2009 / 100% humidity
I had ended up in a bad situation because my standards were low, grinding blindly farther into the habit of getting manipulated and downsized by a man who weighed twenty pounds less than I did. It had been years since I had taken care of myself and I was unsure of the formalities that dictate relationships, as I had never been given a proper example of a functioning (man-woman woman-man woman-woman man-man) partnership. My parents didn’t like each other or something, two times over. Neither my father nor mother had a daddy, and skinny shithead was technically in the same boat. He had watched his mother succumb to emotional defeat, thin-skinned after years of Carolina blue beat downs at the hands of a man named Kevin. My father’s name is Kevin too. Weird.
Generations of misappropriated power plays, sponsored by Anheuser-Busch.
I wish my Kevin would have known the hopes and dreams of the Boy, but he, like everyone else, was easily distracted by tiny scrap metal details like His professional titles: Closet Mushroom Grower, First-Year University Dropout and Constant Alcohol Consumer. Add Tiny Girl Smacker to the list and cue the eighty-year-old’s entrance to the narrative.
My grandmother drove three hours from her home to mine at my father’s request. He’d already sold my Saab without telling me in hopes of deterring my attraction and access to the Boy and after the Boy busted my lip apart in the basement of a mansion, “enough was enough.” Within five minutes of being on the highway, we were speaking with an officer of the law because my grandmother has feet flatter than mine. From the side of I-64 I could see signs for Apex and Cary, and listening to her laugh with a Young Man about the absurdity of his sunset swoop-in made me feel plastic and old for my age.
She asked about Him only once and left it at that.
Blocks of time passed as I furiously sent messages of regret like “i’m sorry i called the police on you” and “this is total bullshit” and “i know, you don’t have to say you’re sorry.” I wish she would’ve thrown the piece of shit phone out the window, but subtly seemed to be her style even though I was fully aware of her experience with idiotic hand-swingers. Her husband, my grandfather, was practiced at the art of being an abusive drunk before abandoning his six children in the late sixties. I was anticipating BEEN THERE DONE THAT HERE’S HOW YOU GET OVER IT (alsohereisJesusChrist).
Dozens of family members had contacted me, trying to connect with their “Experiences With Abuse” and “Ability to Recover.”
Driving into Wilmington is as enjoyable as the horrifying drip that follows snorting something up your nose. It is commercialized hell and its drug equivalent would be crack. My grandmother lives there, as do Aunt Patty and cousins. Their chemical equivalents would be Diet Coke, tennis and pride.
It had been three hours driving in a car and my grandmother pulled into a Wal-Mart parking lot a mile away from her condo-on-a-golf-course. The sun had set halfway and the synthetic lights of the world lit up my splotchy face and scowl. We walked inside together and I laughed when she exclaimed, “I just don’t understand!” after a girl in short-ass shorts walked by.
Soda and floss.
As we were checking out, my grandmother asked Ashley The Cashier for a pack of Marlboro 27’s and I made a joke about getting ID’ed. When we left for the parking lot, she handed me the pack of cigarettes and told me that she loved me. I believed her very much.