Monday, September 5, 2011

NEWLY PENNED-SLIPPING AWAY

Newly Penned


SLIPPING AWAY

BY
L.J. HOLMES
September 5, 2011
(2,594)


“Mom, please, talk to me?”
Deep within her coma, the mother ached for the pain she heard in her daughter’s voice. Trying with all her might, she urged her drifting mind to slow, turn and head back to where she could lasso it and use it.
No one told her, all those many years ago, aging would be like this. What child believes one day they will become little more than a feeble shell of the person they used to be? What student, garnering “A’s” with such ease, all around her secretly hating her, could imagine a day when something as unexpected as a stroke would reach into her intelligence and leave her gaping for words, drooling like a baby, and doing other things, she’d never want to imagine, and still doesn’t?
As a child, she suffered the “loving” teasing of her parents, regaling one and all about how bad a baby she’d been. Through no fault of her own, she’d been born with blood tumors between each of her fingers and toes. Back then the doctors, having little understanding what a blood tumor is, snatched the new born away, carted her into the barbaric tombs within the hospital’s bowels, and burned each of those tumors with the application of dry ice upon her baby’s skin.
One tumor, stretched like some proud testament to perhaps a warrior’s wound from an ancient life, across the right cheeks of her tiny bottom…the same bottom that would be enshrouded in diapers containing the urine ammonia against that oozing wound. How could she have been anything but a cranky baby?
“Mom, can you hear me? Open your eyes Mom. I’m not letting you leave me. Mom, I can’t.”
In her wandering mind’s eye, she formed the perfect image of her daughter. From the moment her child took her first breath, the bond between mother and child melded so strongly neither could imagine life without the other. Is that a good thing? Lately, as her body became more and more her enemy, she wondered. Her biggest fears seemed to be coming to a head; her death and her precious child’s need to live on without her.
Did she think she played so vital a role in her child’s adult life, she would be unable to pull the shards of her heart’s pain back in, stitch them together, and function around the scabs? What arrogance she would have to engage in to believe that, and yet, she knew from her own loss of the one person that kept her from feeling alone in a world of disenchantment with the who she’d been born to be, how agonizing it could be.
Had she ever really recovered from losing her Grandmother? No, and who had her soul screamed out to when she learned the truth about why her parents, both, hated her? Her eyes turned skyward, and her anguish screamed out for the Grandmother who’d loved her, this changeling without condition.

