This morning i woke from terrible dreams. Fortunately, i’d half expected them, and that softened the impact a little. I’m woken from a blood-filled moment by a jaunty tune, some elevator music wake up call. I swing my legs over the side of the bed, grab the phone and swipe it off. I hold my head and will myself to get up and begin the day. I feel slow and foggy and my heart aches over this morning’s tragic loss; love, hope, life, sleep are gone from me today.
I don’t pretend at home anymore and so my family asks when they see my face. They’re both kind and that’s good. I’m dragging my ass, that’s for sure.
They’re gone now and that’s also good.
Survey the damage. Pick up the fruit on the ground. Share what’s good, add sugar and put up the unripe. Make wine with the rest; i can get drunk later. And that will be good, too.
A few years ago i reconnected with my foster mother. She and her family had taken me in when my mom had a nervous breakdown. A mental collapse. Whatever.
Her family was everything a foster family should be: steady, solid, kind, normal, regular.
Of course they are more than all of those things, but those were the truly important things for me at the time. I think it was a duplex and i even remember the district and the name of the school i attended. He worked a regular job and he went there at the regular times, and she cooked normal meals at normal times, and their children all looked normal and did regular things. Of course they were, all of them, much more than that, but those were the truly important things for me at the time.
I immediately kenned what and who they were and when they took me out to supper that first night i called them Mom and Dad over Ponderosa steaks. I wanted them and their children and their life.
She sewed my clothes and curled my hair.
They had an organ and i learned to play a little, following along with the letters helpfully placed above the notes on the staff.
Their church was much better than Mom’s. They served torn bits of fresh, white bread and grape juice in tiny glasses that they passed around in polished silver communion trays.
The only time i was ever hit was a smack on the butt for smuggling the brand new Polaroid camera into the bathroom to take a picture, after i’d been specifically told No. I looked in the mirror, preparing to switch in anticipation of a beating…
I couldn’t see myself for the spots the flashbulb had left on my eyes.
It didn’t even hurt.
The children sneaked their Brussels sprouts onto my plate and i sat there at the table for hours, refusing to eat them.
It was all peacefully regular and wonderfully normal.
Once my mother got visitation it was all over, though.
They were the wrong church.
They thought they were better than her.
They forced me to call them Mom and Dad, which i let her believe, too afraid and ashamed for her to know it was my idea.
They were trying to have her parental rights severed.
They were trying to adopt me.
They were brainwashing me and trying to take me away from her.
You can’t believe them.
You can’t trust them.
They’re bad people.
They’ll take you away and you’ll never see me again.
They don’t love you.
You’ll never be their child.
I went Halloweening and i’d never been allowed to keep the candy before.
The children were upstairs in Mom and Dad’s bedroom for stories.
I sat on my bed and ate until i vomited all over the coverlet.
I wasn’t one of them; i didn’t belong there.
I had to go home.
I got a cold that wouldn’t get better. There were terrible tasting syrups but i could have a sip of water after.
My mother said that made the medicine useless. It had to taste bad or it wouldn’t work. They were doing it wrong and they were going to kill me. She said they gave me pneumonia.
On Christmas Eve a lady came to my foster family’s house and took me back to my mother.
My foster mom came to see me yesterday. She is one of fewer than a handful of people who’ve been invited to my home in the last 15+mos. She brought lunch and openly shared herself with me, and i heard what my life might have been like if i could have stayed; a regular, normal life, but Oh! so much more than just that.
I see the time i spent with her through my own eyes now, not my mother’s.
Last night i dreamt of betrayal and abandonment and drinking myself into oblivion in a house filled with death.
I’ll feel better tomorrow. Today i mourn.
I was an electrical storm on the bathroom floor, clutching the bowl
My blood was full of gags and other people’s diseases
My monstrous little memory had swallowed me whole
It was the year I officially became the bride of Jesus
~Magneto, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds