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All posts for the month April, 2012

Short fiction

Published April 30, 2012 by Kim

You! It was your fault–yours! She was a baby–she didn’t know any better! What on earth made you think you could let her play outside by herself? You didn’t think, and now she’s gone–my girl, my baby–and I will never have her back—”

“God–

Don’t you talk to me about God. God and His plans, God and his comfort–God didn’t protect her. God didn’t keep her safe.” Her voice was raspy from tears, from screaming. “Don’t you tell me how she’s safe and happy now. She was happy here. With me, with her daddy and her brother. If you didn’t strut around with your stupid faith–” She doubled over, gagging on tears, heaving nothing from her stomach. No one moved to calm or console her. “That’s your problem–you talk about how afraid you are of everything–child molesters, rapists, thieves–but then you go around talking about having faith in God protecting everyone. You act like a little faith is going to make sure nothing goes wrong when you do something stupid. Leave the kids in the car alone? Lock the doors, God will protect them. Need to go inside and cook while they’re playing? Go on in, God will keep bad things from happening.” Her voice rose. “Want to take a walk around the block? Don’t worry about it–let her come along and run around in the road beside you. God will make sure that guy won’t back out and hit her, or cross the center line and hit her at forty damn miles an hour!” She threw up her hands. “Don’t you look at me like that! I’ll say whatever the hell I want! SHE’S DEAD. You killed my girl. You and your stupid confidence and faith and blind trust in something we can’t even see. And don’t even tell me I need to be careful. If I make God mad, he can kill me now. At least I’d be with her!”

“Please don’t say those things, it’s not right–”

I don’t care.”

“But–”

“I–don’t–care. You bury a baby, then you tell me how it feels, how God makes all the hurt go away, if I just have faith.” She wiped at her face, red and splotched and tear-stained. “I will never forgive you. Don’t come to my house. Don’t send anyone to talk to me about God. I don’t want anything to do with Him. Not now.”

No one stopped her from leaving.

It’s haphazard and shapeless, but it’s something that formed–painfully–in my mind, last night. Through two loads of washing and drying laundry, it sat there: this awful, stomach-turning image of my D, hurt and…gone.

L seems so invincible, so hard-headed and angry (like his mother), but D is so gentle, so sprite-like, that I fear she’s ephemeral. I know every parent has these moments, but when this one–when that image–gripped me, and stuck around overnight and into this late afternoon…all I could think was to get this out.

And I think God understands me enough to know why there’s that kind of rage.

Family drama-llamas

Published April 25, 2012 by Kim

Ugh. Sometimes, I love my family to death. Emphasis on the TO DEATH part. Case in point: my brother and his wife, and some kind of stupid rift between him and my parents over her parents. For this post, I shall refer to my sibling as “Broron.”

Permit me a bit of background? SiL is the only daughter of four (five?) siblings. Her mother doesn’t work, but effectively brought SiL up as a housemaid (no educational encouragement, no driver’s license, nada–though her brothers were ferried on their sixteenth birthdays for that all-important card, and never made to do housework). Fast forward to the day Broron and SiL were married…and her parents arranged for a musician that they wanted, but suddenly would not pay for–and Broron used their honeymoon money to pay what was owed. (Some of my family caught wind and gave him extra money on the spot so they could go on their honeymoon, as planned.) Time passed…SiL’s family would ignore him at meals, making him drive separately to events while SiL rode in their car, bought gifts for her birthday but not his, gave her Christmas presents and him none (or something like a box of clothes detergent or used Walmart gift card). Meanwhile, they expected name-brand clothing and other pricey gifts at practically every celebration. When my niece was born, SiL’s mom wanted SiL and the baby to come live with her–even started preparing a room for her!–and insisted on buying dresses for all holidays, so that Niece would wear what SiL’s mom preferred. Even as Niece’s first birthday approached, we learned SiL’s mother planned to host a party only for their kin, so we wouldn’t be around. (That idea got shot down, thankfully.) During all of this, years of this, my parents were asked to not mention it, not buck the system or cause problems–down to not posting pictures on Facebook of trips Broron, SiL, and Niece came on with all of us–so as to not upset SiL’s mother.

So, the proverbial poo hit the fan at the end of March, when my dad–as is his style, God love him–found out SiL’s family was going to the same restaurant we had already planned going to after finishing our Easter pictures together. He laughed and told SiL to have her brother hold a table for all of us. I heard, I laughed–it’s true! SiL’s mother would’ve gone thermonuclear had we shown up and sat with/near/in the same building as them.

That’s all that was said, and it was promptly forgotten…until not so very later, when Broron called our parents and blessed them out for their callousness and “childishness.” Dad is completely pissed, as is mom, and I’m standing by going “WTF?” (as Broron admitted that he “doesn’t know” what was said, but it was out of line, whatever it was, and our parents need to apologize; my parents responded with their version of “like hell we will” and hung up on him.) He hasn’t called them since, and it looks like I’m also in the exclusion zone.

To which I reply, “like I give a shit.”

