Meeting a Future First Father

A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.  ~Edward de Bono

The tattered laces that hold my mothers forty year old ice skates over my shoulder threaten to break at any moment. The right skate bounces hard against my right breast as the left bangs hard against my spine. Dirty from years of use by my mother and even more years of storage near the oil furnace in my parent’s basement, I found myself surprised they were useful to me.

They hurt my feet of course. My mother’s feet are smaller than mine but they were the only skates I had access to. There was certainly no money to purchase new ones for me. I managed to get them on my feet by using knee high stockings instead of heavy socks. This permitted my not quite size 10 feet to fit into the size 8 boot but it provided absolutely no protection against the cold. Not only were my toes crammed to the front but they were now frozen into small ice cubes.

As I pondered my aching feet, Regan babbled on next to me.  Every now and then I would mutter an “uh-huh” or “yeah” just to keep her content. I did not really care what she was saying. She always talked too much.

“That puke yellow car has passed us several times”, she said. “I am getting kind of nervous”.

It was dark. We were a mile away from home and the roads were slick with ice and snow. The streets were nearly deserted due to the winter blast that had arrived two days prior. If we were being stalked or harassed there was not much we could do about it. Running fast was not an option as we were sure to slip on the icy sidewalks.

The car drove by one more time and slowed to a stop. We ignored it and kept walking.

“Hey, girls”, a young male voice screamed from the car. “Need a ride somewhere? You two hotties look like coldies right now”, the voice continues.

A snort of laughter is heard from a second male. We keep walking.

“Regan! Why are you being such a bitch?” the second voice screamed.

Regan turned and stared at me. “Who was that?” she said.

“How do I know? They called YOUR name.” I respond.

Doesn’t surprise me.  Regan has a cute little body. She is blonde with blue eyes and the boys adore her. She is a bit of a tomboy, rough and tumble yet with a body that makes boys salivate (and probably do other nasty things). They would never be calling for me. I am a big girl. Too large in the butt, too big in the chest area. I am the smart friend. She is the pretty one. It’s always been that way.

We stop walking and allow the car to stop in front of us. Regan steps closer and peers into the car. I begin scanning the street looking for an escape route or a police officer just in case this turns out badly.

“Damian Corrigan, you scared us! What do you want?” Regan screeches with a mixture of anger and girlish excitement.

Clearly she knows the passenger. She waves me over to the car.

I approach and stand there. I am annoyed. My feet are freezing, my back hurts from having a metal blade jammed into it for the past half hour. It is late and I am not supposed to be talking to boys in cars. Knowing Regan as I do, this has the potential to be a long drawn out encounter.

I begin tapping my frozen foot and sighing. The smoke from my exhaled breath seems to freeze in the air. I wonder for a second if I could produce smoke rings like my mother does with her cigarette.

Regan begins to giggle. It is that annoying flirty giggle of hers. She likes one of the boys. I can tell.

The slant of her hip, pushed out to the right, her leaning over, her giggling. All sure signs that Regan is flirting.

If I don’t get in on the action here, I could be forced to literally stand out in the cold.  I approach the car and finally look at who she is talking to.

Two boys, both blonde, are sitting in the front. I recognize the passenger from our class at school. Dave? Dan? Darryl? I don’t recall his name. His only memorable feature is his eyebrow piercing and the nasty lobe stretcher he has in his left ear. I have no idea who the driver is.  They glance up at me as I approach but don’t utter a word. They are too taken with Regan.

Suddenly there is movement in the backseat. Regan and I both jump back in surprise. We had no idea there was a third occupant.

“So, hey, who are you, oh dark mysterious boy in the back seat” I say. Regan snickers next to me.
Boy says nothing.

“Can you talk? Whatsa matter? Cat got your tongue?” I say. Regan snickers louder.

“Yeah. I can talk. I just don’t feel like it. You friend seemed to be doing enough for all of us”, he says.

Now it’s my turn to laugh. He has her figured out already.

“Hey! That’s not nice.” Regan says. She stomps away to the other side of the car to talk with the driver. I lean in closer and try to get a look at the dark figure in the back.

“So, what’s your name?” I ask.

“Jake”, he says.

“Do you have a last name Jake? Or are you like Prince or something?” I ask.

My approach to flirting is usually sarcasm.  While Regan giggles and coos and flips her long blonde hair, I am inspecting, attacking, offending, and defending. I like to play hard to get. I am not easily impressed by boys and could seriously live without them. Well, that’s not entirely true. I view them more as a high school social fashion accessory than something I require in my life. I want a boyfriend because you are supposed to have a boyfriend when you are high school. I don’t want a boyfriend because I have some overwhelming desire to be coddled, protected, kissed and babied. I don’t need that. I can take care of myself. I always have and I always will. I don’t NEED anyone.

“I know you” says Jake.

“Me? You know me?” I reply. “How do you know me?”

“You are Maggie Trager, aren’t you?” Jake asks.

At this point I think I feel as if I might vomit in my throat a bit.

