An Unfortunate Truth
The day had gone along rather well, sitting at the dining-room table, having coffee, talking about current events, catching-up with the 10-plus years that had passed by so quickly. There had been no communications, no confrontations, no correspondences. Neither of them had made any efforts nor attempts to effect any changes in the situation. And there had been exceptionally good reason for the silence and the distance. That they were together again was pure coincidence, and neither one saw cause to avoid an opportunity to, at the very least, avail themselves of the opportunity to try and see what would come of a few moments together again. The result could be any of many possibilities, good, bad, indifferent, better, worse or simply nothing, no adjustment, no change. But it not tried, always unknown.
Up to this point, topics of discussion were as neutral as could possibly be, places visited, sights seen, who'd come to town, who'd left, who'd died, who was running for political office... They tried to remove the old trees that lined the street and the people turned-out to protest. The trees were still there. The kids are on the “Honour Roll” in school. The school is now more a prison... sign of the times. Old back roads are now six lanes wide. A lot of people have moved into town, a lot of businesses have left. And then the almost-inevitable turn into the darkness of “family life”, child-hood, relatives, old houses, and some-how, like a mis-cut piece of an elaborate jig-saw puzzle, fist-pounded into the last open space...
It had happened so very long ago, at a moment in time now so remote that the page onto which it had been printed, at the time, was brittle, dry, and should have never been touched, let alone turned.
“What you did to him was 'child abuse'!”
“I was all of 13 years old. He was all of 3. 'Child abuse'? 'Abuse' you call it? Well, maybe if your father hadn't done the very same to me, with whispers of 'There, isn't that nice? Doesn't that feel better? Here, now you try it for me.” I wouldn't have learnt how to do such a thing, never mind thinking it was just part of life.”
“WHAT are you talking about?!? WHAT are you saying? WHAT are you implying? Are you SICK? Never mind. Of course you're sick! Do you have ANY idea what you're accusing our father of? Are you SICK? You HAVE to be out of your mind!”
“I was 13 years old, fresh out of a severely oppressive Catholic institution of, what most called 'education'. Oppression. Suppression. Repression. Boys were forbidden to stand with our hands in our trouser pockets and girls were prohibited from wearing patent-leather shoes. Why? We had NO idea and nothing more than the edict was made, under penalty of some sort of punishment, something about a 'Hell' and eternal damnation. Hands in pockets got your arms bound behind your back. Patent-leather shoes on the feet and you went through the rest of the school day in stocking feet! And at home, a bowel movement that required more than a 'proper and suitable' length of time resulted in frantic pounding on the bath-room door and shouts of 'Are you going to spend the whole day in there? Is something wrong? Are you feeling OK?' It wasn't until YEARS later that all of this was actually explained to me. And at that, by other kids! I had NO idea what it was all about. ANY of it. I had no exposure, to information, not even a mention of such things. Christ! I'd bought a silly little cheap costume ring to give to Dee, as a 'friend-ship ring', because I'd heard of other people doing it and shit hit the fan in the whirl-winds of all Hell! Panic! A civil person would have thought she and I had plunged into some illicit journey into the depths of deepest carnal frivolities! We were CHILDREN! BOTH of us from the same “proper schooling”, off-spring of the same sort of Puritanical idiot parents. We enjoyed each-other's company... and it was a fucking 'friend-ship' ring! Christ knows WHAT torture we'd have been victims of IF either of us actually knew what we were being accused of. And we didn't even have a wisp of an idea about what sort of thoughts were running through the minds of the 'adults'.”
“What I'm 'accusing' our father of? I'm not 'accusing' ANY-thing! I'm plainly, simply, and succinctly stating the fact of events that literally occurred, happened, took place. Events that can't be altered now, now matter how much or little ANY-body might wish. YOU, NONE of you, have even the slightest notion as to what transpired before your births and during your absences. And let me make it perfectly clear and understood that it took ME a grand-many years to pull the recollections out of the bilge-filled crevices of my own collective memory AND more personal fortitude to come to terms with them, to integrate them into my existence, and to compartmentalise them safely so that they aren't able to pollute my memories, my life then, now and tomorrow.”
“What he was doing all those years... what SHE took you three and ran from, was a constant attempt at, what they call “destroying evidence'. They BOTH knew that, as long as I survived, as long as I was alive, there was a constant possibility that 'something might slip', even as just as a matter of chat, exactly the same way little brother made the comment that slammed OUR little episode onto the dining table that evening, essentially destroying a tidy “family get-together”, and thankfully, one to which I had not been invited. HE didn't see or feel any harm in it any more or less than I'd seen when *I'd* been made an equally un-witting participant in the same affair years before. But they, 'mother and father' knew damned-well, full-fucking right that if *I* let such a truth drop into the public realm, they'd BOTH be strung-up either literally or, at least, socially.”
