Today is the day Kavanaugh is either given or denied a place on the United States Supreme Court. I am a Canadian. Like millions upon millions of women around the world (and millions of men, I know), I have been disgusted with a certain grotesque slice of American Old Boy “Chuckle, Abuse, And Chuckle” While Robbing People And Stomping On Them Politics (and it’s chicken-hearted Canadian version, too).
I am physically ill. Frightened in my bones. Disgusted.
I am agitated.
My story is small. I am no one.
But I feel I will die the way I felt I would die when I was very small.
Broken to pieces. Never right in the head. All alone.
I am fifty seven years old and I cannot carry these evil people anymore. They’re in the room with me, all of them, today. It’s not even my story – I am in it, but it is someone else’s story that I have carried along with my own for over forty-seven years and today, I let her go. Right here, I set her down.
Today, this morning, in my car, in my mind, I lay her father down on a metal table and I began to cut the skin off him with a sharp pair of shears and the help of the white hot tip of a wire coat hanger to give the scissors some purchase. I am going to be doing that, over and over, in my mind, for some time. He makes a terrible noise, and I think that that is very ironic, and quite funny. Pitiful. Fitting. Pointless.
I am going to drown her mother in the blood and shit and piss running off the table, collecting in a large metal ash can. We had a coal furnace when I was a kid. It is of a sufficient size. Her mother will be watching us for some time. She will suffer a million agonizing heart attacks before I get to her.
I do not know if her father and mother are alive. My father is dead. But he’s there watching me, too. He cries and cries. He just cries for himself, the way he always did. I don’t want to touch him. His physical presence disgusts me. His lifelong sexual innuendos, sexual immaturity, sexual bullying, and beyond vulgar misogyny all roil my guts. I do want to beat him to death, but there is never any reckoning, no justice. He will disappear when I am done with the other two.
Today I give her up, and I kill them all.
My friend’s father raped her for years when she was a little girl, into adolescence. Her mother allowed it. I learned of this obliquely, as my childhood was a mire of ignorance, no useable vocabulary, and deep shame. But I came to know what she meant. I knew, and she told me more than once. I said nothing. I was not expected to talk. But I said nothing. I was paralyzed by the horror of how close that particular daddy demon lived in my own house, I was paralyzed by not knowing what to do, I was paralyzed by knowing that there was nothing that could be done.
She invited me camping when we were about 11, maybe 12. Oh, her dad was mad to see me with my little suitcase of clothes, and towel, and bathing suit. She invited me to protect her in the tent-trailer, because no one else would. He would never touch me.
He had to sleep on the other side. With his wife. So that was three nights my friend had, not being fucked as a child.
Alcoholics of different kinds, were our fathers. Hers, a small man, a raging, fist-throwing bruiser, flinging wife, and sons, and daughter, in front of others. In front of me. Two salaries they had in that family, and hardly any food, never any fresh fruit, always plenty of milky tea and cigarettes and booze. Mine, a mountain of an angry man, a bruise-hider, a man who would belt me on the head at the dinner table, fling me around the house by the upper arm so my blouses would cover the huge, perfectly purple hand print. A vile, vile, filthy mouth of a man. So nice! Said his pals, who came over for a beer. Such well-behaved children! Murmured the old ladies in church. A good provider, as one of my sisters recently said. (Our dead mother would want me to try to avoid expressing my thoughts on that. I have the vocabulary for everything now. You know what they are.)
We had food. After he died, the money he never spent on anything nice at all for my mother was divided among the four of us. I put a down payment on a house. In Toronto. He was a mistreated child, an angry, disappointed man, an alcoholic, a glutton, a bully, a child abuser. He made decisions. He was the adult.
When I was 26, I woke up one morning and fell down. I had erased her father, the rapes, my friend, from my mind. Then I remembered. Those were years I had terrible trouble. No help from my family. None. And then I remembered hers. The further you fall, the more life kicks you.
That’s what it is like, today, waiting to see if a sexually abusive alcoholic is appointed to the American Supreme Court. To remember.
I did not hurt her. I stuck by her. She stuck by me.
I was not responsible for beating her, raping her, under-feeding her, handing her over to a husband, making her little life a hell on earth, proving that no one loved her.
I was not responsible for my own father’s outrageous explosions of fury, tearing clothing to pieces, throwing things, breaking things, swinging a belt at his small children, throwing my mother over the kitchen table.
I did not do anything, ever, to cause any of that.
I am at peace in my own home. I am safe in my own home. I have never had anyone love me. My parents didn’t really know me. My father didn’t like me, let alone have the capability to love anyone. I have never had anyone share me, or share my life. The broken down, tamped-down, petrified little girl in me did that, and I let her, so that I could be at peace and be safe in my own home.
Years ago, I found out my friend had married, and had many children. I bawled and bawled, because I could not. But she deserves all of it and more. I have made a family of friends, and a particularly wonderful sister-in-law. I have stubbornly pursued and verified my value, my worth, my abilities, my heart, my right to be my self and my right to be joyful and content. I refute the charges against me, a girl and a woman, lengthening from the day I was born. I am still here. They did not make me die.
I have to believe that she will be all right. That she shares her life with a man who has given her herself back, and more.
I cannot carry her any more.
I am so sorry.
I am so sorry I did not even try to get help.
I have always believed that part of her ordeal was my fault.
I am sorry I hurt myself.
Today, I put that down.