15. March 2009 by gennyfer.
Frank says I must write this next. His memories of this part were less clear. Somehow these events burned into my mind. This became a huge stumbling block on my healing journey.
I don’t remember her name, except that it was beautiful. Her sister was a friend of a friend, whom, I suppose, suggested our home as a place to visit on her weekend furlough from a mental hospital. I suppose they have these weekends away to see how someone will do if released entirely. I don’t know if I knew before she visited us that she had been in the hospital. I think her sister brought her and stayed with us too but those details aren’t clear.
I do remember that she spent most of her visit with Frank and me. She was ethereal, wonderful in my child point-of-view. She took a long walk with us along the creek that ran beside our town. I remember her telling us, as we stood beside the dam watching the falling water pool in a bubbly froth over the rocks at the bottom, that she thought waterfalls were the most beautiful things in the world. She told me, that she would name a little girl Cascade if she had one or, (and again my memory is fuzzy) that she had a daughter named Cascade. It was the only time I saw her sad that weekend, briefly talking about this real or imaginary girl. She threw off the sorrow, spread her arms wide and shouted “Cascade” a few times while twirling. At about 10-years-old I was just amazed by her.
The weekend ended. I don’t know if it was that day or the next or even a few days later but it was that week when the call came. After returning to the hospital, she killed herself.
Mom took us to the memorial service. On the way she talked to us about what had happened. She told us that the woman had killed herself because she had enjoyed visiting us and she knew she could never have a life a wonderful as ours. Before we reached the place where the service was being held, she drove us past the hospital and showed us the window she thought the woman had jumped from.
I don’t know if there was a note, or if all this was just conjecture in my mother’s mind. It made an impression on me. I lived in such a strange form of hell as a child but was assured in this drastic way, that my life was wonderful, enviable enough that someone would die for lack of having what I had. I was devastated then, that I had somehow pushed this woman to her death. For years I couldn’t make sense of the bad parts of my childhood against this powerful picture. Somehow if I saw the bad, if I started to put the pieces together, I made her death worse, even, than it was. When I could no longer ignore the bad parts. When I matured enough to understand the abuse I had suffered I mourned her loss over again. The guilt I felt grappled for supremacy over the anger I felt toward my mother.
For whatever reason the mind works the way it does, whether it makes sense or not, this was the hardest thing in my childhood for me to recover from. Though I’ve processed it over and over, trying to make sense of it, even now, the idea that someone died, because they envied my childhood life, makes me want to crawl in bed, pull the covers over my head, and pretend it was a good childhood. To somehow make her sacrifice worthy. Try as I may, I couldn’t possibly work that kind of magic. I hope, at least, that remembering this beautiful delicate soul, putting this in writing at last, will insure that wherever she is, she found the peace she sought.
15. March 2009 by Frank.
So often in the past few weeks my thoughts have centered on you. Being here is such a tremendous opportunity for me and the children that I feel somehow compelled to write to you to share with you various impressions that have come to me while I’m wondering around your, as they say, ‘neck of the woods’.
Life seems to present many real and vivid questions. For me right now it seems that the most important aspect of my reality is my obligation to my children. There of course, for me is no pat answer. How can one begin to present these “modern day” children with a sense of the true values of human existence? Our present society seems so truly saturated with so much that appears to be the real trash. To try as I said before to present the children with a real alternative is very challenging in our present predicament. Being here does present something very real for all of us. We can, for the time being, have a true sense of ourselves. We cannot change over night but for me at least I have more of a sense of what the children’s real needs are and consequently a more precise clue to my own needs.
Aside from those questions, the flood last week revealed another aspect of your farm. It is a very safe place to be. A major catastrophe would of course take it, but that would take everything else in the valley. Otherwise, the farm is safe, warm, dry, and even without humans it is friendly. So much has happened there that the vibrations are very positive. Even to me. The place speaks to a unity, perhaps spiritual unity, of the natural forces that affect man. That sounds a little heavy in print but I bet you know what I mean.
