prior. I had also grown to dislike my step father, but the blunt of that came earlier in the year when he nearly broke my arm because I complained of having a migraine and wanted to lay down. Then I was threatened into lying about how I had a bruise the size of a grown man’s hand around my bicep, a angry black and yellow band around my arm, that everyone had wondered how I got, but to each one I told a different story.

Then of course was my older brother who often tormented me by either having fun at my expense or by treating me like a second class citizen, who was his dork little brother. I hated him so much at times and my mother too, for she would laugh with him as he poked fun at me and my speech problems, then whenever I would get bad and try to say something hurtful in turn, I would be the one whipped and punished. I hated my life, I hated my home more, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to love it. I wanted to be happy in my home and I wanted to have the kind of life you read about, or see on t.v. I wanted to believe in the stars.

Me at fourteen

Me at fourteen

 

But this one summer, I came home to an unexpected surprise; I went to my room to unpack my things and to discover that my room had been redecorated. The bunk beds that once took up residence in my room were replaced by a very nice queen sized bed and my walls had been painted to my favorite color, which at the time was red. (Now it’s blue, things change) It was then my mom popped into my room and I was taken aback by how excited and happy she was to see me. Then I saw her brow crease with worry when she thought I didn’t like it, when truth was I was in shock, I was speechless. It took me a moment for my wits to return and for me tell her how much I loved it. But that was two years before I would learn the unspeakable truth that would forever weigh on my soul. But sometimes, I also wonder if she could love me on this day how come she couldn’t always, why did her love sometimes wash over me like a wave, to so quickly ebb and dissipate, why was it that the waves were so few and far between, leaving me stranded alone on this island, with no place to call my home.

 

At sixteen, I came home from a hard day at school to yet another surprise, this time to discover that  my mother had thrown me a surprised birthday party. To be honest, it had been something I mentioned from to time growing up, I’ve always wanted one, but as I grew older I began to believe less and less in it actually happening, so needless to say I was overjoyed.

For all of ten minutes I couldn’t stop smiling, believing this was one of the greatest days of my life and for ten minutes I had forgotten about all the hurt feelings, the nasty words and all the beatings. I opened the door to the smell of steaks frying on the grill out back, mac and cheese cooking on the stove, the smell of freshly baked cookies and chocolate fudge brownies, all my favorites.

I laughed, not knowing what to think, believing that the Lord had finally granted my one request, which was to have my mother love me as much as she did my bother. Because this was it, this was the turning point I had been waiting for and I was so tired of struggling and fighting just to stay afloat and now, now I was happy. I had the attention I had always wanted, the sense of belonging I had craved for so long and now it was finally mine, or so I thought.

 

Then the pictures started the first few were of me, then I posed with a few family members, than my brother Dominic and I was still feeling euphoric, until I heard my aunt Terry remark on how handsome my brother was and right in front of me, she began insisting that he should go into modeling because he was so unbelievably photogenic and handsome. To my brother’s credit, he was being modest and tried brushing the comments aside, but they kept coming. My grandma on my mother’s side jumped in, as well telling my brother how it was true and that girls were always inquiring about him because he was so  handsome, then of course my mother had her say, trying to convince him of all the good money that could be had if he went into modeling, while I stood there, completely forgotten.

For awhile I did my best to pretend not to be a little hurt, so I wore my false smile and eventually having enough, I threw am arm around my brother and saying,

                “Hey, how about we go into modeling together, you know as brothers?” My brother quickly brushed me off and laughed, while the rest of the room looked at me as if looks could kill and as I tried figuring out what it was that I said that got everyone looking so peeved at me,I feel my Aunt Terry’s hand closing around my arm as she pulls me aside saying,

“Hey, you’re not like your brother, he’s really handsome and you shouldn’t be acting all jealous because you’re not and he’s your brother.”

                  At sixteen, I didn’t know rather to laugh or to cry, I wanted to believe she was just joking around with me, even if it was a little mean. But before I could formulate any kind of response my grandmother (on my mother’s side) Pulls me around, telling me it’s okay to be average and I shouldn’t be acting this way just because he’s really special and and very handsome.

I couldn’t believe my ears, heck I couldn’t even believe this was really happening and I had thought this was suppose to my day, and all could feel was m heart sinking along with whatever positive self image I still possessed.

 

Then of course my mom chimed in, I don’t know why when she first interrupted my aunt and grandma that I allowed myself to believe she was jumping to my defense, instead she launched into telling me about everything that was wrong with me. How my nose was too big and that I needed plastic surgery to get it fixed, then piece by piece she tore me apart, telling me how my hair was too greasy and unkempt, that I was too weakly, scrawny, my clothes didn’t fit me right, I had poor posture, bad skin, I couldn’t stand or walk right, my teeth weren’t white enough, my gums weren’t pink enough, etc. By then end of it I just wanted to crawl into a hole somewhere and die, but of course she didn’t stop there, she went as far as pointing out my speech problems, the grades I was making in school and so forth.

That day my favorite foods had lost their taste, I had lost my appetite, lost in my own depression, thinking how sorry they’ll all be once I’m gone, but I played my part, I smiled falsely, pretended that everything okay; even though I was dying inside and when I finally got to blow out my candles, I wished for a new life and I hoped for love to come into my life and make sense of all of this.

 

Later I would grow to suspect everything that happened was some veiled attempt to breed resentment between my brother and me, but it never took. Even when he was making my life miserable I still loved him, he was my brother and he always will be. brothers are suppose to be a pain, suppose to torment you and get on your nerves. Even my step-brother and me for as well as we did get along we often got on each others nerves, would tease one another and annoy the ever loving crap out of each other. So no, I never really blamed Dominic for anything that’s happened, because he was my brother.

