Author Topic: Broken Mirror  (Read 2047 times)


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Broken Mirror
« on: December 05, 2019, 04:00:18 am »
Of course, now that I started thinking about my dad, I can’t stop.

I barely cared when he died. I was 8, I understood death distantly. But I hadn’t seen him in almost two years. A quarter of my life.

I was still dealing with the trauma of being taken away from a foster family I STILL desperately want to contact, who had seen I was trans before I fucking knew and did all these little things to help me feel comfortable that I didn’t recognize for a DECADE AND A HALF. I had been four. I was five when they took me out of there one day. Unexpectedly.

Little shit, too, the little things I recognize now. I wanted girl’s clothes, I got them. I had my nails done once. I had an actual little kid’s life in a lot of respects in that year: birthday party, camping, learning how to chop a log without hurting myself. I guess it was a bit weird at the age of four, but it wasn’t that weird. I was two years ahead of myself, in a family that was comfortable making room for me to exceed. And I’d already lost memories of my earlier years, so no loss to deal with. It was like I’d never had another life.

I only remember this from photos I remember seeing years and years later. Mementos of a time that is lost to me. A life that could have been different, so very different.

Going from that to living with my grandparents full time. People I had never, ever met. People who were, in a word, fucking evil. Two words, I guess.

Coming to terms with being “evil” and “twisted” from my time with those “freaky atheists” (actual words I remember).

And then he died. I had met him three times since I got taken to my grandparents. One hour two times, 6 hours once. This man had never done anything to deserve that but not live up to my family’s fucked up high society standards. So they sicced Johnny Law on him for, in their words in the police report I found later, “not trusting him”.

And he had nowhere to go, no one to turn to. And he jumped in front of a red Buick in Oil City, PA and became a stain on the asphalt. And I did not know him, so I didn’t care.

Years later, my mother told me on a particularly good and open day that he had been great given his damage and she was cornered into talking shit against him. That’s what got me to digging for all of this shit.

He was an aspiring indie country singer. It was the one gig that got him money. He was a fan of 50s country and Johnny Cash. I was ahead of the game on Big Iron by a full decade on account of this, the guy who told me about the gigs he played said he did a fucking awesome job singing old Marty Robbins covers at dive bars across western PA. Couldn’t songwrite for shit, so he languished in the land of the cheap and wasted.

He was chronically homeless. Much like I am, come to think of it, and for similar reasons. Worse, though. He was untrained, uneducated, he actually couldn’t write and could barely read well enough to find a name in the phone book. His father (Jewish side of the family, who were terribly racist as I said prior) didn’t think he was worth educating. His mother had been sent back where she came from, which means she had no input, being in a different state and all.

So he did what he knew how to do, and it paid pocket lint and a loaf of bread. That doesn’t add up to rent, so he walked the streets with a guitar he didn’t play too bad, and he busked and he played gigs at bars, and he slept in alcoves in alleys.

My only existing memory of him is fragmentary, but the fragments have clarity. Probably distorted, I spent a long time thinking on them more than once, but I have them.

He took me to the rez in New York (found that out only recently) where his mother lived. According to my research it’s gone now, but it existed as recently as 1997, and I was there for two hours one day that year.

I don’t remember his mother. I remember a drive down a miles-long dirt road in a 1970s Ford pickup, rusted, black paint clinging in broad sheets along the sides and nearly gone by the wheel wells. I remember not talking much, because I didn’t know what was going on. I had from my perspective only met this man once, in a room in Pittsburgh the year prior.

I had no idea where we were going to.

Next fragment: pulling up. I remember the shacks being impossibly low to the ground, a truck on blocks, a couple kids running to one of the shacks and ducking inside. I’m pretty sure this memory has been distorted by time, it looks like a funhouse mirror and not like a real thing that happened.

And I remember twilight, sun already down, seeing Butler unfold as we came in, and he was silent unlike the drive out. I don’t remember if there was a reason, or anything else.

I have so very little of this man. Everything I have says he and I would be mortal enemies if he had made it to see me now. But goddamnit, I didn’t even get that chance. He was crushed by racism, classism, capitalism, and the all-too-common view of mental illness as weird, scary, and indicative of moral weakness.

He was told he was an animal by his family, raised accordingly, and then everyone he ever met called him stupid and crazy. The only person he ever loved told the cops she didn’t trust him, a fucking lie, and her family told him he was worthless and would only bring them down.

And then he died. A sad, miserable life. 48 years old at his time of death. Had a glimpse of happiness for six of those, right toward the very fucking end, and I was three years of it. And then they took it away, smeared his name, drove away his only clients, and left him with nothing but oncoming traffic and loss and hatred.

And all I have now are fragments of someone who had so much in common with me, who would never have approved of who I am, who should have been given a chance. All I have is memories of paperwork and photos I once saw, all gone now, and a couple pieces of one day at seven years of age that I didn’t understand then and still don’t now, for very different reasons.

Edited due to memory failure at the very start. I had seen him a year and a half prior (I recall the news coming January 99, I had gone to New York in the spring or summer of 97.) The “only met him once before” is not an error, I definitely remember only remembering one prior meeting. There had been another, I found out at the funeral and was periodically reminded of by my mother, but I was still growing, and our memories fade fast at young ages.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 04:52:46 am by nullified »
“I am that worst of all type of criminal...I cannot bring myself to do what you tell me, because you told me.”

“Ever watch that famous war movie? That’s how it’ll be.”
“Which one?”
“The one where everybody dies.”
— Blood Standard, Laird Barron

Remember the fall of Yin Tu.