I am grateful and thankful for these moments which have been given to me here. I can feel my body becoming healthier than it’s been for years and when I am able to listen very quietly I believe my soul is growing too
This is a brief addendum to our last entry, We are all Suffering. My mom wrote this in the same time period of the spring of 1976, as we moved back to Philadelphia by the bicentennial summer celebrations. We were only in the cabin for eight or nine months. Why post such a lucid and sincere and self reflective letter from my mom to one of her favorite relatives? How crazy is this one? The crazy part is after years of moving from one hellish, drug fueled party house to another, after three relationships in quick succession with drunken, drugged out scumbag “musicians” and “artists”, she finally caught a break, and was able to extract herself from the insanity for a moment. My mom expresses here how much better she is feeling, how much more grounded and connected she is. And just like that, my evil stepfather shows up again and tells her he wants her back, and she bolts immediately back to crazy town. Dropping all that peace and quiet and good health for herself, and may I be so bold to add, her dear children she seems so concerned about, for another endless trip back to bizzaro world. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”
We are all Suffering
11. March 2009 by Frank.
An Unmailed Letter. September of 1976
How do you expect me to reply to your letter? Would you have me say - Oh, please R. lets fill our house with junk so that there is no possible way to keep it all clean? Yes R. please see that you stay away as late as possible and come home drunker than anyone else to save the souls of those you drink with and that way too you can avoid all of the children almost 98% of the time. Yes please R. give our house key to every drunk you see and please make it impossible for me to even begin to fulfill my duties to my children.
L, it is no longer feasible for me to be donkey doo mate for others. If R. can see this and I really believe he can then R. can make a choice between living with a woman, wife, mother, friend, and living with a drunken poet. It appears that the drunken poet is in residence and I am attempting to face a life without the man, husband, father, friend whose presence is missed and loved with every fiber of my being.
But there is not way that I can beg anything from R.. My responsibility must be towards a positive relationship with my children, my family, myself, God, and my work towards finding something higher in myself. It was no longer possible for me to do anything toward these goals in the extreme chaos of Fifth Street.
My feelings for R. are very deep and very real. It is quite likely that there will never be another man in my life. Certainly we would be with him now however, L, we have not been asked. We have closed no doors and are quite open for any invitation. We are all suffering.
Topical excerpt from another letter from same time period:
This may or may not be time to speak of R.. My emotional unbalance could not handle the psychotic personalities he was including in our household. To have men crawling through our windows at any hour of the AM, in any condition was very startling to my being. I could not tolerate awoken in that way and then to listen to them vomiting for hours after that was to difficult for me at present, to gain some objective distance from. When we had to discuss these matters that were pertinent to our relationship R. automatically fell into the role of male chauvinist and refused to discuss anything. It is apparent to me that R. and I are together because of an instinctive caring for one another. But that caring without the reality of God had always been a question for me.
We are all well physically. We are all still in a state of needing R..
We are all Suffering.
My mom wrote these letters after moving myself and my two sisters out of the city and into the hills of upstate PA to a little log cabin by a stream on my uncle’s family property. My grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins lived less than a mile up the road. I was seven at the time, Gen and Mary were six and two. I had no idea at the time why we moved away from Philly, and out of the house we had shared for three years with my stepfather R.. In reading her letters I now know that he had cheated on her. We spent the entire school year in the cabin before returning to R. and the city.
In reading these letters I am glad I was such a heavy sleeper at that age, and was not up to hear all the drunks climbing in the windows and throwing up just down the hall from my room all night long. What blows my mind is the fact that my mom would move us all back to that environment. My stepfather was a real charmer when he wanted something. My mom clearly states in these letters how much we were all suffering from missing him. How we all needed him. Mary was in diapers, so who knows how much she missed him. To Gen and me, he was the devil incarnate, sent from the pits of hell with the sole purpose of torturing us as much as humanly possible. I know what true, unbridled hate feels like, as I felt it deeply for this man.
What absolutely crushes me the most about this particular time of my life was the fact that my mother saw enough pain and suffering from her relationship with this terrible man that she packed up her three children and moved us three hours away from him. Away from the chaotic, fucked up life we had with him. In reading these postings, I am sure you are getting a pretty clear picture of a very painful and confusing childhood. Alcoholism, drug addiction and insanity are not a good mixture for a well-adjusted childhood. This brief reprieve from the torture and insanity was perhaps made the rest more painful. I have searched my memories of that rather idyllic time in my life. Try as I might, I cannot come up with any crazy mom stories from that period.
I went to school right up the road from the cabin and enjoyed it. I had friends. I played every day outside in the beautiful woods that surrounded our house. I got to see my grandparents several times a week. I played with my cousins regularly. Without my stepfather around, my mom spent more time being a mom. She baked cookies and made candy on the stove. These are my memories of that time. Pulling us away from that chance at freedom was so typical of her. She was a real carrot and stick mom. She didn’t dangle the carrot just out of reach. She let you eat the carrot, and then beat you with the stick for eating it.