                But, Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if I had spoken out and made myself heard, to admit how I wasn’t perfect but to ask who of us really was, I could have pointed out the faults of everyone in that room if I had wanted to. But I didn’t, instead I retreated into my room, having always preferred losing myself in a book, a movie, a video game, or hanging out with my own friends than try and pretend I was a part of something that I wasn’t. But it was okay, I had my friends, I had an amazing step brother and sister and it was they who always found me and pulled me back from that ledge that my depression had often brought me. They were my strongest supporters, my biggest fans, the people who I’ll always love and never forget, remembering always there words which will stay with me until the very end of my days. I may have been just days from learning the truth. But one thing I learned from writing this blog, which is this, appreciate your family for what it can be, not what it should be, step parents, step brothers and sisters can be just as good, or sometimes even better than the real thing, family is what you make of it, not what it should be, anyone can family, friends, co-workers, even your bosses, all you have to do is let it.

 

Okay, this has nothing to do with what I'm writing, but over the weekend I did finally get to meet my two favorite actors Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery and even in my severely sleep deprived state I can tell you, these guys are awesome and are remarkably down to earth.

Okay, this has nothing to do with what I’m writing, but over the weekend I did finally get to meet my two favorite actors Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flanery and even in my severely sleep deprived state I can tell you, these guys are awesome and are remarkably down to earth.

 

 

 

 

Scars of Who We Are: Intermission:

Life is not all sunshine and rainbows,
It’s in constant flux, a pendulum swinging,
wildly through the many shades of human emotion,
And it’s important to remember that sometimes,
That the greatest inspiration comes from moments of,
Deep despair and in the words of Martin Luther King Jr.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in
moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in
times of challenge and controversy.”
And sometimes, great darkness can give birth to an even greater light.                 

 

During the course of sharing my story with all of you, I sometimes get asked why I didn’t leave when I had the chance. Which I did have once I was finally old enough to make the decision myself, about who I wanted to live with. I still sometimes even wonder what my life would have been like if I would have made the decision to live with my father. But a few things stopped me, with the first being my older brother, even though I always felt like he resented me for being able to see my/our father every other weekend.  A part of my decision to stay came from the fear, what if my mother was right and I would only worsen my situation and another part of me knew I would miss my older brother. Granted, we didn’t hang out very much growing up, for the most part he often preferred hanging out with his friends and I was always the dorky little brother. We didn’t always get along, he often teased me about my speech, because back then I had a lot of speech problems and even though he drove me nuts, I still loved him. I still love him even to this day, despite the bad blood between us and the harsh words we’ve exchanged. Although after our last conversation, things seemed to become a little more civil between us. But he was always my family and despite our problems he was my brother and the times he included me in something he did, or played with me, were some of the best times of my life. He could always make me laugh, or feel better whenever he saw I was really down and out. Also, despite everything that’s happened, I always looked up to him, he was the coolest brother in the world and more than anything I wanted to be just like him in every way. He was funny, smart, creative and artistic. In fact it was him who got me interested in drawing and helped me evolve as an artist, giving me pointers here and there, telling me what was good and what I needed to work on. Eventually it got to where I would draw just for him, to show him whatever thing or creature I managed to come up with, just to hear his opinion.

My brother on me on vacation with my grandpa

My brother on me on vacation with my grandpa

 

I never had the chance to tell my brother that I owed most of who I am today, to him. My creativity and imagination was something he helped nurture, not just with drawing.  But he taught me how to really use my imagination to create whole new worlds. He did this by sheer virtue of introducing me to role-playing games. There’s something to be said about sitting around a table, with pen, paper and a variety of dice, using not just your own, but the imagination of the person or persons you’re playing with. It may sound weird, or juvenile, but hey we were kids and it was something I kept up with till my late teens and was something that always stuck with me. I took to it like a moth to the flame and my brother was always the game master, planning adventures for me to take a character that I created and walk him through this world my brother created. It was his story, but I could make the choices and and change and affect it as it was being told. Of course, I was always slave to the dice and my luck to delegate my successes or failures, often forcing me to improvise and at times accept my enviable defeat, waiting for an opening to turn the tables later on in the story.

A part of my decision to stay came from the fear, what if my mother was right and I would only worsen my situation and another part of me knew I would miss my older brother. Granted, we didn’t hang out very much growing up, for the most part he often preferred hanging out with his friends and I was always the dorky little brother. We didn’t always get along, he often teased me about my speech, because back then I had a lot of speech problems and even though he drove me nuts, I still loved him. I still love him even to this day, despite the bad blood between us and the harsh words we’ve exchanged. Although after our last conversation, things seemed to become a little more civil between us. But he was always my family and despite our problems he was my brother and the times he included me in something he did, or played with me, were some of the best times of my life. He could always make me laugh, or feel better whenever he saw I was really down and out. Also, despite everything that’s happened, I always looked up to him, he was the coolest brother in the world and more than anything I wanted to be just like him in every way. He was funny, smart, creative and artistic. In fact it was him who got me interested in drawing and helped me evolve as an artist, giving me pointers here and there, telling me what was good and what I needed to work on. Eventually it got to where I would draw just for him, to show him whatever thing or creature I managed to come up with, just to hear his opinion.

I never had the chance to tell my brother that I owed most of who I am today, to him. My creativity and imagination was something he helped nurture, not just with drawing.  But he taught me how to really use my imagination to create whole new worlds. He did this by sheer virtue of introducing me to role-playing games. There’s something to be said about sitting around a table, with pen, paper and a variety of dice, using not just your own, but the imagination of the person or persons you’re playing with. It may sound weird, or juvenile, but hey we were kids and it was something I kept up with till my late teens and was something that always stuck with me. I took to it like a moth to the flame and my brother was always the game master, planning adventures for me to take a character that I created and walk him through this world my brother created. It was his story, but I could make the choices and and change and affect it as it was being told. Of course, I was always slave to the dice and my luck to delegate my successes or failures, often forcing me to improvise and at times accept my enviable defeat, waiting for an opening to turn the tables later on in the story.

