Preparing to survive.
Thursday, Mar. 27, 2003 - 8:49 p.m.

I spent six months without a mother when I was six years old. I have quite a few memories albeit short ones from that period in my life.

I had a babysitter for part of that time. Well for most of the summer anyway.

I finished that year at school in St. Louis, Missouri, living with my grandparents. The parents of my mother.

That summer, I spent where we lived on the river in Alabama. Not on the river, though next to it. One of the things I remember is the beating of drums every night that came from somewhere beyond the woods, and up the river.

And the occasional cry of a voice in the distance from the same direction of the drums. I was told it was voodoo rituals that were being practiced. I was told that I was never to go outside at night because I might end up being stolen by the practicioners.

I was told that they would cut me with knives, and decorate their bodies with my blood. I was told they would kill me, and there was that word kill, death, dead. I might not have known what it meant for sure, though I knew it was nothing I wanted to find out about.

I got a little confused, and wondered if those people had something to do with my mother being dead.

It was the first I remember of a long line of not so comforting thoughts my father put into my head. He viewed the world as a horrible dangerous place, filled with evil people with evil thoughts, and believed that no one ever did anything without wanting something in return.

So, no one was to be trusted. Including him. He told me of many of the horrors in order to prepare me to survive he said. He said he would make me tough so I could be his legacy.

He told me that his father was considered the meanest man in the county he lived, and that I had a tradition to carry on. A family name to represent.

He viewed any shortcomings in me as a personal insult to him. I know all this because he reminded me of it on a daily basis.

Men did not cry. Men were never afraid. Love was a weakness invented by women who are needy creatures, inferior to men.

I hated him, and he hated me, and he said that meant he was doing his job as a father.

It was that summer that he began to beat me. This is not for punishment he would say. This is so you will be strong. It did not take me long to learn how not to cry, or make sounds. He was so proud. Not of me, of what he had wrought.

I was being forged physically and mentally into a tough little soldier.

That was his fantasy. He never knew who I was. I tried to tell him not long before he died years later. He put a pistol to my head at the time, and his training paid off.

He told me to beg for my life. I spit in his face and told him to pull the trigger. He laughed and then grew silent. His hands were shaking as he lowered the gun. He told me to leave his house and never come back.

I turned and walked away without a word, listening for the sound of the hammer being pulled back. All I heard was him crying. It was the first time I ever heard that from him.

I think that was the day I stopped hating him. I had nothing but pity for him.

The next time I saw him was at his funeral. I was glad he was released from the torture he inflicted on himself.

I did not cry to honor him. I was too numb to cry. I did later though.

Sometimes I still do.

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Indy - Friday, Dec. 11, 2009
ain't that a bitch - Tuesday, Apr. 07, 2009
Did I say Lapse of time? - Saturday, Feb. 21, 2009
Looks like Saskatchewan to me - Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008
- - Monday, Nov. 17, 2008

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