Word Prompt: Anticipation
Yesterday I wrote a light-hearted story called ‘An Unconventional Upbringing’. It was the story of a young child brought up in a strange atmosphere of camaraderie but without convention.
See here to read it:
Well the Britchy One wanted some more. You know you can’t say no to the Britchy one, right?
So, I thought I would write the story of the quirky mum. Where there’s light, there’s dark, so prepare yourself for the dark. Without further anticipation, here is the tale.
Sandal, Sea Horse, Polar Ice Caps.
The Quirky Mother’s Tale
I’ve been called many things in my time. A slut, a harlot, a drunk and the most painful of all, an unfit mother. Well let me tell you how it feels to be me, shall I?
I was born into a strict household. My mother gave birth to me but never really loved me. She was just having me because she was carrying out her wifely duties and her husband, my father, took his rights very seriously. Every night. I don’t remember my Father very clearly but he never laughed or smiled. Neither did my Mother. It was a cold, uncaring atmosphere to grow up in. When my Father died, my Mother had very little money but she married a cousin just to keep a roof over our heads. Now I remember my Stepfather all too clearly. I only wish I could forget. My favourite drink of bourbon can only blot him out briefly. I was only fourteen when it started. My Mother was no longer so keen to perform her wifely duties and she was looking rather haggard after all the years of physical abuse my Father had put her through. So, my Stepfather started to sneak into my room at night. At first, he was gentle and he just touched me. He would make me touch him too. No, please excuse me, I won’t go into any of the gruesome details. It isn’t fit for decent ears.
I don’t know if my Mother knew, I don’t see how she could not know, the walls of that house were paper-thin, but she never said a thing about it. We never really talked much about anything.
Then when I was seventeen, my Stepfather decided that touching wasn’t enough. We had gone down to the bottom of the meadow, by the creek and then it happened. I called my little girl my Child of Summer, well it was nicer than calling her a child of rape. It happened in the summertime anyway, so I thought it was appropriate. I never told her what had happened. She wanted to know who her father was, but I thought not knowing was kinder.
When my belly began to swell and I started throwing up in the mornings, both my Stepfather and my Mother knew what was going to happen. They decided that I should get rid of it. I remember feeling so shocked. They had always preached about how wicked abortion was, the hypocrites, and now they wanted to get rid of my baby. I want to be clear, I’m not anti-abortion at all, I think a woman should choose for herself, but I wasn’t going to let them decide for me. I made up my mind to run away. I packed a few clothes, not that I had that much anyway, and took some food from the larder. Enough to last me a while, and I ran as far as I could from that place. I never looked back.
I felt wretched, but I wouldn’t cry. Crying doesn’t do no good. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any tougher I found something I had never really had before. Friendship.
I stumbled upon a campsite on the outskirts of a small town. There were several guys camped out and playing guitars and singing. I suppose I should have been nervous wandering into a group of four men on my own, but what could they do to me that I haven’t gone through already? I was beginning to show quite badly by that stage and I knew I needed something decent to eat or I’d lose the baby after all. For some unknown reason, I really wanted this little baby. Despite what had happened to me, I felt I owed this little one a life and I wanted to make it better than mine had ever been.
The four guys, Ted, Mike, Juan and Pedro, were musicians in a travelling band. It was the Sixties and they were clearly hippies with brightly coloured shirts and sandals and Pedro had flowers in his hair, just like the song. He was the one doing the cooking and it was making my mouth water. Those guys took me in and fed me. They looked after me better than anyone had ever done before. Pedro was gay, but that didn’t bother me any, despite what my parents and my Stepfather had said about their kind. I found Pedro was easy to talk to and he became like the sister I never had. I became very close to the others too, eventually we became lovers, but It was always on my terms. We travelled from town to town playing concerts and singing folk songs. It turned out I had a good voice and so I started singing with the band and we started to make a bit of money. Just enough to be able to buy a Volkswagen minibus. Then I had my little daughter, we decided to call her Star Bell Sea Horse, we were high at the time, of course. After I had her, we decided to go to California. Juan and Pedro were from Texas, Ted was from New York and Mike came from West Virginia like Me. To us, California was like Mecca, a place of safety for our kind of people, misfits.
Not long after that I met Steve, tall and handsome, for the first time I felt an attraction that went beyond anything I’d had before. His parents had died and left him their house on the outskirts of Oakland and he invited us to settle down with him. We made it a home.
I may not have been the best Mother in the world. I know I drank and we smoked some grass but I never allowed anyone to have any hard drugs about the place. None of my new family were into hard drugs but when you had parties all sorts came, but any sign of needles or anything and I’d get Mike and Steve to give them the heave-ho. I always made sure there was laughter in the house too. There had been no laughter for me when I was growing up, I wanted better for my little darling. I always made sure she had nice clean clothes for school, well I made sure Pedro made sure.
I was sad when Pedro said he wanted to leave. We used to wrangle all the time about keeping the place tidy, He was a neat freak, but that wasn’t what made him want to leave. He’d met a guy who lived down in San Fran and they wanted to be together. I pride myself on not allowing myself to cry but I cried when Pedro moved out. He was the closest thing I ever had to a Sister. Sometimes he was almost like a mother too. A proper mother, almost. I hear he is happy with his fella though, so that’s good.
Anyway, life goes on and My daughter is all grown up now. She did well at school and ended up going to university, studying environmental sciences, all about the polar Ice Caps. I may have been a quirky mother, and she may have had an unconventional upbringing, but I gave her love and plenty of laughter and that’s more than I ever had.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 20/June/2018