My evil stepfather drank more than anyone my mom had ever met, and that is really saying something. He did more drugs than everyone else. He cheated on her. He hit me and belittled me constantly. He molested my sister Gen every week of her young life. He ignored his own daughter Mary like it was his favorite hobby. My mom rescued all of us from that life. She got us out. We were safe. We were sound. We were surrounded by loving family members. We were living in a beatific paradise. Then, just like that, it was all gone. She brought us all back to the house of pain. And we hadn’t even disobeyed the law. We were not done suffering.
Dinner Table Battlefield: Mom’s Waterloo.
4. March 2009 by gennyfer.
Damn. I have other things to do, other things to think about but it seems Frank shoved us in to food week. Used to be I was the pushy one. Is the following the strength you mean when you say how strong I am to have survived it all?
It was liver for me too. I can’t think about the stuff without getting sick to my stomach. God forbid I catch a whiff. Sometimes even smelling beef frying in onions evokes a memory of the smell and I am drawn back. A Counseling & Human Services professor I had in college once told me that he saw forcing a child to eat something they despised was on the same level of sexual abuse. Forcing anyone to put something inside their body that they didn’t want is equally wrong he said. I don’t know about that, I don’t think it is quite the same and argued the point back then but reading Frank and Mary’s tales of our dinner table nightmares had me thinking about that debate. Perhaps my teacher was more right than I was.
Sitting down together as a family is one of the top things parenting experts tout as being essential to raising happy well bonded children. I have been a mother for 16 years now and I’ve really tried to make this part of family life work. But I just can’t do it. I’ve noticed, living with my brother now that he can’t seem to sit and eat “en famille” either. He most often grabs a plate and wonders off to anther part of the house. I manage to stay in the room but rarely at the table.
The dinner table was the major battle field in my childhood. Dinner was regularly taken away for poor behavior during the day, “off to bed without supper” became the replacement for the wooden spoons. I was a stubborn kid though. I tried, I really did, and there were times when I would choke down my liver (mom was sure we needed liver once a month or so, there were a lot of these nights). I’d slice a small piece and bury it in a forkful of mashed potatoes trying to figure out how to swallow it so I wouldn’t taste any of it. One night, I can’t remember why or when exactly, I just couldn’t bring myself to eat it. Dinner was over for everyone else and I sat, not allowed to leave the table without finishing my dinner, staring at the cold hated slab of liver. I was not going to eat it, somehow my line had drawn itself in the sand and I was going to win this battle, just this once.
I sat at the table until bedtime. Probably two hours from start to finish. Finally my mother released me and sent me to bed. Hungry again. But I didn’t care, I felt triumphant. Until I came downstairs, ravenous for breakfast the next morning. The liver trauma shoved aside in my ADD haze. No thought to anything but the cereal I’d have for breakfast. I climbed up on the kitchen stool. Is at down to ready my bowl when mom swooped in and grabbed the cereal away from me. Stunned, I watched as she opened the refrigerator door. She pulled out my plate from the night before and set it in front of me.
Cold liver for breakfast. I did not cry. I sat. It must have been a summer or weekend day because there was not a rush, no imperative to get anywhere. I sat. My mother eventually left the room. I crept over to the trash can, tilted my plate in and watched the liver slide in to a pile of coffee grounds. I pulled some other garbage on top of it to hide it. I guess I moved too fast. I didn’t think about how obvious it would be. After being so stubborn for so long there was no way my mother would buy that in the five minutes she was out of the room I’d gobbled up that piece of liver.
The first place she looked was the trash. She dug that liver out of the garbage. Brushed a few of the grounds off and put it back on the plate back in front of me. I did not eat it. I sat for hours that morning, hungry, uncomfortable, miserable but unbroken. I don’t know how the story ended. I can’t remember the details. I don’t know if she verbally relented or just let it go. I know by this time she was getting a lot of flack from her parents about me possibly being anorexic. She may have felt compelled to ease off. All I know for certain is, on that day, I won. I have never, and will never eat liver again.
The Good Ship Lollypop
4. March 2009 by Mary.
Food stories. I have a few those too. I think my favorite is the Good Ship Lollipop one.
