Pastoral Genocide


Iowa
September 8, 2008, 4:45 pm
Filed under: Writing | Tags: ,

Everybody got fucked, in way or another. My dad went to jail for a couple years. My sister caught a meth addiction. My mom ran off with a biker hick named Johnny Watson. I got into a car accident and had my left arm amputated.

So, it went from bad to really bad to intolerably bad. The bottom fell out. My parents always drank. It got worse, like all these things always do. They started drinking more and hitting each other. It’s hard to hold either one more accountable than the other. I know that sounds weird to say. Men shouldn’t hit women, I agree with that. But she started it as much as he did. They’re both to blame and there’s no way around it.

I’m not sure why they stayed married, really. If you no longer love someone, you no longer love them. In the bigger scheme of things, that’s ok. It happens. The personality is not a static thing. It changes and reinvents itself. But these people, my parents, they aren’t practical people, rational people. They are near-sighted reactionaries of the classic sort. They deal with bad things by drinking harder and longer and screaming terrible things at each other.

The night it happened was miserable. Everything about it. The day had dragged itself along like a dying animal, humid and endless. It was hard to breathe, everything seemed so goddamn sticky. They started drinking early because it was Saturday. By dinner time, there had been yelling. My dad threatened to hit her. That was always a bad sign, a harbinger of a soon to arrive certainty.

By eight o’clock, the sun was gone and the moon had roosted like a blood orange in the early September night. They were going at it, hard. She was slurring something and he was slurring something and none of it, really, made any sense. She threw a knife at him and he threw a left hook at her. She missed; he didn’t. The neighbors called the cops and they showed up to find her sitting on the floor with her three front teeth in her hand. She was pretty bloody and mad as hell. He locked himself in the bathroom and the cops had to break the door down to get at him.

I thought, eventually, she would calm down and ask for his release. She didn’t. She pressed charges, took it to trial. She told the County that he raped her and hit her on the regular and was the kind of guy that needed to be locked up. I don’t disagree with her.

They gave him three years, two of them suspended. They sent him to a real jail, not County. He was a repeat offender and they did what they said they would do after the last time he got arrested. Two weeks after my dad got to prison, he joined a white power gang and stabbed a Mexican. The guy almost died, apparently. They revoked my father’s suspension and gave him the full sentence plus two more. I don’t disagree with that decision, I really don’t.

My mom filed for and received her divorce shortly after the trial had ended. She started hanging around with this piece of shit named Johnny Watson. I hate that sonofabitch. He’s a fucking pervert and I’d like to slash his throat. He’d stare at my sister’s ass like it was alright, like it was perfectly normal for a 47 year old man to gawk openly at the 19 year old daughter of his girlfriend. He’d say sick things to her, ask her twisted questions about twisted things and laugh in this growling cackle that would make your skin crawl.

I told my mom he was no good and she didn’t listen. He bought her whisky drinks at the bar and treated her with disingenuous respect and took her out to the movies every now and again. He didn’t hit her. She liked that, I guess. She stayed with him. They moved down to Houston about a year ago and I haven’t heard from her since. I don’t miss her.

But my sister missed her. They had always gotten along alright and they had their own personal relationship that I wasn’t privy to. Good for them, you know? Anyway, she missed her and felt bad about things and started doing things that she shouldn’t have been doing. She got hooked on meth and now she’s a skeleton with rotten teeth. I don’t recognize her eyes anymore and I think she’s gone. That kills me. She’s my baby sister, you know? We went through all this together and now she’s leaving.

Maybe I’m taking the easy way out, blaming my mom’s departure for my sister’s destruction. I’m not sure. It doesn’t and can’t matter at this point. What’s done is done and there’s no sense in arguing with any of it. I do know that I feel alone and abandoned and that I miss the way things used to be. Even though they were bad, far from anything or anywhere close to perfect, it was something. Occasionally, things were good. Christmases and days at the beach in the summer.  Ephemeral? Of course. But that was part of what made them good. Now, I feel pretty lonely about most things and it’s hard because I’ve got no one to talk about anything with.

About six months ago, I got into a bad wreck with a pickup truck. It was snowing a little bit and I lost control. I slid across the median and side-swiped a blue F-150 and sheared the hell out of the side of my car. My arm got caught up in the wreckage and I woke up in the hospital in more pain than you could imagine. They told me my options and said I needed to act fast. I told them to cut it off, if meant not dying. So, now I’ve got one arm and four hundred thousand dollars in hospital bills.

Losing my arm doesn’t have much to do with anything, other than the sense that I’m tired of all these bad things happening to me. I see the good life and I want it, but I’m entirely unsure on how I should go about finding it.

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