Its hard being a sixteen year old under the best of circumstances, but learning you do not really exist! Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. You do exist, just not the you everyone raised you to be.
Bending over backwards to try to win even a glimmer of love from the man I called Dad took me out into the yard day after day, offering my hand in ways my brothers could not be bothered with. Dad cut down the huge walnut tree; I helped carry the scrabbling branches to the burn bins. I just wanted Dad to love me, to like me, to not always scowl at me. But how could he when I reminded him of my status?
My status! Mom felt honor bound to let me know exactly what my status in the family was. Could I honestly call myself a bastard? No! Mom and Dad were eleven years into their marriage when my tainted self popped from her womb. Illegitimate? Not by the strictest adherence to the definition. A constant reminder my Dad had been cuckolded? Absolutely!
I began during the Korean War. My parents owned a three story stone mansion within close traveling distance of the Johnsville Navy Base near Hatboro, PA. My Dad was not the most courageous of warriors during the Second World War, so I think opening the top floor of their home to Navy boys far from home, made him feel a bit better about his behavior previously.
Three sailors…that’s how many took up free residence in the third story. Three very young, sailors, away from home for the very first time, alone, and partying with someone generous enough to open her home to them. Mom became an alcoholic after her father died when she was nineteen. Fifteen years later, she had three young boys, unlimited access to the booze they brought into the house and no one to stop her from taking full advantage of three nubile young men.
I will never know who actually sired me, but the man who raised me, is most definitely not the donor of my rare AB+ blood, and me? I became the unwitting recipient of the enmity both my parents felt; mom for getting caught, and Dad…well for not being my real Dad. The blood tumors, they decided, proved I am the spawn of the devil, and the devil made my mother do what she did.
Imagine being seven, eight and having to pull down your panties, turn and bend so the visitors can see the proof of your true parentage, Lucifer, stretching across your right cheek.
“Mom, wake up, please.” My daughter’s voice cut through the pain of such memories.
Focusing on her precious voice, I tried to swim up through the mire. I almost made it, but I’m tired.
This has been a long, long life. I know the peace and joy that awaits me Beyond The Veil, and I so want to go there, lay down my weary head on the lap of the only Father I’ve ever known who loved me despite my demonic mark.
“Mom I can feel your desire to leave. If you go I’m going to kill you!”
A trickle of laughter filled my spirit. As absurd threats went, that one made me chuckle. She could always make me laugh, no matter how bad life became, and it went as it started.
My body, a road map of scars from sources I’d rather not think about, grew more and more cumbersome as the years passed. Multiple trips beneath the surgeon’s knives patched me back together time and time again, but the root of the scars, and the damage from the wounds stayed with me, temporarily stapled into place once more.
My internal organs gave out in my thirties, the same general age my mother was when she conceived me. My punishment for being a changeling, I often wondered. No doubt my entire life, except for the time with my grandmother and my daughter, a punishment for my being Satan’s changeling.
What did I do in my last life to deserve this one? Had I murdered, raped, pillaged? Naturally I was too late to consult the likes of Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet, even though I so longed to. Surely he could have found the answers to why I am the devil’s spawn, and why that rationale never felt right. If my mother received Satan’s seed, could I be like Rosemary’s Baby?
I went to see that movie because I liked Mia Farrow. What happened to her in that film appalled me. If I bore the same heritage as the child born to her in Rosemary’s Baby, wouldn’t I have powers to undo the harsh treatment I received at the hands of my parents, and my ex-husband?  As a true Satan’s spawn, wouldn’t my evilness make me dangerous to any that defied my whims?
I tried to think back to those whom I have hurt in my long life. My brothers hated me because, one I was a girl, never a good thing to be in a family raised to be misogynistic, and two I got good grades without studying while they struggled. Had I done anything, though, to covertly, or overtly hurt them?
I adored the eldest…nine years my senior. I thought he was handsome, funny, and brave in his quiet, unassuming way. The youngest, three years my junior, was the burr in my saddle. He earned me the one beating from my Dad I will never forget. So bad did Dad come down on me over my brother’s acts, I was black and blue from my butt and thighs to the middle of my spine, I hid for two weeks whenever Dad was home behind the couch…I couldn’t sit down and had to sleep on the floor on my belly. (My Grandmother, visiting her sister in Michigan, never knew. Had she been there, it would not have happened. The only woman my Dad ever respected was my Grandmother, and she adored me.)
My middle brother, I stood staunchly in his corner when he got his one year older girlfriend pregnant the first time they did the deed. The daughter of our local millionaire gentleman…if you can call a tobacco chewing, brown drooling pig of a man a gentleman…got his shotgun out and a wedding took place. My brother was not yet twenty-one; only seventeen actually, requiring the signature of my parents.
An elaborate wedding with all the trimmings took place. Six months later, her family blamed us when people started putting two and two together and declaring it a shot-gun wedding.