I am 5 or six years old. We are all living in a small northeastern town in PA with my father. Life is not good here. No one is happy. And we are not talking about it. My mother is teaching in the local elementary school where I am going to kindergarten. Dear old dad is not really working at all. Money was tight.
One night my mother makes liver and onions; cheap and good for you(so my mom always told us). Mmm mmm good. Ewww. It smelled gross, it tasted gross and I was not going to eat it. Not for anything. As you may already know, refusing to eat my mother’s dinner was a capital crime. Since my mother had stopped hitting her children to get them to conform to her will, I was left to sit in the kitchen alone with my uneaten liver. I was told to contemplate why I wouldn’t eat it, and why I was doing this to my mother (her words).
Now on this particular night, and this is what makes this story great, I was to be in the spring pageant at my mother’s school. I was singing the “Good Ship Lollipop” with two other girls while holding up huge lollipops. As it became clear to my mother that I was not going to figure out through solitary contemplation that I should eat my dinner, she had to come up with a plan to scare me into eating the now cold, gelatinous mess. Her anger was so intense that my sister was begging me to just eat it, fearing for my safety. But I couldn’t. My mother also has to go to the pageant as she had students performing in it too. The tension was high. Finally, after all else had failed her, she got me where it really hurt; sugar. No sugar or candy of any kind for a week. Two weeks. One month. Finally two months! Which would mean no Easter candy for me. I still didn’t care. And she knew it.
Punishment locked in place; no sugar for two months, alright. Time served with the dead cow parts; time to get ready to go. But wait, mom had not yet dealt her final blow. Because harsh punishment was never enough when she could add in some public humiliation. During that evenings performance, I would not get to keep the lollipop like the other girls on stage with me. In fact, I could not even hold it on stage. I remember the look on my teacher’s face when she asked my mother if I could just hold it during the song. I remember the teacher looking at me questioningly; like “is your mom for real? Is she really going to do this to you?”
Oh yes. She was very much for real, and she did exactly that. Over and over again, every chance she got. It was shortly after that time that I remember starting to compulsively over eat. Looking for some kind of comfort I could never find from her.
Food! Glorious Food!
2. March 2009 by Frank.
Gen and I were talking last night about dinner, and whether or not her kids were going to eat or not. It seems like all of her kids have different quirks when it comes to food, but none of them are normal eaters. Neither is my own son. She is actually worried that her oldest might be malnourished in some way. Like berri-berri or scurvy. But after what we were put through in the Gulag, I mean our childhood, she just can’t bring herself to force him to eat certain foods just because she knows they are good for him. After all, our mother was convinced the foods she forced us to eat were good for us. Wasn’t she just trying to be a good mother?
Let’s take a trip back in the time machine. I will pick a year. Lets call it 1977. Some guy has come into our house and is sitting at the round wooden table in our kitchen. This is nothing unusual. Our house had a revolving cast of characters coming in and out of it. Some we knew quite well, others were, well, strangers. I was eight years old and knew how to lie and cheat and steal, and I was learning how to roll a mean joint, but I had never been told a thing about stranger danger. (Not to ruin the ending of this story for anyone, but there is no funny business or hanky-panky in this one. Just forced feedings. I swear. So relax) This guy is at the kitchen table, and my mom is serving him coffee, and he is telling us how his car has a flat tire, and he didn’t have a spare to fix it, and could he borrow a phone to call a tow truck. Pretty normal stuff, right?
We did live right in the center of a large city, things like this happened from time to time. Our family knew all about tire problems. Our car was constantly having a major tire problem in our neighborhood. We would go out in the morning and all the tires would be missing, the car up on metal milk crates. Just a little local flavor.
Flat tire guy is telling my mom stories, and she is telling a few herself. I don’t remember much of that. You know, boring adult talk, blah blah blah… Then he starts talking about this group he is involved with that practices fighting in armor with swords and spears and bows and arrows. That got my attention. Sounded pretty cool to an eight-year-old boy who had owned a few wooden swords in his day. He talked about this group he belonged to that dressed up like medieval knights and trained to fight like them. I was thrilled. Why hadn’t I ever thought of that? Tire guy finally got a tow truck to show up after a few calls and a few cups of coffee. He took off into the night, another stranger just passing through. But my sweet mother, bless her heart, had gotten his phone number, and an invite for me and Jenny to go and watch his group of crazed barbarians perform their ancient rituals of sweat and steel. Score one for the home team!
