My Brother Once Said, “My Life Was Determined By Another’s Lie.”

A man will renounce any pleasures you like but he will not give up his suffering.


513Rick willfully shouldered a self-imposed burden his entire life.  Unsettled by our Dad’s violent outburst’s (routinely targeting our mother), he began to peek behind, beside, and beyond our parent’s staid alibi about their colorless and urgent courtship which usually quelled curiosities. Except for one widow that pursued, with neighborly caution, my mother’s dire dodging. “It was simple math,” he’d once said, “Simple math and the ordering of month’s to quickly calculate the truth. He was proud of his steely pursuit, wishing there was a merit badge for exposure of parental lies. “Then suddenly,” he said, “the whole enterprise soured.  The recently decoded shameful and moral secret they’d disguised as hushed urgency, longing, and the mid-fifties moral compass was, in fact, his birth which occurred  five months after their City Hall nuptials.

It was then, at that inconceivable denouement, that his conception was the root cause of bout after bout after bout of unbridled and disgusting epithets often followed by a round of brutish, physical taunts which, my mother learned too late, that if you retreat to the broom closet or the empty cranny next to the refrigerator, you raise your arms to protect your face like exhausted boxers stuck in a corner. Fear and submission killed my father‘s blood lust as though he’d been fed a syringe full of Ketamine.  Oh, but those few and far between times when her self-respect outweighed her self-preservation, her repressed anger putrified to man-slaughter.  She charged at him, disgust followed by anger followed by critical injuries helped to ignore his devastating kidney punches followed by multiple precisely aimed and explosive back-handed slaps which buckled her knees; by now, in his cold eyes she’d lost any humanity and devolved into the recipient of his fully expressed hatred for her.

My mother’s marriage, a litany of lies: loathing thinly veiled as affection; irritation disguised as intimacy; and an escalating and violent blame for Marge‘s moonless flight with their three children through thorn bush and brambles, and following her husband’s business partner who liquidated their company’s assets that afternoon.  Later that evening my father received a brief call from Marge confirming that all three children were safe and in her care.  And sternly warned my father that if he pursued them, she’d kill all three of them rather than spend another minute with you, then abruptly disconnected the line.  It was then that my father accepted that he’d been abandoned, ruined, and penniless.  My father was incapable of keeping his promises, especially when it came to monogamy whether married or single. But worse still was his continued punishment of my mother for Marge’s inconceivable disappearance into the thicket behind their home. Marge later confessed that it was his barefaced screwing of the nanny.  Who, coincidently, was our mother.

Rick witnessed just one of those bloodsheds and cursed his responsible birth as cause for these vengeful and sadistic rituals.  So he heaved the imaginary and backbreaking potato sack stuffed with the rubble of our mother’s self-esteem and character; up to his waist, hesitated, then at once swung the unbalanced sack up to his shoulder while tucking his short ageless frame beneath the load like a tire winch. From there he strained and distorted and drove the shifting load skyward until his swollen knees snapped open like a toy jack-in-the-box and steadied his load . . . for the rest of his natural life.