Mutants Down Under. The teenage mutant ninja Turtle RPG

Mutants Down Under. The teenage mutant ninja Turtle RPG

 My brother was often tough, but a fair as a gaming master, not afraid to make me squirm or fret over fear of losing the character who I created and grow to know, making him real to me. Because my brother always made it a requirement I make whatever character I created unlike myself, then he’d kindly have me write my characters back story and formulating his origin, along with motives, what he believed in and why. Which usually meant I had to do some required reading, which meant I would have to read about the world that the game took place in. My brother was always quick to give me a little homework, as well as ask me before every gaming session what my character had been up too, forcing me to always make it plausible. (So I couldn’t just give my character new abilities, talents, weapons, or resources) I had to choose more mundane tasks, such as where he lived and whatever he did in his downtime.

Playing these games with my brother are some of the fondness memories I have of him and I was addicted. My brother was an excellent story teller and I loved being a part of it. It was playing these games with him that helped nourish my imagination and challenge my creativity, because I learned I would often have to out think, out wit and in a sense out play him in order to survive his story, so that my character would then be able go on to live another adventure. The first Role-playing game he introduced me to, if you haven’t already guessed was “Mutants Down Under” And to this day I still remember the very first character I created, because even though I didn’t want to be him at first, because I wanted to be a mutant turtle, but as chance would have it, I rolled a mutant Kangaroo, who I named, “Jack.” A character who survived numerous adventures, acquiring weapons, equipment and eventually I even managed to procure an airship. All despite my brother’s eventual attempt to kill off this character I had grown to love, because he had grown bored writing stories for my character and of me being the same character all the time. I also think it was because it was growing harder to give me a suitable challenge with all the weapons and various other equipment and crew I managed to pull together. So he eventually forced me to retire Jack and I later created a few other characters who didn’t have Jack’s luck or his longevity.

The Marvel Super-heroes Role-Playing Game

The Marvel Super-heroes Role-Playing Game

 

  Later when my brother got me into comic books, he got me involved with another role-playing game, “Marvel Superheroes” where I was able to create my own hero. Again I wanted a character like Wolverine or one of my other two favorites Spider-man or Iron-Man, which he did let me play for awhile, before he forced me to create my own crime fighter. Who’s story was he got transformed into a super-powered being when a device he created to bring vegetation to the deserts exploded giving him powers to control and manipulate the earth around him. So I called me, “Earth Avenger” Who was almost as rich as Tony Stark but not quite and this was the game my brother had the most fun out of traumatizing and torturing my character. (Seriously unbeknownst to be, he turned my best in game friend into a monster and this monster attacked me, I kinda accidentally killed him and when I did that, he turned human again. Also my character at the time was engaged to his sister….twisted right?) But I still had fun and in time I managed to create a few other short lived heroes and from there I always in some hero kick, making up my own heroes and villains and imagining I was them .

 

 

Werewolf The Apocalypse Role-Playing Game by the "World Of Darkness"

Werewolf The Apocalypse Role-Playing Game by the “World Of Darkness”

 

But one of my favorite games, Dominic introduced me to, was “Werewolf the Apocalypse” An amazing game. Which he eventually handed down to me, which was a godsend. Because in school I never had very many friends, until the day I heard my now best-friend Matt, talking about the companion book to this, called “Vampire the Masquerade” So I jumped in and telling him how I had the other book, which won me some of the best friends anyone can ask for. That night I was invited over to their house to play and try our hand at role-playing and it was the first time anyone had ever asked me to come over to their house, (I was in the seventh grade) So it was a huge deal for me. Then because of my brother’s tutelage, I soon became the premiere game-master and we ended up playing “Werewolf” instead of their vampire and it was because of my brother that I was able to run my own game and how I became so good at it they couldn’t get enough. It wasn’t long either that our group swelled from just the four of us gathered around the table, throwing the dice, that soon it we grew to a group of 8 all sitting around playing in a world that we created together. Eventually I even developed and we would play Role-playing games that I created myself and we play long into the night, laughing, fighting, joking and it was in that we grew incredibly close, becoming in every sense of the word a family and all because of my brother. 

         Our potential was limitless and our imaginations were our playgrounds, we never let our creativity burn away, we weren’t rotting our minds with mindless television (And I love TV and movies as much as anyone, but I’m not ashamed to admit that it makes our minds lazy and robs us of imagination and creativity, making our minds dull and blunt, when we need books to keep our minds sharp and quick) But because of these games, we were able to sharpen our minds and explore whole worlds together, for many of us and myself in particular it was my escape. It was also some of the most fun I ever had and can’t think of any other time where I, or any of would laugh so hard and so consecutively have such a good time together. Our late night gaming sessions contributed to my finally over coming my shyness and I can’t tell you how many times our gaming lead to us having deep and meaningfully conversations, where we would talk about anything, everything, our lives, our hopes, dreams and our aspirations. We shared everything together and in so doing, they’ve became my brothers. 
If you never played a role-playing game before, I can’t recommend it enough, it’s story-telling at its finest, only everyone gets to contribute, making it a live action and interactive story, with everyone having their own specific rolls to play, with one person acting as the game-master, leading them ever further down the rabbit hole.

But I have fallen far from my point. Another reason why I chose to stay, was yes, because of my brother and my friends, but also because I loved my mother and more than anything I wanted her love. A few times I thought I was incredibly close to winning her affection, longing for her to look at me and to speak to me, to fight for me and defend just half as much as she had my brother. I wanted her love more than anything and I can never explain why I loved her, even when she usually went out of her way to make me miserable, which made me hate her. But still for reasons I can’t describe and if for no other reason except she was my mother and I loved her, for maybe that reason and that reason alone. Although, I am sentimental and desperately clung  to those memories of when I was younger, when she used to read to my brother and myself.