Sorry about That Word, as I usually avoid That Kind of Language, but there are times I feel (and I think my parents would agree, despite my upbringing) that everyday words don’t effectively communicate just how pissed you are over something. I’m mad on Mom and Dad’s behalf–it’s ridiculous to expect them to walk on eggshells and forever tolerate the manipulations and abuse doled out by one crackpot mother-in-law on their son. I love Broron, he’s my brother, but I cannot fathom why he’s gone nutters about this when he doesn’t know what was said. Isn’t that the first thing you fact-check? Get the story, evaluate the damage, decide the outcome? I can’t believe his grasp of logic is so…lost.

Jesus on a bicycle–what happened to my brother? Has he gone Stockholm Syndrome on us? Is he so…*ahem*…whipped that he’s going along with anything SiL asks? And I try not to let it get to me that he works a full-time job while she stays home, babysits another child while Niece is home, too, and then gallivants off for a weekend with her “moms’ group” and he’s left with Niece on his own. Sure, he loves being with his daughter, but I can’t help bristling at the idea of him not getting a weekend break. SiL can’t drive! He can’t leave his wife and daughter home alone with no way around while he takes off for some downtime–how is it appropriate that he must always be “on” and she gets weekend getaways with the girls?

(For the record, Hubby has offered to let me go away for a weekend, to write or decompress or what-have-you…and I always say no. It seems unfair to him.)

Whatever happens, though, just happens. I’m not going to make my parents’ lives harder by complicating things. I think I’ll just try to give them as much time with their grandchildren I as can arrange, even just to stop in a few minutes for a hug and kiss, and remind them that they are loved. Aside from that, I’m going to thank God that my in-laws aren’t as freaking insane as Broron’s.

Black holes and lost dreams

Published April 19, 2012 by Kim

My life–so far as my work-life, that is–sucks. Like a black hole. It’s eating my brain, destroying my soul, making me hate myself and all the people I talk to. What I do…it’s like my job is a dementor: happiness, life, hope? Sucked away, leaving you cold and despairing.

I’m a yo-yo, of this I am aware. When things go well here, I’m great. When things go wrong (and they’re going pretty damn wrong, ATM)–well, I end up like I am right now. I’m so lost, so hopeless, so freaking desperate…I can’t begin to explain.

Good God, I hate this place. I hate the calls, the hold music, the constant emails reminding everyone to SMILE AND BE HAPPY because customers HEAR IT IN YOUR VOICE! and all that other BS that gets stuffed down our throats every effing day. I hate stupid people. I hate trying to explain basic concepts that my SIX YEAR OLD gets, but grown adults whine and bitch about because it’s so complicated. I spend eight, ten, fifteen minutes explaining “yes, you pay your deductible” and watching that timer go up and up and up, knowing I’m not meeting goal and I’m going to get yanked back to working in Greensboro because I can’t meet my goals.

My dream conversation:

Do you drive a car? Yes? Do you have auto insurance? Oh, you do. Good! Now, remember that nasty little thing called a “deductible”? You know, that thing you have to pay if you hit a mailbox or your wife busts out your windshield when you forget the trash AGAIN or your kid joyrides it into a culvert? Ah, you do. And you remember that YOU have to pay that before the insurance company pays to fix your precious tank–I mean SUV? FABULOUS. So glad you remembered. Well, here’s a little hint–your medical deductible works the same way! It’s the SAME THING. Not a homonym, like “hair” and “hare”, which sound alike, but are vastly different things. Here, it’s spelled the same, sounds the same, and works the same way. ISN’T THAT EFFING AMAZING? See, I told you that you could understand simple things! Have a cookie.

I want out. I want to do something–anything–that doesn’t suck the life out of me. …Except, I’m thirty-three. My “career” is this. Only this. It’s all I know, sadly enough. No one wants to hire someone so green at my age, start her out and still pay her enough where she can make her bills.

And writing? Let’s not joke any longer. I’m no writer. I’m unreliable and unimaginative. My best work is taking other people’s characters and manipulating them in a believable way through a new storyline. That’s not creating.

I’m a hack. A talentless, motivation-less hack.

I wonder, sometimes, if I ever wanted this. Did I dream of writing because I wanted to get those worlds and lives and experiences out of myself? or did I absorb–again, as I always do (just a copy, a representation of something greater)–the dreams of the girls I loved from books? Jo and Anne, for instance. Did Jo March set me on this path, with her sordid tales sold to newspapers, and her darling Fritz reminding her she’s so much greater than that? Did Anne come along, with her “My Graves” and other stories to rival the greatest angsty fanfic available, to inspire me to laugh at early attempts and know–again–that she (I?) was capable of so much more?

Does it even matter? I can’t do it. I can’t put a thought together, nor hold on to one long enough to see it through to the end. I’m…lost. Adrift. Frozen. And I can only talk about it here, I can’t do like my SiL and take off for a “weekend with the girls” and leave my family behind while I go play. I’m here. Surrounded by a mess, and responsibilities, and notes and pages and charts and research for things that I know won’t ever see the light of day, because I CAN’T DO IT.

So. Do I hate my job or myself more? My job. –I hate myself because I know I’m not good enough to get out and into something I love.

 

 

ETA: Sweet Jesus, I’m a downer. Sorry about that.