Escape! Freedom!

Writing my memoirs here… I’m around eight, nine, ten years old here.

I was troubled and unhappy. I woke up once in the middle of the night surrounded by bright orange flames. I knew I was going to burn alive. It would be unbearably painful, and if I were unlucky, I’d live… only to spend years recovering from ghastly burns.

Then I woke up for real and gasped from the nightmare. I’d wet the bed—no surprise there. But the flames were gone.

I fashioned a rope ladder from old rags in the attic that I knotted together. I attached it securely to my bedpost and slid it under the bed to keep it hidden. It would hang down far enough for me to exit through the window in case of fire. But my mom found the rope ladder and threw it away, claiming she didn’t want me sneaking out in the middle of the night.

“If I wanted to sneak out, I’d use the front door,” I told her matter-of-factly. But she refused to return my rope ladder or to let me make a new one. My nightmares got worse, and so did my bedwetting.

My bedroom overlooked an interior second-floor porch that could be accessed through the living room. Being able to see the glass walls of the porch from my room creeped me out and left me terrified, almost as if I’d look there one night and find a ghostly someone looking back at me.

Also, the area atop the stairs near the organ, which was situated in the hallway between my room and the porch, filled me with existential dread and horrific images of hellfire. To this day, whenever I lower the dosage of antipsychotics, I go back to that place and become trapped in a fiery, hellish landscape.

My parents didn’t care about my nightmares but they cared about the bedwetting, presumably because I was ruining my sheets and mattress. They hooked me up to some sort of medieval electronic device that beeped as soon as my underwear was dampened with urine. I tended to sleep through it, but they’d hear it, show up, and shake me awake. “Go to the bathroom,” they’d say, “go to the bathroom.”

I’d grunt.

My mom feared I had intestinal parasites. She forced me to try to fall asleep one night with folded-over masking tape shoved up my butt. She wanted to catch one. It would’ve been so much easier if she could’ve just given me some medicine. My mom never did anything the easy way when there was potential for traumatizing or violating her children. Her response to every potential problem was, how can I ruin my kids’ lives the most in dealing with this?

Philip and I tasted Comet, meaning we put a small dot of Comet on our tongues. It tasted bad. Mommy sobbed and carried on as if we were going to die. She clutched us to her bosom and wailed, “Don’t be afraid of death. God will guide you into the next world. Oh, you must be brave, my children.”

Inwardly, I rolled my eyes. She phoned the poison control center, and they told her that we should drink some milk. I hated milk ever since the fire, but I bravely drank some because my mom was already unhinged. It was disgusting.

That was the last time I ate Comet.

I developed a ritual that prevented me from having nightmares, but it only worked when I performed the ritual at bedtime. Dear God, I’d pray, please protect my house from fire. Please protect my friends’ and relatives’ houses from fire, too. And please protect as many other people from fire as You can. And please protect me from bad dreams about fire. Thank you, amen.

And then, for good measure, I’d address the man in my brain who organized all the information in my head in several huge file cabinets. Brain, I’d say, don’t let me have any bad dreams about fire tonight. He’d nod in agreement and keep organizing.

Invariably, every single time I had a nightmare, my first thought was, did I do the ritual? And the answer was always, oops, no, I forgot.

But I never had nightmares after performing the ritual. That just didn’t happen. My protection worked.

My brother and I took piano. My brother’s piano teacher gave us two pet kitties, whom we named Cover and Nerak. One day, I put Cover and Nerak outside to play. They disappeared. I was devastated. When Mommy found out, she said, “Oh, well. You won’t find them.”

“We can put up posters,” I said. “We can look for them, Mommy. We can ask around.”

She shrugged. “Don’t bother. They’ve probably gotten crunched under the wheel of a car by now.” Mommy believed in brutal honesty at any cost.

And that was that. Our beloved kitties who we’d nurtured and fed for months were gone, and it was all my fault. My brother was kind enough not to hate me. He and I had gentle, loving souls which our mother tried to corrupt and putrefy at every turn. Ultimately, I like to think she failed in her task.

Gee, this has been depressing. What I sense is that I need to work through all this stuff and embrace happiness. Or maybe I should just thank God that I eventually escaped my mother. Years and years and years and years and years of her constant cruelty have broken my brain into a million shattered pieces, all of them requiring regular medication.

It’s weird, because writing my memoirs has reminded me of what a gentle and loving boy my brother was. He and I were good children. Our sister, on the other hand… there aren’t words. But my brother was very kind. I’d forgotten.

I mean, not that he’s not still kind. He has a very gentle spirit, but he also has an edge, very slightly. (After growing up with my mother as a parent, who wouldn’t?) It’s nothing major. His edginess is shown by a certain bullheaded need to push a point. If he’s convinced that something’s fact, he’ll defend it to the rigid death. He’s possibly slightly autistic, but I’m not sure. I’ve heard that said about him, but who knows? Also, he might have Tourette’s. The jury’s out, but these are just things I’ve heard and seen signs of. I would ask him, but I can’t justify it, so I just wonder. I have to admit that socially, he’s very eccentric. I’m used to it, because I’m related to him, but he has many social oddities about him.

I’m never offended by his edgy ways, but I sense that it affects his relationships with women. His stubborn streak and rigid thinking patterns can kind of send women screaming after a certain point, and that makes me sad. He’ll rule with logic over emotion, and he can’t quite reconcile the existence of both within his mind.

He’s a very successful truck driver. He majored in philosophy in college and had some office jobs which he hated, so he became a bodybuilder and then started driving trucks. It’s amazing, and he’s loaded with coin. (I went over to his house yesterday to oversee the installation of a chandelier that he bought from Italy. Hilariously, I stepped on it and broke it.) I’m very impressed with his success, and he in turn supports my writing and other projects.

Ohh, time for bed! I should go sedate myself into oblivion for another night. God bless Seroquel. I hope everyone out there reading this is having a great night! 🙂

3 thoughts on “Escape! Freedom!

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