Growing up, was so weird, I never knew one could grow to hate, fear and love someone so much and at the same time. Despite all the beatings, the put-downs and all the horrible things my mother said to me, she wasn’t always so bad. She had moments when she could be incredibly sweet and kind, even on rare occasions was able to goof off with me and I think actually enjoy my company. I lived for the moments, believing I could win her love, praying every day that God would open her eyes and she’d see for the first time what she was doing to me, what she’s done and apologize.
But there was one time, one time in all my years that she made me feel just as loved as she did when she used to read to my brother and me. I was fourteen and I awoke in the dead of night, shivering, realizing that at some point during the night I had managed to kick my covers off.  So I started fumbling around in the dark for them, when I heard someone at my door and instinctively laid my head back on pillow and laid perfectly still. Then my door slowly eased open and I closed my eyes feigning sleep, out of fear that it was either my mother or step-dad.  
Laying there with my heart hammering painfully against my ribs, realizing that the person at my door 
wasn’t going away and after counting to ten, I slowly peeked out through the slits of my eyes and saw the silhouette of my mother standing there in the doorway, watching me sleep., (or in this case pretending to be asleep) I immediately began praying that she’d just close my door and leave, believing she was about to haul me out of bed and start accusing me, or hitting me. Then as I watched her slip silently into my room, I could feel my body tense and I closed my eyes out of fear she’d noticed I was watching her, then I just laid there, pretending to be asleep, almost too afraid to breathe, when the unexpected happened.

I felt my covers being pulled up around me and I went from frightened to speechless, making me too afraid to move out of fear it would break whatever magic, or grace of God that came into my room that night. Then as she hugged me and softly whispered,
“I’m sorry, for everything, I love you,” Then she kissed the top of my head and more than anything I wanted to open my eyes and throw my arms around her, I wanted to tell her I loved her too, that she’ll always be my mother. But I didn’t, I was afraid I would ruin the moment and I opened my eyes just enough to watch her quietly slip back out of my room, closing my door lightly behind her as she went. I don’t think I ever slept better than I did that night and never felt better as I slept off into dreamland.

        That moment stayed with me for a very long time and for several nights there after I would purposely kick off my blankets in the middle of the night and sometimes would even leave my door cracked out of hope it’d happened again. Even though it never did, I sometimes wondered if this was the first time she slipped into my my room, or if she had done it on numerous nights. Even today I catch myself wondering almost absentmindedly about what prompted her to this, even if it was just the one time, often telling myself it was something God meant for me to experience and to hear. Sometimes, I wonder if it was my mother at all, or the Lord who came into my room that night and sometimes I will swear it had to be her. Believing maybe never wanted to treat me the way that she had, that maybe she hated herself for mistreating me and that maybe, there was a reason for it. Like, maybe it’s all been a part of the Lord’s plan and she was playing her role, so that I could later help others and know their pain and loneliness for having known their darkness. Or maybe it was to help prepare me for something bigger, something yet to come.

Al I really know, is that in that moment, even if it was just for a moment, I had all doubt erased from my mind and knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, my mother loved me, even if it was just for a moment, because sometimes, a moment is all you really ever need.

Maybe I’ll never get it,
Because the lights are out,
And I’m just typing in the dark
Knowing you’ll never know what happened to me,
 And I’m just sitting here by myself, It’s just one of those things,
I never spoke about,
When the words just started pouring out,
And here we are,
Just playing our parts.

 

                       Until recently I hadn’t spoken to my brother for a few years. The little contact we had usually resulted in accusations and bitter words, because he blames me for some things, which I don’t blame in the least, because he never seen what really went on and I never told him, not for years and all he ever got to see was the best of our mother. However this time when we conversed I refused to get worked up, angry or frustrated. Instead I met him with understanding and listened to him, which I think got him to listen a little to me. Part of our differences stems from his recent claims to me that my father abused him. Something I can’t say what he says is true or not. I can only talk about my own accounts and what I’ve been told my step brother and step sister, who even after that divorce still love and adore my father, with both telling me how good of a man he was. That said, I don’t know about my brother’s past with him and I told him as much, stating that I never told him what was going on, or what happened to me, for the same reasons he never said anything to me. It could have happened and I still love my brother and if my dad did beat him, I’m deeply sorry, it shouldn’t have happened. 

 

 

 

            ~ It’s not that any one person doesn’t have the capacity to accept the truth, sometimes they just don’t want to, or they cannot, for what the truth would mean. So they hide behind their own logic and intelligence while the truth marches by, instead of stepping out and joining it.

Boy Playing in Public Square.

 

 

The Scars of Who We Are Chapter VII

Chapter VII: Scars will always fade,
But they will never go away,
I try throwing it all away,
But I remember everything,
Because the memory always remains…

Young boy looking through window

The year was 1989 when my parents finally got a divorce, admittedly I didn’t really understand what was going on and like most kids I had hoped it would be only temporary. But it wasn’t  My mother had cheated on my dad, with someone she had told my brother and I was just a friend. Admittedly I was somewhat suspicious when asked my brother and I to be quiet about it. Personally at the time I liked the guy, but I was six and he seemed nice enough to me, so I didn’t have a problem with him. But again I was six, below should be a recording that I accidently made, when I was trying to get my older brother in trouble, by recording him cursing on a tape recorder…..Yeah it may have been black mail, but I had grown tired of him picking on me, making fun of me and always blaming me, or getting me into trouble. What can I say, I was resourceful and I suppose I was a lot smarter

than I gave myself credit for in those days.
Believe it or not, my mom wasn’t always as nice as she sounds in this recording, remember the woman had brought another man to our house and was afraid of my dad finding out in fear that it would give him ammunition for their looming divorce.  You can listen to through here, (sorry I coudn’t find any other way to upload it to my blog.
https://sites.google.com/site/jcooperaudio/mp3/confession_.wav?attredirects=0&d=1

 

(I believe the first voice you hear is my older brother, followed by my less intelligible voice. I edited the recording down as much as I could and cut out all the blips and squeals, since most of the cassette tape had eroded somewhat. If you want to fast forward to the 3 minute mark I think is when my mother finally enters our room.)

