Saturday, December 03, 2005

personal history, chapter _______

About two years after my parents' divorce my mother emerged from a protracted depression during which she would spend entire days sleeping on the sofa in the living room with the drapes pulled tight. The air was close with cigarette smoke. Since the divorce no one used the living room in our large shabby house. The upholstery on the sofa was torn and faded. When I was eight and nine I used to sit for hours on that sofa reading the "World Book Encyclopedia" or Brittanica. We had hundreds and hundreds of books.

Once, on a Saturday--I must have been in the eleventh or twelfth grade--she abruptly shifted into "strict mother mode" after months of total lack of concern for our activities or whereabouts, and she started to harp on me about something. I don't remember the specific subject, which does not matter. It was the arbitrary application of parental imperative that caused me to retreat in anger and hurt. There was my mother, with her 25-year-old druggie boyfriend--"Acid Ed" we called him--telling me that I must stay at home and clean the house or some such thing--and so I went upstairs to my room to escape. (Acid Ed had a job in a factory but he made enough money selling drugs that he had a flashy yellow chevy corvette which he eventually totaled going 85 on Route 611).

She followed me up, chasing after me up the red-carpeted stairs, and shouting "you do what I say if you live in my house!!" When she got to my room where I stood shaking behind the locked door, she pounded on my thin wooded door, Acid Ed pounding too, and they both commanded me to open the door and come out. Finally I did, and they both started up, and I went to shut the door, screaming "leave me alone," and my mother grabbed my arm and sunk her longish nails deep into my skin, raking them back toward her and cutting me, and I stood in disbelief staring at the welling blood in three parallel trails on my forearm, and I screamed GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME as I slammed the door, locked it, and fell crying on my mattress on the floor, where I then lay for hours trying to shut myself down until night would come, my mother and Acid Ed would be out drinking, and I could escape in my car and hang out with my friends.

Later that same year, or maybe the next one--I can't remember those years chronogically, they circle around my emotional map en masse--she kicked me out of the house and I had to go live with my father and his not-yet-wife in a small house in the Frankfort neighborhood of Philadelphia, a working class block of small Father-Son-Holy Ghost houses--so I had to drive an hour to school and back every day, although I did not often go to school in those days.

1 comment:

Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...

hey nice blog. thanks