To say that I was excited about this prospect is a complete understatement. I was in a frenzy. How in the world could there possibly be anything as cool as this group in the whole wide world. How could I be lucky enough to meet someone that belonged to a group like this, and was actually going to take me to witness it myself. Fuck Disney or the Grand Canyon. I was going to my first SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) weapons practice at eight years old! Finally, the appointed day arrived. I was on the edge of my seat. Ramped up all day long. Ready to roll. Practically peeing in my pants in anticipation. Then, tragedy struck. I know your thinking, oh, no. That poor little eight-year-old Frank. He was so excited. What could possibly happen to ruin this for him? That’s right, folks, the worst thing that could happen, inevitably occurred. The one thing standing between me and a few hours of blissful childhood heaven. It was….. dinner time!!! AAAGGGHHHH!!!!! (Does this seem a bit over the top to some of you? It might. To my sisters and to me? We understand in the way that survivors understand. These little slices of hell are seared forever into our brains. We cannot forget. What? You were never terrified to sit down and eat dinner in your family? Lucky you.)
In all fairness to my mom, she tried to cook healthy and tasty meals for our family. She quite often failed miserably on the taste side of things, but she did make the effort. Unfortunately for me, that night happened to be mystery soup night. I can’t tell you what it started out as. Or what all the other healthy ingredients were. I can only tell you what was on the bottom of my bowl when I had finished. A dreaded group of Lima Beans was staring back up at me uneaten. There are certain foods we all have that we can’t stand. Sometimes it is the taste, sometimes the way it looks, or the texture, or just the idea of the food itself can make you sick. I have always hated beans myself.
When I was a kid, I hated them all. Like anything else in our lives, there were some I hated more than others. Black beans and navy beans were not nearly as bad as kidney beans, for example. Garbonzo beans were the worst. Just looking at them would remind me of the awful feeling of them in my mouth, and I would start to retch. To this day it completely squicks me out to even think about them. For me it was the texture of the beans that I couldn’t stand. Something about the dry, grainy feel of the beans in my mouth completely revolted me at that age. Our taste buds mellow and change over time, but at eight years old beans were the great Satan to me.
The flat tire medieval sword guy shows up just as we are finishing dinner. He was ready to take us off to his super duper cool weapons practice session. I jump from the table to go, but a disapproving look from my mother freezes me in my tracks. She is looking down over my shoulder into the mostly empty bowl of whatever soup and frowning. “You need to finish all of your dinner before you go” she says, the permafrost drooping frown returning to her face, hardening there. Now let me clue you in on a little secret here, fearless readers. My mom knew that I detested Lima Beans. I was eight years old, and was never a picky eater. It wasn’t like I never ate my greens. I ate just about everything you put in front of me. My Uncle Joe used to call me the human garbage can, and for good reason. I actually ate food out of trash cans at that age. It wasn’t like I hadn’t choked down the rest of the slop she served up that night. I was trapped. There was no mercy in those pitiless eyes. She sat me back down in front of the Lima Beans. I will never forget staring into that bowl with that pre-vomit watery feeling creeping up in my mouth, tears beginning to well up in my eyes, and tire guy standing there looking at his watch wondering just what the holdup was.
I know some of you are thinking come on Frank, it was only seven or eight Lima Beans, for Christ’s sake. How bad could it be? Believe me when I tell you, I would have rather eaten eight goat turds than choke down those Lima Beans. I had no idea what goat turds tasted like, but those beans? I had eaten those before. Ugghhh. Time was running out. Flat tire guy had people to beat up with blunt weapons, and that wasn’t going to wait forever. I finally dug into the beans, my mother literally standing over me like some grim jailer, making sure I choked down every last one. Nothing was ever free in my relationship with my mother. She always made me pay the hardest price for anything good in my life.
Finally, having satisfied whatever sicko fantasy of good parenting had been wafting through her head that day, I was free to go with flat tire guy and Jenny to watch the weapons class. The funny thing about so many parts of my childhood, I cannot for the life of me remember one thing about the practice we went to. Bowl of nasty lima beans: permanently burned into my cortex. Awesome medieval sword practice with a bunch of high powered super geeks: no memory whatsoever. The good things constantly faded out of my memory. Is there somewhere I can get a refund for this shit? Seriously.