 

 


I don’t think I’ll ever forget when I was told that I would only be able to see my dad every other weekend. Because my father was always very involved in the lives of both my brother and me, he loved, taking us to the movies and taking us to see the movies we wanted to see. Once even after our parents divorced he picked up both my brother and me and took us to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then afterward he took us to Toys R’us and bought us some Ninja Turtle toys. Something he didn’t have to do, but he that’s the kind of man my father was. He was always the kind of father he didn’t have to be and treated the kids that weren’t even his as if they were his own.  And it was my father who spent time with my brother and me; he didn’t hesitate taking us to parks, fairs, or amusement parks.  He always made time for us and was rarely ever too tired, or busy to spend time with us. If I ever get married and have kids I hope I’ll be half the father and the man that was and still is.

 

This is my mom way back when, it's the only good picture I have of her anymore.

This is my mom way back when, it’s the only good picture I have of her anymore.

 

My father was and still is my hero, the strongest man I’ll ever know and I’ll never forget the day when I saw him cry. He had come to pick me up the weekend after the divorce, because my mother had lied and manipulated the court to judge in her favor and won the custody battle over me. I didn’t have any say, I wasn’t allowed to speak up and because of that I only got to see my father every other weekend, or for weeks at a time once summer began. But the day I saw him dad cry, I have no words for it.  I was there at my grandma’s with him and I was playing contently on the couch across from him with my toys; he was talking to my grandmother about everything. I distinctly remembered the very words he spoke as I heard his voice crack for the very first time.

 

 

       “I don’t know what I’m going to do…and I miss her,” He spoke, choking back a sob. I knew the sound well, from all the times I tried holding back my tears and always failed so miserably. So I froze at first, not really knowing what to do, but I doped my toys and turned to my father, feeling my own heart shatter as I saw the tears streaming down his cheeks. A part of me knew this was an adult situation and was well beyond my understanding at the time. But I stood up all the same and walked solemnly over to him, wrapping my around his neck and I hugged him. I told him that everything would be okay and I loved him. He pulled his arms around me, clutching my little shoulders as he assured me that he knew and that he loved me too. We stayed there for a while, as he apologized and I could feel him shaking as he told me how sorry he was, that he tried his best to get me and failed. I did my best try and comfort him as he had comforted me so many countless times in the past. I never did stop missing him.

 

 

When I got home that weekend, I felt as if I had aged by ten years, I had so many things now rattling around inside my head, most of which I didn’t fully understand and at the time I still didn’t get how two people could fall out of love and how they could hurt each other so much. I was thinking about that and a dozen other things a child of six had no business thinking, or wondering about.  I did want to live with my dad, but at the same time I knew I would miss my brother, then there were my friends who I knew I’d never see again if I moved. I also believed that my mother could still love me, or so that’s what I wanted so desperately to believe. Even now I kick myself for not seeing things for how they were and it was strange to think that just a year prior I was with both my parents in my aunt’s car, driving to see my uncle Skip so he could show off his new boat.

 

We had spent most of the day driving around, so by the time we pulled up into the parking lot to meet him, my dad had popped out to get a coke because he was thirsty and I started to with him, when I was ordered to stay where I was. So naturally I protested, insisting I was thirsty all the while I was watching my dad on the off the chance my mother and her sister (my aunt Terry) would permit me to go. Instead Terry produced a clear glass bottle from under her seat and offered it to me.

 

I don’t know why the sight of the bottle made me immediately suspicious, or why I had that sickly feeling that something about it was wrong and I shouldn’t partake in its contents of whatever liquid that bottle held.

 

“No thanks, I don’t like it.” I said almost immediately, (mistake #1)

 

“How do you know you don’t like it?” My aunt asked.

 

“I just don’t….Please let me go with dad and get something to drink, I’m really thirsty.” I pleaded (mistake #2 for thinking they’d show me the slightest of mercies)

 

“Then you can’t be that thirsty,” My mother challenged and I looked at the bottle again, debating.

 

 “It’s either this or you have to wait till we meet up with Skip and see if he has any drinks on his boat,” My aunt said with mock sympathy. I knew what it was even then, for I had grown accustom to having an older brother who often got me in trouble or got me to do something I didn’t want to by speaking in the same tone.

 

“What is it?”  I asked, distrustfully trying to read the bottle and my aunt’s face, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was some sort of trick. (Which it was)

 

 

“Water,” My aunt (lied) as she held the bottle out to me again and I stared at it suspiciously, half expecting at any moment that one of them would laugh, or give something away to tell me this was all some sort of a joke they were playing on me.

 

          “It doesn’t look like water,” I commented, smiling and almost certain my they would tell me this was a joke now and they were just teasing me. (Mistake number 3) I should have known better and shouldn’t under estimate my mom or my aunt’s depravity.

 

 

         “It’s flavored water,” my mom answered.  (It wasn’t.)

 

Her answer gave me pause,  because I did see her and my aunt drinking flavored water on numerous occasions, however I knew those bottles were different, clear plastic with colored labels, and this one was in a glass bottle with a label I didn’t recognize. (Yeah, I couldn’t really read it, but give me a break I was five.)

 

“No thanks, can I please go with dad and get something?”  I pleaded, hoping I’d get permission before he returns, in which I knew would make the answer an definitive and resounding “No,” but I saw the anger flash across my mom’s face as she accused me of lying telling me if I was really thirsty I would drink what was being offered and wouldn’t be so picky.

 

 

“No, no, I’m not lying!” I protested, panic rising in my throat, with a strong suspicion that I was about to be smacked, (Because my mother had a penchant for hauling off and hitting us, my brother or me across the face, whenever we made her upset, often this would come without warning or provocation, such as at the dinner table whenever we sat our elbows on the table, or complained of being hot whenever we sat in the backseat of the car, or accidently bothered her on the wrong day.)

