By sesquipedalophobe Comments
I avoided calling my mother on Mother's Day, but somehow I don't feel the least bit of regret over it. She kept me sick for years, used any excuse to feel victimized by my father and her older children all for the sake of attention she never got as a child. Sick people shouldn't have children, regardless of their plans to make good out of the bad. It might be the reason why I can't and won't settle down with someone, start a family of my own and watch my grandchildren crawl around the den as I laugh in astonishment. It simply won't happen. It may be because of her, but I'm not so sure.
I was the last of the children, more importantly the seventh child. At that point, there are no surprises or disappointments on my part. The last of us rarely ever ate, had new clothing for school and we all had our own special talents.
I had no real special talent, except drawing anything that interested me. My father relished in the fact that I never made an error, but I saw the flaws and quickly crumbled the paper. I was one of the fastest children in the school despite my relatively small stature, but I never played sports. When I did, I always sat with the ball confused and ready to throw it away so all eyes were off of me. I avoided the social scene, skateboarded and ditched school to go to my favorite library. The librarians knew I was truant but they never called the cops. I also had a crush on the younger librarian who wore the prettiest sweater vests and blouses, which was pretty much incentive to visit.
My older sister was such a disappointment that she went out of her way to prove to anyone but herself she was worthy of a life outside of the family, so much planning that it brought her seemingly closer to my mother who still disapproves of her husband and her two children (who are all beautiful). She was great in music, her teachers thought of her as a prized pupil, which couldn't have been ignored. With the praise and love from her co-workers and friends, why would she need the approval of my mother? She has so much more than she started off with, that I cannot believe she lets her in with open arms.
My older brother was an athlete who excelled in mathematics. He did so well that several college coaches visited his games, but he was quickly ignored on account of his injuries and bad knees. He knew he wouldn't become an athlete, but would eventually go to college to study rigorously to find a life outside of ours. Although my mother coddled him, I understood him with envy. I was proud of him no matter what choices he made, which didn't surprise me when he dropped out to watch our nephew as my oldest sister went to work two full-time jobs to take care of us during my mother's frequent depressions. I dropped out shortly after.
However, I suppose it wasn't completely her fault. Soon after my father left us on account of her hearing voices and constant verbal abuse, she let one of my much older brothers come to stay. He was addicted to every drug in the world, was abusive and affiliated himself with numerous gangs despite his lack of character and appeal. He replaced nearly every nemesis we had, so much in fact that we called the cops nearly every other week. On certain days everything was bearable, except then it would be lack of food which drove him to a girl's house till it was payday. It was perfectly fine by me to starve just so long as we didn't have to take punches, get death threats or watch him ridicule the other siblings. Probably the worst part of it wasn't getting kicked in certain spots, but watching him do it to the others. Once I thought about grabbing the bat and taking out his shins as he got in my brother's face because he felt threatened by his size and yet called him a woman because of his inability to "act like a man," basically using his strength to instill fear on others. When I cried on my mother's lap I asked why she let him stay, she said without emotion, "Because I love you all the same."
As I grew tired of the abuse and my mother's "cooking," I became more distant toward everyone. Once I was on my way out of the house and found my older brother crying on the sofa with my mother holding his hand. I asked, "What's his deal?"
My mother spoke for him, "The doctors told him he has sclerosis of the liver."
I looked down and thought I might regret saying it, but I felt nothing. I didn't pity him or her. "Maybe this will be an opportunity to finally change how you are. Maybe your last years will be our better years. I don't hope you die, but if this is what it takes..."
I lived on the reservation with my father for a short time, constantly grilling him on why he had left us. He never had an answer. Just a daft expression and a change of a subject. I felt like an angry child. I told him to die and never talk to me again, but in truth I wish he could tell me why. He drove me home and died a few weeks after. After the funeral I loomed around Las Vegas looking for a way to die, but I never really found an opening. Either traffic was too busy or the drop was just a little too high, so I gave up on the idea. I felt regret for taking everything out on him.
Eventually, I left for Tennessee where I washed dishes and framed houses. It was refreshing doing everything apart from the Vegas scene, not having a concrete slab to sleep on and anyone continually in my face. Officially, I was the angriest person anyone in Tennessee had met. After a while, I didn't think it was my greatest strength anymore. After three years of no contact with the family, I came back for my sister's wedding. My mother kept a cane handy and gave the most impressive sob stories known to man. When I hugged her and told her "I love you," she could see that I didn't. She could see right through it as I saw through her lie. At least this time we were on the same page, and the expectations and disappointments were no longer a factor. With everything that's happened in my life, I can't say I would have wanted it any other way. I find beauty in people, art and music. When I'm liked, I take it for what it is. When people hate me my reaction is always "oh, okay." I could have turned out worse.
Maybe I'll call her in a week to tell her I forgot or that I was extremely busy.