“My subsequent attempts at suicide were mere conveniences for both of them. That's why, when, instead of trying to do my-self in, I had a complete break-down, screaming, crying and begging for help, a moment I don't recall but mother spoke of, with me, several times. Mother went to father to say, 'He's begging for help! He's losing his mind! We NEED to DO some-thing!' to which father replied, in a matter-of-fact tone, 'I am NOT wasting my money by pissing it away on some little faggot!' No, he wasn't going to 'waste his money' to thwart what would be his passport and ticket out of a situation that he knew could destroy him, even then. Let the 'little faggot' wipe him-self out and neat and tidy, the records would state that it was because of his 'evil life-style'. After all, mother had read more 'professional' books on the subject, and even the APA, American Psychiatric Association, had documented a majority of incidents where 'persons of...' ultimately destroyed themselves. The 'little faggot' just did what was to be expected... and the secrets would disappear under the convenient shroud of the silence of death.”
“You know what's really part of the greater sadness of all this? I survived. In spite of some very admirable attempts against it, I survived. I survived with it all on my conscience, tossed between trying to accept and completely reject it all... in my own silence, wrestling with my own moral ethics, feeling guilty, justified, ambiguous, apathetic, guilty, never really knowing what the appropriate response was or should be. And what's worse for both of THEM is that I survived long enough to 'tell the tale'. Sure, they're both dead now and it makes no difference to either of them, directly. But the matter's no longer silent. Neither of them managed to take their little secret to the grave because, unfortunately for both of them, their little virus had a 'carrier'... who escaped.”
“So now, you have all your memories of 'such a great guy' and 'many happy times'. You're all a right lot of fucking idiots. You can't be blamed for your stupidity though. For the most part, mother managed, quite well, to haul you all off and away, running to her mommie-dearest, whilst back at home, brutality ruled. To this day I'll never believe that she wasn't SO disappointed when she returned with your sorry little arses only to find... I was still breathing. Meanwhile, YOU, the rest, the privileged, the protected, lived your lives then as you live them now, in absolute ignorance, and a refusal to even hear the truth about what transpired in your happy house while you went visiting Nana.”
'Abuse'? I've grown to view 'the act' not as 'abuse' but something that happened, incidents. As a matter of fact, those moments were the ONLY time my father showed ANY sort of kindness or compassion toward me. So it wasn't 'abuse'. And when I passed along the consolation and 'comfort', I didn't see it as 'abuse' any more or less then than I do today. I was taught that it was 'nice' and was intended to make 'feel better'. What happened AFTER, the beatings with belt-buckles, fists and furniture was 'abuse'. And THAT nasty little habit is one I never adopted, never perpetuated and never managed to 'assimilate, integrate, accept'.”
“So you can take your opinion-based-on-bull-shit of me, my child-hood behaviour, my life today, and you can shove it, along with the rest of your ignorance, and give it all a proper, hefty, thrusting SHOVE! Any 'remourse' I might have ever had is completely annihilated at this juncture. I've spent the greater part of my existence, torn and shredded, between the 'moral teachings' of utterly ignorant people and the deep-rooted fact that I truly, TRULY COULD NOT comprehend any negativity associated with what, in my other-wise innocent mind I thought of as a perfectly normal situation, an act of parental affection. After all, it's a common conception that parents are the ultimate care-givers of their children, that parents provide all the necessities of shelter, nourishment, protection, caring, compassion and love. And children grow, instinctively expecting that. As for any 'negativity' that might be associated with any of it, I've come to assimilate it all, much to the astonishment, I've found, of some of the most highly-educated, learnéd 'professionals' in the fields of 'child-hood development'. I've been called an 'enigma' by a great many. According to text-books of exhaustive documentation, my out-come should have been self-destruction or institutionalisation. In contradiction, my history is one of holding highly-regarded, much-respected employment, a perfectly clean existence, having brought harm to no-one. And all of this in spite of what should have, other-wise been a path to horrors. So, that all said, let me ask you: WHAT has YOUR life's contributions to humanity consisted of? Other than prejudgments founded on consciously-chosen, blissful ignorance? Still feeling 'superior”?
The room turned palpably heavy with the silence of a casket set deep in Earth's ancient soil. And though the sun shone brightly through the large windows, dancing on the lace refinements of the curtains, and the wash of dappled light undulated across the table, the floor, the china hutch... the darkness of indescribable depths filled the room, clawed its way through the entire house and even seemed to escape into the world out-side.
As death is a freedom from the strife of living, truth CAN... set you “free”.
All content strictly:© Judah A Kessler 2020 All Rights Reserved. Reproduction with-out express, written permisson is prohibited.