“Maggie Trager! No. I am not Maggie Trager but I hear that every now and then” I respond.

Maggie Trager is a dumpy, frumpy, Jehovah Witness girl that also goes to our school. I am often asked if I am related to her and that is not a compliment. Oh, she is nice enough. She and her twelve siblings that live in that two bedroom apartment are all nice but she is not cool. She will never be popular. It is not a good thing to be associated with her.  She doesnt salute the flag in homeroom.

“Oh, sorry.” Jake says.

“Then who are you?” he asks.

“Celia Bensen”

“Oh, right. Yeah. I know your brother. He goes to my school. We are on the same bus together” Jake says rather excitedly.

“Oh, how nice for you” I say rather sarcastically.

“AH!” screeches Regan. “We have to go. My mother will kill me. We are way beyond late getting home. Ciao boys. Catch you on the flip side.”

Regan begins walking away from the car. I shrug my shoulders, wave goodbye to Jake and we continue on our way home.

About Her

since the first day
every word, every thought
every action
of those around.

all about her

her mother obsessed
many months
many tears
many fears

all about her

what to do with her
how to care for her
how to feed her
what to name her

all about her

grandparents plotted
how to arrange for her
what to do with her
who could care for her
who would feed her

it was all about her

her needs
her future
her full stomach
her college

it was all about her

and a broker

a broker
that calculated a price
and found a buyer
and waited
for her

it was all about her

and while she grew
far away
someone else
was placing incredible
hopes in her

it was all about her

her welfare
the joy she would provide
the wound she would heal
the price she would fetch

it was all about her

and so she went
and she grew old
and was the only her
the golden her, the prize

it was all about her

all the toys
all the love
all the power

all about her

power she wielded
basking in the glow
the spotlight
the love they gave

it was all about her.

she used the power
knew what value she had
to people
to them
to others
to those who sent her here

it was all about her

everything was about her
her needs
her life
just hers

they came when she called
gave when she asked
hugged when she was sad
wept when she was found

it was all about her

yet it wasn’t

it was never about her

it was about god
about sins
about absolution
and salvation
and being the cure

it was never about her

it was about taking
the place
of the she that could not be
for the her that could not have

it was never about her

it was about clearing
the family name
of the she that loved
too young, too unwed

it was never about her

yet it was

and always will be

yet never shall be

about her

for it never was

it was always

about them

s.bednarz/december 2007

Another Mans Crimes

I wrote this in 2003 (I think). I know Skye published it on at that time. I may have written it earlier. Its kinda self explanatory.

I should note that the person this was written about has read this. So has my daughter. He hates it. He blames me and this text for his relationship (or lack thereof) with our daughter. I understand why he would feel this. And even why she might feel this. But its real. Its truthful. Its what I felt and a very high level summary of what happened. Its not a lie.

He will have to deal with the consequences of his own actions. (And he has and still is). That all I will say. I am teetering very close to violating his privacy and breaking my own rule of not discussing him.

Anothers Mans Crimes
by S. Bednarz, 2003

He always complained about my inability to be intimate. Not just sexually or physically intimate but emotionally. He routinely stated he felt I kept him at a distance. That I never let him get close to me. That I hid behind a large emotional wall.

He knew of my childhood. He knew how badly my father had treated me. The verbal and physical abuse. The alcoholism. He was convinced that my inability to truly trust Him, to get close to Him, was my fathers fault. When we fought, He would always end it by telling me I was punishing Him for another mans crimes. He told me I was holding Him responsible for the crimes my father had committed against me. He told me we would never go anywhere in our relationship as long as I looked at Him and saw my Dad.

Maybe He was right. Correction. He was right. I did not realize that until years later when I went through my own therapy. I did not realize it until He had also committed a crime against me.

My Dad may have physically and verbally abused me. But the emotional abuse I suffered at His hand was far worse. He left me. He told me He loved me. He told me He would die without me. He wrote me great poetry, sang me great songs, showed me a kindness and a warmth I had never felt before. Convinced me He loved me like no other.

Until I got pregnant. Then He left me. He found a new girlfriend, never told his family, went on with His life as I was violently ejected from mine. Gave birth to our daughter and placed her for adoption. He just left me. With no regard for the life we had created, the emotional state He left me in, the effects of the unplanned pregnancy on my life path. Just left me. No more blaming Him for another mans crimes. He had committed his own…and left me.

Seventeen years later, I am still punishing the men in my life for the crimes of other men. I am now married to the most amazing, caring, wonderful man. I am also the mother of two sons that are as amazing as their Dad. I watch them play and my heart swells with joy. Moments pass and the swelled heart is deflated and the pain is back again. I have three great men in my life. I am still minus one daughter.

My mind wanders to Him. To her. There is a hole in my heart that will never be filled. A hole that not even my amazing sons and husband can fill. There is a sadness they did not cause, they cannot repair, yet they are faced with every day. I am punishing them by not giving them ALL of me because of what He did.

I wonder if they know.

He is still right. I do keep men at a distance. I have an emotional wall. He made sure that wall was solid before he left me