I never really knew how these words would follow or what caused them to spew from her mouth.
I mean I “knew”. She was a cold, bitter, selfish woman who if she didn’t get her way, she would scream these words at the top of her lungs. And it wasn’t like it was even done in private behind the four walls of our apartment.
They’d get into an argument, and when he walked out the door and down the block, this fuckin beast would stick her head out the window and scream “I hate you! i hate you!” until he disappeared around the corner. Every time she bellowed these words, I’d go to my room and cry. My sister would be scared to death because we knew that this trigger could mean anything, from a beat down for whatever reason to the beast throwing shit and breaking everything in the house. Even the fear that one day he would turn that corner and never come back.
There were alot of reasons that she wound up saying these things now that I look back at reflect:
She hated him because he didn’t have the job that brought in so much money to provide for her..not us..her.
She hated him for not being able to keep up with her stupid porcelain doll collection that he funded.
She hated him for having arthritis and always saying how he was in pain.
She hated him for keeping his wifes ashes with him stored away in the top shelf of the closet. Hated that he still loved her.
She hated him for always coming back because he didn’t want us growing up without a father.
She hated that me and my sister loved him more than we could ever love her.
And the truth is, we did.
I remember after those verbal bashings, he’d come home and when she’d go out and do whatever or whoever, I’d sit with him and tell him my fear. That one day, he wouldn’t come back. Back then, it wasn’t just the fear of losing my father it was more of “please don’t leave us alone with this woman cause we’re not gonna make it without you”
And he’d always say ” I’m not going anywhere, bebe. I’m always gonna be here for you and your sister..I love you both and you’ll always be my daughters.” And he meant it.
Growing up, I had never found my voice when it came to her. Never stood up to her, never defended my dad against her. In my adolescence, she was my greatest fear. But growing up, having my own child, and coming into my own, the living nightmare turned out to be only flesh and bone. A broken woman with problems that I no longer bothered myself with.
Its like when you’re a kid and you’re afraid of the monster under your bed, or afraid of the dark, or the bully that terrorized you to no end. I was 21 or 22 years old when I turned on the light, looked under the bed and faced my bully head on.
They were coming home from my sisters high school graduation. My dad was so proud. At that time, I refused to speak with my mother. She was living out of state and had abandoned my dad to be with a guy she had met on the internet. He couldn’t survive upstate on his own, so I made the choice to say you know what? You took care of me when I needed you, so I’m going to do the same. So he stayed with me and my son in our studio apartment while I worked full time.
That night is as clear as crystal to me to this day. He came walking through the door, tired and with this look of exhaustion and dread on his face. A few minutes earlier he had called me and asked if it was ok if she could see my son. And of course I was like “hell no keep that bitch away from this apartment and keep her away from my son. She gave up all rights when she walked out on us.”
So he sat on his bed, hooked himself up to his breathing machine and just sat there. I told him that there was no way that woman would ever be around my son. My gut had told me to send Chris to the neighbors until I knew for certain that she was in her car and gone completely. My gut was right..because within minutes, she was walking through my door that I forgot to lock. She strolled in like she owned the place, looking at the empty crib. Before she could even get a word in I pointed to the hallway and said “get the fuck out of my house”
“Im your mother, you respect me, who do you think you are?”
“Youre not my mother. You gave up that right when you abandoned us. You’re not a mother, you’re not a grandmother and you sure as shit are’nt a wife..you see that man? That man is more of a parent than you will ever be! And you have the audacity to come in here like you’re owed something…you’re owed jack shit…all these years you made his life hell, cheated on him, abused him..you aint doing that shit no more, now get the fuck out of my house!”
She looked at him..expecting him to stand up for her or say something in her defense. And he just sat there speechless, trying to breathe. That’s when she slapped him. And in that same second the minute her fist hit his face, I reached for the corona bottle, threw it at her and grabbed the next one and cracked it, pointing it at her ready to jam it into her jugular.
“That’s the last time you put your hands on him.’ I screamed. I had her full attention now. I grabbed the phone and called the cops. Dialing out thinking ‘this is it..this bitch is going to jail” When she saw me dial she looked at my father and said to him. “you’re gonna pay for this”
She stormed out and I was like oh hell no..shes not getting away this time. I followed her down the steps, yelling at her, screaming to her what a failure she was. She called my older sister with crocodile tears saying how I hurt her and she needed her help. She was mumbling threats at me about how she was going to destroy me, break me, make my life hell. And I just laughed. She was powerless to me. This person that haunted me and did in fact make my life hell through the years…I wasn’t afraid anymore. Even when she turned around and grabbed me and punched me twice in the face, I laughed back at her and said “that’s all you got?”
My sister got there before the cops did. And of course she was blaming me for “causing a scene” At this point, the adrenaline was fueled so hard, my blood was literally boiling, every muscle in my body was shaking. And I wasn’t afraid. I screamed to the top of my lungs, like so many times before that my mother had done to my dad, how much I hated her. How she was a failure as a mother and a wife, how no matter what she did in her life, she would always fail. How much I loved and respected my father more than she would ever get. How she would die alone and broken and I wouldn’t shed a single tear.
The cops came, went upstairs to the apartment where he was still on his breathing machine. They came down and pulled me to the side and said he didn’t want to press charges. “just let her go home maam, she’ll be gone and you wont have to deal with her anymore” Yay, NYPD.
After she left, I went upstairs. Then the anger was focused on my father. How could he just let her go like that?
This was his chance to make her pay for everything she had done. How could he not back me after everything she had done? And he answered “I just want it to be over.”
I never understood how he could just let it go. I knew he was angry, the pain from my busted lip began to surface, but my brain just couldnt compute what had just happened.
Was he still scared of her? Did he still love her? Fuck if I knew back then. It was one of the traits that I never gained from him. His forgiveness. It’s what people would say is a weak trait. But when I think of all the wrong I’ve done in my own life, all the poor choices I’ve made, and Him forgiving me, now only part of me understands.
I never hated him for it.