Self Medicate

December 16, 2008

PREFACE: I don’t post this for any other reason than to attempt to let it go. For the past few years, I just cannot stand my parents and I talk to them as little as possible. My wife keeps it to together with my mom; as for my dad – he didn’t acknowledge my son’s birthday or mine this year. I don’t really care but I’m not sure if it will bother my son later in life that he is estranged from his grandfather. He had a good relationship with my grandfather – his great, who recently died. Good enough I suppose because he remembers him fondly and tells me every now and then that he misses him. My wife tells me that I’ll regret not reaching out to my pops when he dies (and that’s assuming that I out live him) but I’m not so sure. Everything up until the age of about 16 is easily forgotten. My parents both live in states of denial. They also seem very weak to me; two qualities that I despise in people. Anyway, the two most poinent memories that I have when I was my sons age follow

I had to be about 6 years old when I figured out that their anniversary was only months before my own birthday and matched my age. Even at this young age, I believed that they were only married because me, the accident. This is not ungrounded; my mom was raised as a Catholic.

This was a heavy burden when he would come home drunk: stinking of cigarettes and sex (the later smell finally hitting me like brick in the face the first time that I had it all over my hands) and she would smash him in the head with a cast iron pan. This didnt happen once or twice I remember it happening every couple of weeks (I suppose they coincided with payday). One incident really sticks out. For some reason this biweekly pilgrimage to the hospital so that he could get stitches stands out. The following Saturday morning that followed went to Gee Bees (a defunct store much like Kmart). I remember standing in the toy section; he hung over and still stinking; she with a fake veneer of happiness; both pretending that we were this happy family. I remember the stitches on his dome and the black and blue flesh around the wound. I remember them looking at me, half smiling, pretending that everything was okay, naively thinking that toys would make me forget. But they didn’t. And even at that age I remember thinking how fake it all was. I remember feeling detached and as I write this, how it all seemed like a movie, unreal and unfullfilling.

The setting for this next incident still exists in Washington, Pennsylvania the Station. My mom worked midnight, (she has always claimed that this was so that someone would always be home with me in the day but part of me thinks this was to limit her time around my father). I cant say exactly when this happened; it had to be late fall 1977. I remember it was late at night, it probably had to be around 10:30 PM. She loaded me into her New Yorker and we headed to Washington PA. I dont remember much about the trip, I do remember looking into the bar and seeing my dad leaning into a woman as she leaned into him engaging in a kiss. My mother and I stood there for what seemed like an eternity but was probably less than a minute. She grabbed my arm and drug me into the bar. I cant remember what was said, but I remember looking around at all of the dingy drunks (my dad was a coal miner and I think this was probably where they all ended up on Friday paydays) looking on and having a great laugh at this stupid bitch with her fucking brat I can remember my mom turning and leaving me in the bar with my father and this chick; I remember the uniform she was wearing and the squeaking sound that her shoes made as she left us (she worked in a mental institution and they wore uniforms similar to those worn by the staff in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest). I also remember the heckling of the drunks as they laughed at her leaving and how they stared and sneered at me with the shit eating smirks on their faces. The next thing I remember was that he was chasing her. 

I remember that we were in Meadowlands PA, passing a beer distributor that is now gone and is church property.

I remember a long silence leading up to this meekly asked question because I was looking for an out to break the tension.

Daddydo you think shes mad?

W”hat the FUCK DO YOU THINK!”

It may sound strange, but even then, I knew what was going on. I knew that he would have had sex with this woman if we hadn’t interrupted. And the way he looked at me when he responded, I knew that part of his anger was in our preventing it from happening.

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