Thursday, April 26, 2012
Those early days of love and sadness
In those early days, we were always together. You folded laundry. I looked at picture books. Sometimes you played records. We liked the Beatles. I remember them as quiet days. I remember that you took my hand and we walked to the fire station near our apartment where a fireman slid down the pole from above.
I remember the day that a bumblebee stung me on the elbow. I was playing on the swing set with Stevie when it stung. I remember pain and not knowing where it came from, and I wailed, as much out of fear as pain. You came across the grass and took me in your arms. The bee was dead and stuck to my elbow by its stinger. You plucked it away and carried me inside.
Sometimes you sang to me and read me books. You made pop-tarts. Even then I loved you because you were kind and gentle. Not just to me. To everyone. You put out milk for the neighbor cat.
It could have been a good home. You did your part.
But he didn't want it. He didn't believe in it. He was always gone. And when he was not gone, he was cruel. I feared him because he made you cry. He was not above hurting me or my brother to hurt you. I cried to see you cry. I used to wish I was strong. So I could stop him. And I know you know I did my best. For you and for my little brother.
He thought he had the best of everything. He thought he could have a home with an obedient wife and good kids and still have girlfriends and go fishing and go hunting while he kept you and us in his three-bedroom prison.
But we know what he didn't have. I know what he didn't have.
He didn't have those quiet days, listening to the Beatles and being together. He didn't have the field day at the fire station. He didn't have the trust and the faith and the love that we had. He wasn't part of our little family. He thought he was. But he wasn't.
So, why remember now? Why, you ask? I suppose because I grieve for that little family that we had. The family that he spurned and ridiculed. As if there was something wrong with it. As if it wasn't true and good.
Well, you always forgave. I never have learned how to do that.