 

 

        “You’re getting the paddle when we get home,” She threatened and I paled,


 

       Long ago, my mother believed her hand was ineffective in beating us kids, so she commissioned my father to craft a wooden paddle, with the holes drilled into it to reduce wind resistance, and the electrical taped handle “for her comfort” she naturally didn’t want to risk getting splinters and for whatever the reason I recalled her beating me with that paddle quit frequently. (I feared the beatings from my mother way more than my father. For the few times I warranted a beating from my father, he would only do so with the greatest of reluctance and would only give me one or two swats to my backside and be done with it. My mother however was much more severe. She would deliver so many that I would lose count, hitting me as hard as she could with each swat, which often times left large and sometimes bleeding welts against my buttocks, my lower back, or the back of my legs whenever she missed. She didn’t much care for accuracy, she prided herself more on bending over her knee and hitting as wildly and as ferociously as she could and to this day I still remember the searing pain that would flair up whenever she struck my lower back, and/or the back of my legs. If I cried, or screamed out during any of this, she would beat me more until I didn’t make a noise, then God help me if later I retreated to my room and she heard me crying. Because she explode into my room, with a belt, or tear me out of my bed with her nails biting painfully into my arms and beat me until I promised to be quiet.

 

 

So now, when I find myself sitting in a car, listening to my mom tell me how she’s going to beat me when we get home for lying about how thirsty I was, I had little choice, but to prove my honesty by taking the bottle of whiskey from my aunt. I vaguely remember squeezing my noise as I brought the bottle to my lips, partly from the noxious smell of it and to help me not taste it, then I threw back my head, gulping down the contents. Almost immediately I heard my aunt squealing with delight,

 

 

 “Oh my god, he’s drinking it, he’s really drinking it,” She squealed excitedly.

 

 

  Then I heard my mother guffaw as the two laughed and it was then the taste hit me and I could feel my mouth and throat burning as if I was drinking liquid fire. My eyes bulge out as I threw the bottle away from me and immediately got sick all over my aunt’s new car.

 

 

         My father returned shortly thereafter, right as my mother was dragging me out of the car, so that I could finish throwing up outside the car, oppose to further ruining my the interior of my aunt’s car, with the last thing I remembered from that day being my dad going ballistic as he found out what happened and how he took care of me afterwards.

 

 

 Now, more than a year later, I finished spending that first weekend with my dad and I come into the house and overhear my older brother, Dominic asking my mother why Robert, (My dad) didn’t take him away for the weekend too. I too was curious so I ease dropped and heard her explain that my father wasn’t his real father and that he was from her previous marriage and that he wasn’t Robert’s son, only I was (meaning me)

 

 

“Why?” He asked pitifully, adding how much he had loved and cared for my father. What I heard next chilled me to my core and left me feeling overwhelming pity for my older brother, as my mother said,

 

 

“Because he doesn’t love you, he never loved you, just like how your real father didn’t want you. I’m the only one who loves you, I’m the only who cares about you and wants you.”

 I slipped away after that, I felt ashamed, guilty and confused. My heart went out to my older brother with the only thing I knew for certain was that what she said to him was wrong.  I didn’t say for certain, but I knew she was being a liar, because I remembered my father and he treated my brother no different than me.  But I still searched and long for the truth. Often I would ask my dad, I saw my dad if he reason why he never picked my brother up along with me was because he didn’t love or want him and every time he had told me that he couldn’t gain custody of Dominic because he wasn’t his son and the lawyers wouldn’t allow it, but he still tried. Truthfully, my dad did care for my brother and for years would ask me about him, wanting to know what he was up too and what how he’d been. A few times he did try to see him as well as me, but my mother would never allow it. It still pains my heart to this day knowing that my brother’s opinion of my father is based solely on lies. 

I had some serious doubts about posting this, but…anyway here it goes.

          “Have you ever had a dream, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?” – 1999s “The Matrix”

              For the longest time I had thought this was simply an interesting quote, written by a pair of very talented writers. Even though for as long as I can remember I’ve always dreamt in color and my dreams, have always been incredibly vivid and surreal. I have to admit usually when I dream; I very rarely ever dream that I’m myself. Instead I usually dream of stories, where I find myself in the shoes of the very characters I create. So for the longest time, it has been my dreams that have been my inspiration and is why I now keep a dream journal, jotting down whatever dream I have at the very moment I awake. Later I often go back and reference the page or pages that I had written and discover a story worth writing within the context of whatever it was I dreamt.

Without a doubt,

 I need your help,

 because I can’t figure this out,

And there’s so many things I want to say,

But there’s too many things still in the way.

And I’m just now beginning to see what it was all about.

Last night however was different. First being that as a sufferer of insomnia, I tend to be a night owl, who stays up late pecking away on my computer keys, sometimes I’m working on writing new pages for my story, or going back and editing the chapters I’ve already written, sometimes adding to, or taking out whatever didn’t fit, or properly work.

                 But last night as I sat down at my computer, ready and energized to get to work, I had that moment of absolute clarity we writers tend to get, when everything seems clear and you’re completely focused on your writing. In times like these, your fingers can barely keep up with your thoughts. Unfortunately for me, this is also when my eyelids felt incredibly heavy and after taking a moment to stare despairingly at the clock and seeing it flash 9:30 pm. I couldn’t believe it, because I usually have to force myself to fall asleep, which usually isn’t till 2, or 3:00 am. Then the more I tried to fight sleep, the more tired I felt, until I couldn’t shake it anymore and I ended up climbing into bed by ten.

