Honor thy father and thy mother?
"I don't know," I stammered. Thinking back to when I was a kid was painful enough, let alone talk about how scared I always felt as a child was another issue.
"I guess I spent most of my time alone. It was safer. I made sure I kept out of everyone's way."
TGD leaned forward and quietly spoke. "Do you think it's unnatural for a small child to be alone and not feel safe?" "Well, now I do, then it was just the way it was."
"And why do you think as you say, "that's the way it was?" What the hell??? "Because that WAS the way it was. My mother worked nights, my brother was out, and my step father worked days. When my mother wasn't home, the sexual abuse from my brother would start and it was just better to be alone anytime I could get away. I never went far. Just tried to disappear and amuse myself I guess. No one was really looking for me anyway."
"What did you do by yourself all the times you were alone"? Man, this really sucked. What did I do? Interesting question but it still sucked. I thought back and images of the backyard on Henry Street came into view.
"I'd play baseball. I'd throw a pink rubber ball against the back of the brick house, where we lived, and a chalk target was drawn for pitching strikes, in or I'd play basketball. Basketball was harder because the rim was way high- for Prince Frankie my brother, and the basketball was deflated. So I made my own basketball game of throwing the stupid deflated basketball up and if I just hit the rim, it was 2 points."
Jesus, I must have sounded like a lunatic. Who the hell plays with deflated basketballs? I hadn't thought about this ever. But funny thing, the images started coming back of this funny looking little girl with the boy's haircut, throwing the pink ball against the wall, and catching it with one hand. As I recounted these memories to TGD, another image came into play. In my other hand I was holding 2 raw hot dogs.
WTF?? Yeh, I was. We weren't allowed to make noise inside the house when Mary was sleeping, so I would sneak in quietly and take whatever was in the icebox. Raw hot dogs. I used to eat fucking raw hot dogs. Yeh, I don't have an eating problem.
"What kind of mother would let her child eat raw hot dogs"? "What kind of mother would not feed her child or make arrangements for the child to be fed," or allow her to be sexually abused," TGD said.
And then TGD lowered the boom. "Suzy," she gently said, "you were motherless."
"No I wasn't." "She died when I was in my forties," I countered back.
"Suzy, you were motherless. Your mother was not there for you emotionally, physically or in any other way."
"So basically you're saying that she just gave birth to me and that was it"?
"Yes," TGD said.
Motherless. Motherless. This was the first time I had ever heard that adjective describing a mother who was still living. It took a while for me to wrap that around my head. Still does.
Motherless. But my brother wasn't. Wasn't that a bitch.