dominicvineoftheowls (dominicvine) wrote,


altar boy

This is the year i assumed everything happened to me

i mean
i used to always say "blah blah blah, when i was 7 years old"

only a few years ago did i realize that many of the things i said
happened to me when i was 7
couldn't have

all of this time-line is blurry

but here are some things:

my teacher, Mrs. Jarboe, read us the entire Chronicles of Narnia (i
think she did, at least the first four books)
-- i'm sure my mother must have read us some children's books
but we were not a reading family
-- my father said "books are for sissies, boys play sports"
i remember the books being the most amazing thing ever...

laying on top of the big brown full sized van in the cement drive way
only about 16 feet from the telephone cables
playing with the walkie-talking and listening in on phone
conversations in noisy cross-patches

playing in the ditch when it rained and filled up
the frogs! the mud!

i got asthma
my mother had asthma
i was her friend, so went there with her
we had panic attacks together

by that ditch at the end of the driveway
were my mother's peony bushes (she got them from her mother)
i would watch them bud: all sticky
the ants would chew away their calx so they could open

my mother was concerned about our education and her affect on us
(she'd not gone to collage and was constantly berating herself about
it.. if only! she could get a good job! have money of her own!)
what was our address?
my brother was 15 months older than me
and he recited it back to her diligently
i just couldn't get it right
and after my mother getting frustrated with my not learning
or her not being able to teach me
she said "well if you don't know your own address then you obviously
don't live here! you best pack your bags and leave!"
and stormed off

i went to my bedroom and put on the little brown suit i'd been given
for first communion (which was also that year)
and packed my little suitcase that i'd always take up to grandma's house
and left through the front door
down the driveway
down that country road (it was paved, though)
past where the houses ended
corn fields on both sides
wondering just where i should go...

nearly a mile away
my mother came running up behind me crying and wondering why i'd done that
it seemed clear to me
i tried to explain

but just as she couldn't understand why i couldn't understand
neither could i:

we spoke different languages

but my brother and Neil and i would often play games in the driveway
in that big brown van
(or any car left open)
we were space explorers
with our walkie talkies
and star wars guns
we'd travel through space
push all the buttons
and flip all the switches

and talk about our parents

Neil overheard his parents talking about divorce
about how my mother had been talking to his mother about wanting to
get divorced from my father
i didn't understand the concept
so he explained
and i was excited by the prospects

even though my father was away often
i didn't really enjoy it when he was home, actually
i never really liked him anymore after he shaved off his beard and
just had a mustache...

he'd always find some reason to yell at us
or at something

he'd drink beer and watch basketball or foot ball
and scream at the players for hours

we'd lay there on the floor
and i was sad and terrified that my father thought they could hear him

it hurt my ears

so i told my mom i was happy they were getting divorced
and she cried

but it was only a few weeks later when
on a trip home
my father
called a somber and tense family meeting where he sat alone in the
lazy-boy recliner
with us three kids on the couch with my mother, tight lipped and infuriated
he started crying and said "kids... come and sit by daddy, your mother
doesn't love him anymore and wants to leave me all alone.. you still
love me, don't you?"
i was aware that i hated him
and my brother and sister got up to crawl up on his lap
i stayed on the couch

my mother pushed me
only slightly murmuring "go"
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