                I didn’t think a bed could ever feel so comfortable, a pillow so soft and cool and as I closed my eyes I out like a light. The dream I had still haunts me even now, giving me goose bumps whenever I think, or talk about it. It was so real to me; even in my dream I began to believe it was real and I was me. I was outside and it was snowing, I could feel the freezing winds whipping against my clothes, cutting right through me, chilling me to my very core. I could even feel the snow falling and melting against my face and it was in this moment that I became self-aware in my dream and began questioning my own sanity. I had climbed into the passenger seat of a jeep that my cousin was driving. Immediately I could feel the shift in temperature, it was warm inside the cabin and after closing the door I could feel the warmth thawing my still freezing face. Rubbing my hands together to get feeling back into them, I bring my hands to my cheeks, feeling the warmth of my hands against my face. I vaguely remember going to bed and waking up with my throat feeling parched and getting a glass of water. But as I looked around the interior of the jeep and ran my hand along the rough and cracked dash I realized I wasn’t dreaming, ( Even though I was) and that I had stayed up late the night before the world ended. It had only been half a day since the end began and we had already left another human being to die and I could feel my conscious was eating away at my soul

It started out simple enough; I was out with some friends many were from the new church I started attending when something happened, a pulse of sorts managed to knock out every electrical device and as near as any of us could tell it happened all over the world and all at once. Nothing worked, watches died, cellphones became paperweights and most cars simply became lawn ordainments. No one really knew how or why this happened all we knew was that it happened and it happened in the middle of winter, making survival that much more of a struggle. At first however most people came together during this time, believing whatever happened was temporary at most; many believing it were a solar flare, or some other accident, with many believing it to be a simple blackout. Then people began disappearing, several from my group vanished without a trace and seemingly into thin air.

 It was during this that a realization hit me, that the tide of men would change and fear would win out to reason and the goodwill people were at first sharing with one another. Now I never was much of a public speaker and less of a leader. At most I would say I’m more of a loner, but I somehow found the tongue to stand up and speak up. To my surprise when I spoke, people listened (granted most were my friends and members of my church, but still) and I managed to pull everyone together. Working together we managed to find a few vehicles that could still start and we formed a convoy and began heading out of town, in search for a less populated place. It wasn’t long however until we discovered that people all over had been disappearing and the vanishings never happened all at once, which bred only more fear amongst us that remained because we never knew who would be next, or really even why. But I found myself driven to find a place for my group to bed down and to try and survive whatever it was that awaited us.

End of Part 1.

 

The Scars of who we are part III

The Scars of Who We Are Part III

Part 3. Pull back the curtain and tell me what you see and tell me who is it you’re trying to be and how they compare to the person that you are? So take my hand and hold it tight, I promise not to lie to you tonight, for tonight is only the beginning, when we rediscover and find out who it is, we really are.

I actually meant to have this up last week; unfortunately I came down with the flue and bronchitis, which as you can imagine pretty much wiped me out. Granted I tried to write a little on my novel but couldn’t get very far. I also attempted to work on my blog, which became difficult when all I wanted to do was crawl into bed and sleep (I’ll spare you the other details.) I also want to apologize to the community boards I’m a part of, I really want to be more active on the boards, but while I was sick, I lacked focus. But with the help from my doctor and some good friends I’m finally better and find myself able to sit down and really write.
I’ve always been a firm believer in dreams, there’s enough automatons in the world, who are those who simply give up, or surrender their dreams, often becoming bitter, resentful and pessimistic. What the world needs, what it really needs, are dreamers. It was Robin S. Sharma who once said “Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us,”

Dreamers are the ones who inspire us with their works, awe us by their creations or move us by their words. I’m sure we’ve all seen one movie, or read a book that inspired you to do more, or to make more out of your life. Almost always it makes you feel like you’ve been sleep walking through life this whole time and that now you’re finally awake and seeing things clearly for the first time. Seeing just how different the world really is, but change can be difficult, but sometimes it the change that you need.

I know people look down on me and I know it’s because they sometimes see me as a dreamer, who’s head is always lost in the clouds. But it’s my dreams that me strong and it’s my dreams that kept me young at heart. Because of my dreams I learned perspective. I can see beyond and past myself and all my insecurities, I can see a world where anything is possible. A world filled with incredible joy, happiness and wonder. I see this world whenever I close my eyes, I see what we as a people can really do, I see our potential and I see it in everyone. This is why I write, because it’s my dream to do so and say what you will about my dreams, I believe that my dreams, along with yours are given to us directly from the hand of God himself, who puts those dreams within us.

Now following and believing in your dreams rarely comes easy, like all talents or gifts, they must be nurtured, given time to grow. They need to grow as I had in my earliest of years, when my mom had left home with my older brother Dominic, leaving me behind for my father to later find and rescue.

We are the fallen,
Who tear down the world,
We are the broken,
Who are lost,
We are the weary,
Who lost our way
Yet we’re looking forward to a better day,
Looking forward to a better day.

Unfortunately, I have seen proof of this, in old home videos that my dad had on rare occasion let me watch. On them, I see myself a young boy playing with my toys on my grandma’s couch. In the background I hear my grandma asking my dad about me. I hear his tale as I had heard him tell it over a dozen times before. Only this time I think it was his first time telling anyone of his account. There’s a note of disbelief in tone, and I hear his voice breaking. My dad rarely ever shows his pain, I think I only seen and heard him cry twice in my entire life. This being one of them, where I hear my father crying and from what I was told and from the numerous home videos they had me. Videos of other family who came to visit me, I know I was with my dad for over a week before my mother had the courtesy to finally call and check up on me.

Listening to stories of my parents converging has never been easy and I find the retelling incredibly difficult, (So bear with me, a lot of this I put together on my own because my mother told only part of the story, enough of which to make herself into the hero, while my dad had been more forthright.) Looking back always leaves me wondering, what if things worked out differently?