Did I mention that my mom sent eight year old me and seven year old Jenny of with flat tire guy by ourselves? For all of you parents out there, I ask you, would you send your young precious children off for hours with some guy you met once? Remember, we didn’t meet this guy at church or a school function. He wasn’t even a good friend of a good friend of our family. Nope. He was just random guy. Doesn’t sound bad enough? I was not allowed to go back to super cool medieval weapons practice. I was told that I kept trying to get out onto the fighting field myself. Go figure. My sister had behaved admirably, and was allowed to go back again by herself with tire guy a few times. As I said at the beginning of this montage, flat tire guy was completely cool. He didn’t try anything out of the ordinary. But handing your seven year old daughter over to a complete stranger over and over again. Really mom?
Frank asked “Who was worse? Mom or our step-father?”
25. February 2009 by gennyfer.
I was following my husband out of the room after a fun filled family money discussion with Frank. We all live together with 6 children most of them mine. My back was to Frank when he said “Oh, I had a question for you?” Innocently I turned around. “Who was worse? Mom or our step-father?”
My instant response, “You’re such an asshole.” I stood in the doorway looking at him, Forrest had stopped our exodus too and was standing behind me. “What kind of obnoxious question is that?” Really it’s like one of those Zobmondo questions where you have to chose between two equally noxious things. I hate that game.
“Seriously, which one do you think was worse?”
I hate to answer this question. Don’t think it hasn’t occurred to me before. I tend to fall back to over-analyzing things when I’m in a tough spot emotionally. “Well, mom was mentally ill and I guess you have to let some things go. There are some things she probably couldn’t be considered responsible for. But R. was a child molester, there is no excuse for fucking little girls. Accept doesn’t it kind of follow that someone who would even do that must have some kind of mental illness too?”
My husband interrupted… “You aren’t seriously trying to stand there and make an argument that it was somehow OK because he was mentally ill?”
“No,” I said, “Of course not. I don’t mean that. I’m just trying to figure out a way to explain it to you. After I told her, I was in 7th grade when I told her he molested me.” I looked at my husband. “You know, I only ever told her because I wanted to protect Mary. I figured it I told her Mary wouldn’t have to go spend weekends with him anymore and I could be sure she was safe.”
Frank cut in here, “You know statistically that doesn’t happen as much, the biological dad doesn’t go after his own kid.”
“Of course I know that, now, I didn’t back then. She didn’t know. Shit. No one knew that. No one knew much about the subject then. Anyway, I told her, just to protect Mary, and you know how badly that went.”
“Yeah” said Frank, “That was fucked up. You’ll have to write that one up for the website.”
“So telling her was a big Fail. She blamed me and Mary kept having her weekend visits . Sometimes mom would even have me ‘entertain’ him when she couldn’t be back with Mary on time when he came to pick her up.”
“What!” said my husband, “Entertain him? What the fuck?”
“Well, yeah, I know I’ve told you this one before but you always block it out. Cause it sucks pretty bad. But she’d know she was going to be late so she would tell me I had to make coffee for him and keep him company until she got there.” I moved in to the room Frank was in.
“I was terrified. I didn’t want to be breathing on the same planet with him let alone be all alone in a room, an empty house with him. So it went like this, I was alone in the kitchen with him, making coffee. He was across the room sitting at the table.” I moved to the desk in my brother’s living room and gestured to where Frank sat. “So I was here at the stove and he was about there where Frank is. I was making coffee. I was scared, really freaked out but knew I’d be in trouble if I was rude. So I was making coffee, like a good girl.”
“But I wanted to be as far away from him as I could get while still obeying mom and I really didn’t want my back to him. So I did this”. I turned my back to my brothers desk and leaned back. “That was what I was doing when mom walked in. She did her long chat with him and then he took Mary away for the weekend. When they were gone mom railed at me, screaming about what a slut I was, for leaning back on the stove like that, deliberately showing off my body.”
I walked back to the center to of the room. “So yeah, yes! I think she was worse than him. Fuck you for asking.”
My husband decided we should decamp and head back to our side of the house as he was “Going to be sick now.”
I said to Frank, “See! Now you made me make him sick. See you tomorrow. Dork.”
[Frank and I have communicated in this way for a long time. It’s such a harsh topic it is hard for me to convey in words that I wasn’t actually angry at him during this exchange, the name calling is just a reflection on our warped sense of humor. Without each other we would not have survived the childhood we got stuck with and I wouldn’t go back and change any of it if it meant not having him as a brother.]