Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I Can

Many people have asked me what the name of my blog means, and I've always had some long sophisticated answer that only hinted at the truth. I still remember the first time my step mother hit me. It was probably the first day. I think it was because I pushed my little brother--her son, my half-brother. That stuff happens all the time with brothers. As parents we try to teach them to use words instead of fists, so we beat the shit out of them until they understand. Does anyone hear Linda McCartney in that last sentence--you know, an off-note that makes your head tilt to one side with a look we wear when we don't get the joke? If not, click Next Blog and don't come back.

She sat me down after a bad report from my teacher. I was a behavior problem, always talking in class, starting fights with the other boys, hyper and aggressive. My teachers constantly spoke with me, but I was unreachable. The only language I understood was screaming and yelling punctuated by kick, slap and crack. I was relieved when dad came home, because his kicks were flat-footed. Step-mom made me pull down my pants and used a leather belt or plastic serving spoon. I still remember the shape and color--white, but yellowed with age, stained red from spaghetti sauce.

So after getting the report from my teacher, she sat across the kitchen table from me and told me what she had heard. She was Saint Lorrie that day, all patience. Maybe she prayed earlier for the strength. Perhaps the local father had her say a few Hail Mary's and Our Fathers, and the holy light filled her to bursting. While restraining the hand that must have yearned to whip me good, she asked me the question. You've seen it before. Maybe.

"Do you have any idea how hard it was to love you?"


"It was difficult," she said, "but I did it." The look of triumph on her face! Surely now she would go to heaven. I could almost hear the trumpets. Was that a halo rising above her head, or the seepage of a thousand Benson & Hedges cigarettes that stained her teeth yellow with sepia highlights?

And do you know that I was grateful? Did I tear up with joy? I did. That worthless, despicable, unlovable, seven year old spawn of his father's previous whore was saved by a missionary of God. He had his own angel to watch over him now. Everything was going to be ok. After two long years, in the house that God built, love had finally come to town.

Can you hear the church choir?


I can.


Jaye Wells said...

Oh, Scott. You're killing me here. I'm sending you cyber hug since a real one isn't possible. Thank you for sharing your pain with us, but most of all good for you for rising above that.

Kathleen said...


Good for you overcoming your childhood. I, of course, being naturally curious (and nosy) wonder if Stepmother managed to show you that love regularly after that or was it just wordsS?

Toni Anderson said...

She was weak Scott. She was also mean and a bitch.

And after all that you still went to her wedding?

I'm guessing you don't need the love anymore? I'm hoping you don't need her love. Maybe you just want her to recognize her own failure, but it'll never happen.

There are days I shout at my kids and it kills me inside. I can not imagine not loving a child with every pore in my body and trying to keep them safe.

BTW I used to get spanked, even with a tin whistle ocassionally and it hurt. But it wasn't real abuse, I really don't think I was abused. But your childhood sounds brutal.

Scott said...

Jaye - Thanks for the hugs. I needed a few.

Kat - She did sometimes. She taught with an iron fist, but gave me some skills to take into the world. She always preferred her son and never let me be a kid. She had good moments, but she never laughed at anything I ever said. Mostly she was a heartless bitch.

Toni - I forgave her for all those things until she walked away from me at the wedding. Now the gloves are off. She did apologize to me some years ago for how she treated me, but I wasn't ready to talk about it and blew it off. I suppose what you are describing is not real abuse, but I can't even begin to imagine doing the same to my children.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Why didn't you call it 'Hard to Love'