I stood in my brother’s corner when five years later the marriage ended in a bitter enmity towards him, surprisingly not us too, divorce. (I would learn later why we, the rest of the family, were not included in Farmer Art’s vitriol…I can still taste the sourness of his oozing kiss on my fifteen year old lips, and his prophesy about me being pregnant by the time I turned sixteen. Farmer Art showed up all over the county trying to corner me into making it truth, but I could run like the damned back then.)
If I am Satan’s spawn, how could my ex-husband risk what he put me through? My father, legal father that is, sold me into my marriage before I turned twenty-one and could reach my autonomy. Didn’t Dad tell my ex of my horrible parentage? Why would my ex risk the wrath of my “real” Dad?
Eleven years. That’s how long it took me to escape the talons of my marriage, and years of reconstructive surgery followed. (No, my ex did not carve new scars over the brand from Satan across my butt. That’s about the only part of me he did not etch his mark into.)
That many years of mind altering abuse leaves you hankering for family. My eldest brother, divorced himself by this point is who I sought. He’d been my favorite, my funny, handsome, kindhearted brother.
I found him busy converting the house he’d won in his divorce into apartments, and packed with strangers. With nowhere but his bedroom to talk in private, I blindly followed. The room held nothing but his Queen sized bed and a dresser. Temporary.
Lying down with a distance worthy of who I’d become…a woman who could not stand the touch of any man, not even in comfort, I slipped into telling him the horrible truth of my marriage. Lost in the muck of those years, I nearly jumped out of my skin the minute my brother’s cupped hand molded around my clothed breast.
I could not get out of there fast enough. My brother? How could my brother do this? Did the horrid details of the sexual depravity of my marriage turn him on? Could I have so misjudged the core of the brother I’d idolized growing up?
I never told. How could I? I desperately wanted to believe I’d misunderstood, or the Cognac my brother now devoured as liberally as our mother had devoured Four Roses Whiskey bore the blame…but the next time I saw my brother, hatred burned in his eyes. Like my father, I now had an enemy bent on destroying me and any connection I might still wish to have with the family of my birth. My offspring accepts, whether she wants to or not, the same taint as me. Birds of a Feather, I guess.
“Mom, you cannot die before me,” my daughter raved at me.
Ah Sweet Angel, I thought from my place of unrest, I am tired. So tired.
Being a single parent, without any support systems and a body broken in more places than not, made my thirties little more than excursions in and out of the hospital, and because my ex never paid child support or alimony, a trail into the debasement of seeking Public Assistance. How else could I pay for the damage the whip, and other devices of torture my ex had so liberally wielded left upon me? How else could I pay for the therapy we, as a family, needed to move forward after the debasement my ex inflicted with such heart felt glee?
Me, the daughter of Satan reliant on others? If I truly am Lucifer’s child, where did Daddy disappear to? Why was he allowing the child born of his seed to suffer this way?
Tired, so bone deep tired. My forties, and fifties improved a bit, but we never pulled ourselves from the mire of poverty, despair and feeling like we were little more than useless creatures breathing air we hadn’t paid enough to consume.
A mini-stroke, cancer…one malady after another, claimed my focus. I am sooo ready to slip from this shell and move on into the Hands of God.
Oh, didn’t I explain that? I died on the operating table a time or two, and visited that one true Father I spoke of earlier. He showed me what I’d suspected. My Grandmother had it right when this changeling came into the world. I am precious, and worthy of love. He showed me my daughter knew the truth too. Wrapped within the strong arms of His unconditional love, I learned the only truth I ever needed. I am loved for who I really am. Not reviled for who they all projected me to be.
Swirling in the soup of this latest stroke, I remembered the months it took me to function after the mini-stroke. Could this one be worse? No doubt, since unconsciousness had not been a part of that one. I shuddered. So much would fall on my daughter’s shoulders if I returned. How unfair that would be?
“Mom, please come back to me,” my daughter’s voice cut through the foggy layers. “I love you!”
Light exploded, the fog parted and I saw her clearly. Without thinking or plotting what we’d do now, my eyes opened.
“Oh My God!” my daughter cried. “You’re awake.” Turning her head enough to yell over her shoulder she screamed. “I need a doctor. Mom’s awake!”
****
From my chair, I sit at my desktop computer, wishing I still had my laptop, but grateful my body functions well enough most of the time the author in me continues.
It is as that author, I offer this story of the life that brought me to this point, and the love of a daughter God gave me all those years ago, so I’d never forget I am precious, precious enough to warrant such a gift.

I love you, My Daughter. Thank you for loving me back.

8 comments:

gail roughton branan said...

As always, you leave me speechless.

lionmother said...

Lin, you keep pulling me away from my work and email. You should take all of these little stories and bundle them together into a book! You keep me mesmerized each time I read one.:)

Kat said...

You are my angel, Mom. I love you dearly.

Tanja said...

I was supposed to be out of the house twenty minutes ago. But I could not stop reading. When are you publishing your anthology, please?

Mary said...

Once again, your writing resonates deep within. Don't ever stop.

Mary

Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Truth being stranger and more convoluted than fiction, I'd say truth, well told.

Lin said...

Thank you all. I am deeply appreciative to each of you taking the time to read my words and leaving comments. The one thing I always hoped I'd be is a story teller like my Grandmother. Your kind words let me know I'm definitely her offspring. No compliment could ever mean more.

Thanks.

Jane said...

Lin, you made me cry! This is beautiful!

~Jane~