Wet Paint

So the mother has decided she needs to help around the farm. From where she parks the first thing she starts in on is the barn door. It does need to be repainted. We know that. If we actually had $ for paint, and the time to do it, it wouldn’t be looking that bad. Well, here we are day 3 of the mother work project. Of course, she can’t do this on her own, since much of it involves standing on a ladder. The door is about 20′ high. Well, I have been roped in to paint the damn door. The painting isn’t so bad. The listening to my mother, that’s a whole nother story.

For whatever reason my mother randomly talks about shit from the past. It never fails. I never know when I might get blind sided, but it tends to happen. Today I was minding my own business, quietly standing balanced way up on a ladder. She decided she wanted to talk about my brother. No big deal, this is the frequent topic of conversation these days. He is living with her while waiting for a court date. It begins with her talking about the guy who abused him. The trip to Newfoundland and details that I had not heard before. Here I am 20′ off the ground holding a paint can. Not exactly an easy time to make a getaway. I sensed she would soon move on to me, she always does. I tried to focus on the painting. Mindfully paint, I told myself. But it didn’t much matter. “I wanted to kill him” she says. I know this. I know she was very angry when she found out what he had done. She paused for a bit. I hoped she would move on to something else, since I wasn’t offering up any response. “It’s in the past now” I finally said. She paused, brush mid stroke. “Your sister said you were both drinking”. I honestly felt the world sway. For a minute I thought I might just fall off the damn ladder. I closed my eyes and tried to right myself. My brain was racing, along with my heart. I turned my mind back to that night looking for any evidence that I too was drunk. I see nothing. I think harder. I still get nothing, I can’t place where we were in the hours that led up to it. What happened? Why cant I remember…. I turned to her, ” I was a kid mom, I wasn’t drinking”. Is that the truth? I don’t know the answer…I don’t know where she is getting the information. I don’t know where my sister got the information, unless from my brother. It goes against his claims of remembering nothing. Do they all know more than they say? Is this discussed behind my back? What has he told them? Is that how they justify it? Oh, they were both drunk, it isn’t as bad….There I stood searching for any clue. My mind blank and dumb. Where did the memory go? Where is it? Why the gap?

She continued painting. Not a minute later- “You always said he’d come in your room and rape you”. I racked my brains and tried to place that. I don’t recall ever saying that to her. I wasn’t even sure from what time period she was talking about. All I wanted was out of this conversation. I didn’t ask her to specify. There was a lull, and I tried to bring my mind back to painting. Anything but the thoughts that were going thru my head. I don’t have flashbacks, not like I used to. It plays like a silent film. It is there, but it doesn’t connect. So there I stood, up on that ladder, my mind a million miles away. Somewhere caught on a night in 1987….

I didn’t ask for that, and I never sensed it was coming. I know I run the risk every time she opens her mouth. She can’t help herself. It is where she goes, and what she revisits. It is as if the past is so much a part of her present. I can’t imagine trying to live like that. To never let go of anything. I try so very hard to leave that all behind. I can’t function today if I am buried in yesterday. I can’t be tethered to it like that. Sadly, she is. In spending time with her, I too must brush against it. I don’t like what I saw today. I don’t understand the gap in the timeline. I. for the life of me, can’t narrow it, or even fill some in. It leaves me anxious and sad. That mixed with a healthy portion of anger. I never asked for this,not back then and not today.

It is inevitable, I have to revisit that night. I was waiting for the right time, but there is never a right time. I think I’m okay enough to do that. I’ll write about it, maybe the gap will lessen. So much for leaving that dog to sleep.

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