Something you need to understand my mother, she’s a masterful manipulator, I can speak from experience, she can spin a lie so fanciful and beautiful, fill it with endless depths she could make you believe you’re right handed instead of left, or that ice was really hot instead of cold. She can spin any lie and tell it with such conviction you can’t help but believe it to be the truth. She was incredible to watch, because she could feign any emotion, anger, great sadness, she could even go so far as openly weep, with tears streaming down her cheeks and a snot bubble in her nose, the sight of which will always leave you with your chest swelling with pity. I say this, because years later she once struck me so hard and so repeatedly, she caused permanent nerve damage to my right eye. Then had be convinced it my fault and had me scared to death to tell anyone the truth. When even now I still can’t control how my right eye twitches, usually when I eat, but I’ve learned to live with it.

But the truth about my mother is this, she was the greatest actress I ever seen and even in so knowing all this, my love for her was still boundless and all I ever wanted was for her to love me. (So when she manages to get my dad on the phone, this is who he’s dealing with)

She cried, begged and eventually talked him into bringing me over to her mom’s house. My Grandma Agnes, lived with her elderly mother Aida at the time, so my dad figured it’d be a safe as a meet as any. When he shows up, my dad tells me she’s super sweet, kind and very complacent. (So naturally my dad is suspicious that something is up) However, no one save myself is truly immune to her charms and that took me practically twenty two years of my life to develop, so my dad didn’t have a chance.

   We are the beaten and the downtrodden
Searching for answers in a life gone wrong,
Picking up the pieces of what’s already gone,
Living in the past,
And Standing in the midst the broken glass.
Believing we’re the lost and forgotten.
Because the flowers had yet to blossom,
But the pain is going to end,
And the sun will rise again

Before he knew it, she had talked him into bringing me into the house, showing off all the new things that her and her sister Terry S, had gotten me. One of which being a new carrier, that she kept trying to talk my dad into letting me try out. Which he reluctantly he permits, letting her put me in the new carrier. Then she attempts to talk him into putting my diaper bag down which he adamantly refuses. (Thank God my dad has some limits) So she decides to try another tactic, by convincing my dad she needed to talk to him privately upstairs and convincing him into letting my grandma Agnes watch me. Now my dad liked her enough to trust her, in his eyes she was good church going woman and she was old. So he lets himself be talked into letting her watch me, while him and my go upstairs to talk. Again she tries to slip my baby bag from my father’s shoulder, insisting that her mom may need it while they were upstairs, but my dad refuses, insisting that it’s staying on him. (Another win for the good guys…for now at least)

Somewhat defeated, but not completely out of the game yet, my mom takes my dad upstairs into Agnes’s room, which is right next to my great grandmother Aida’s room. Once alone in Agnes’s room, my mom begins telling my dad how much she missed him, apologizing to him for everything she’s done, kissing on him as she tells him how much she loves him, needs him.

My dad resisted for a bit, but his resolve begins falter, (Hey, the poor guy is only human; give him a break and now my least favorite part of the story.) My mom proceeds in her attempts of seducing my father…he tries to resists, keeps telling her no and freaking out that her mom was right downstairs and that her grandma was probably next room. But she ignored him and pressed her advantage, waving off his concerns of her mother or grandmother walking in. She begins taking off his belt and pulling down his pants and my dad tries to resist. But she manages to distract him just enough to get his pants down around his ankles.

This is when the cobra chose to strike, she rips my baby bag from my dad’s shoulder, shoves him down onto the bed, turns and races out of the room. My dad realizing that this clearly was a setup is back on his feet in no time, pulling on his pants and giving chase. He already knows she intends on taking me back, why he had no idea, but he couldn’t risk letting her having my life back in her hands. So my dad explodes out of the bedroom after her and she’s already down the stairs, he hears her shouting to her mom and my dad’s heart sinks. He walked right into a setup and he bolts to the stairs in hopes of catching my mother before she could escape with me.
Now, did I mention my mom immorality? Because as my dad reaches the stairs he hears my mom sending my great grandma Aida up the stairs, costing my father precious time as he tries to quickly push past her without sending her spilling down the stairs, or causing her any harm. By the time he gets past her, my mom is already outside with me.

“How can you let her do this?” My father asks, looking to my grandma Aida, sickened before he races out of the house just in time to see my mother pulling away.
Determined to get me back, my dad races to his truck and floors it all in hopes of getting me back. (My dad tells this part slightly more colorfully with how he’d swore he was going to kill her for abandoning me, then stealing me) So then begins the car chase, out of a subdivision, onto a freeway, then a highway, all the way up to Cincinnati Ohio, back to Kentucky, then back up to Ohio because my mom was trying desperately to lose him. She hadn’t expected my father to be chasing her, never thought he’d enter a high speed car chase in order to rescue me. She wanted me in Ohio, because that’s where her sister Terry S lives up that way, which she figured it’d be safe since her husband was truly loaded, mansion and all. (Seriously her house was literally a mansion; every home I grew up in could fit inside) My mom almost makes it there, when she gets pulled over for speeding and erratic driving.
Thinking quickly and knowing this cop was costing her valuable time, my mom leaps out of the car, crying. Balling, with great big tears streaming down her face, making her breath catch in her throat as she races up to the now alarmed police officer who’s not quite sure what to make of the theatrics. She proceeds to tell the cop, that her husband just found out she was leaving him and that he was crazy, having threatened to kill her,

(Now imagine two things if you will. One your deranged spouse just kidnapped your kid who she tried to kill a few times before, not to mention had abandoned. Now imagine how angry you’d be, how mad you’d look. Now I want you think of a cop who hears that you’re crazy and trying to murder said spouse, which let’s be honest you’re probably considering. So in case you’re wondering yeah, it’s not looking too good for my father) almost like clockwork, my dad pulls up behind the cop thinking that he finally had her and there was no way she could continue her escape now that a cop was involved. Then my dad’s heart sinks as the cops sends my mother on her way.

The officer and my old man end up exchanging some heated words, (Which doesn’t help his case) and the end results in him being forced to turn around and return home, defeated.

The days grow shorter,

The nights ever longer,

As I grow endlessly colder….

But clinging ever so tightly,

To this little light of mine.