Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Night Watchman



  I do not know when I first realized my mother did not like other females. I remember when I was five a pretty blonde woman moved in next store to us. She was tall and thin with long, flowing hair. I was enamored. I never spoke to her, I was not allowed. Looking back, she must have been in her mid 20's b and my mother hated her. She called her "that stupid broad".  I did not understand it at the time. I do not believe my mother ever had a female friend. None that I can remember. Every female was met with the same hostile apprehension. It was about my father,  I know that now. He could not be trust around any female no matter her age. It must have been exhausting, the keen eye she was constantly compelled to impose on herself. A sort of night watchman constantly making the rounds. Endlessly casting a jaundice eye upon other women. Clearly she wore blinders. There were things she simply refused to see. She simply refused to accept the reality of her world. She made herself inwardly small as she grow outwardly large. Never seeming to connect the two things, her marriage and her weight. And her never tiring suspicions. There is a part of me that even now, feels a sadness for that ghost mother I barely remember. The woman child who had a rough and tumble start and just kept tumbling. Everything she grasped seemed to slip away and she hurtled on into the deep well of despair where I cannot reach her. I am sorry for who she became and who she could have been. She limited herself, folding herself over and over. Sacrificing her children, her happiness and I think her sanity to the ideal of a perfect love that never was. And so in that slap dash editing of reality there simply was no place for friends. Friends could not be trusted. They may steal from you. Because that is what people in her world did. First one daughter and then another taking from her. That is as far as I can possibly peer into that deep hole that my mother occupies. I can not comprehend the  thought process that brought her to that dismal conclusion. My ship can not venture into that place. And in truth I have no desire to understand that land so filled with puss and fevered thought. When I do ponder her life though, I doubt she ever had many friends. Growing up the oldest of six and responsible for her mother's brood. There could not have been time. And of course her early voyage into motherhood only set her further apart from her peers.

  Being a pregnant teenager in the 1950's must have been akin to having leprosy. When my first, then husband and my own pretend friend betrayed me, it hurt. It was very hard for me to take in the treturous acts of those whom I had placed the most trust in. I did not give trust easily and for a time I too took up a watchmen's post. Thank goodness this was before cell phones and text messages. There was no internet to further send my own suspicious mind reeling. I spent a year or two marking that path. Watching the clock. Constantly working out the time needed to get from his work to home, from the house to the store. Allotting ten minutes to get in and out with milk in hand. It was jarring. In the end I simply could not do it. The constant side glance and listening at doors. I became angry. Not just with my then, husband, but with myself. That is not who I wanted to be. I was changing myself, sneaking and lurking and in the end I just was not up to the task. I let him go and I vowed I would never, never allow another person send me on that path to unrest and mistrust again. I still get a little twinge now and again. For a moment here and there I wonder about motives and other's intent and if I can not find peace within myself then I let that person go. It is a very easy choice. I can be miserable alone. I do not need someone else to make me feel less than.

  I ran into a little trust issue this weekend. All in all my small vacation was full of opportunities to try and hone my skills in dealing with others. Which is something I am constantly working on. My first challenge came in the guise of praise. Beware those that give praise too freely. Their lavish use of language lets you know exactly how little they value words. A new reader found me here. I do not know the hows or the whys, she just dove in in the middle of our tale and rummaged around. This happens sometimes, someone will peer back at all those blog entries and just decide to pick a random spot and move forward. When they message me, and I know most will, to ask how this happened, or who is this person? I always send them back to the beginning. It is far easier on both of us. And so just like before, I thanked this person and sent them back to the start and waited. She quickly messaged back. She was excited and fairly glowed at her wonder of my story. I started to get uneasy, but I thanked her and appreciated her kindness. But, she was far from done with me. She messaged again, my story needed to be told. People NEEDED to know this. I explained my process of nipping and tucking and learning to make this simple blog into something more. She wanted to help, she wanted to share me with her readers. That is right, she too was a blogger and she had an audience. I asked her to send me what she thought she would like to post, as she made it clear just pointing her readers here was not enough. Of course she would. She wanted to help me. Now, I got that last message at dinner on my phone and it worried me. I prayed for our entrees to hurry and get served because I knew I needed to get back to my laptop. This was supposed to be a nice dinner. My husband and I had looked forward to it, but I could not concentrate on the warm bread and candlelight. The crisp linen napkins and fresh flowers only irritated me further. I tried to act interested, to enjoy the company of my best friend to no avail. I shared my concerns...I pulled at the clothe in my lap. First wringing it and then smoothing it flat.

  Peng tried to make me feel better. Assured me it would be fine. I was worrying for nothing. I had never felt this before. I am not territorial by nature and so I tried to hold on to this wise man's words and just breathe. Sometimes when you have the feeling that something is not quite right well you are unfortunately correct. I passed up my Husband's offer to do a little shopping in order to get back to our hotel. I had my laptop booted up in no time. Instead of the message she had promised, there was a notification that she had posted to my facebook wall. I little annoyance crept into my mood. Just a flicker at first. This was not what we had agreed upon. But I clicked on her little link and went to her blog. Reading aloud to my husband. My mind racing over my life presented in someone else's words. Except, they weren't her words. Now, let me just cop to the fact that I do not read and reread my blog entries. If you have been here long, you know that. I write it and may share it with my hubs if he is around and then I hit post and move on. I have more things to say. So keeping that in mind, looking at this rewrite of a blog I had written over two months ago, probably 40 entries ago, I got the feeling This was too familiar. There was too much of my own phraseology in her story. And then there was a short paragraph which was word for word my blog. I was uneasy. I messaged her and then I commented on the blog. I gave a link to my blog. And I stewed. I read and reread her blog. I reread my own. I was not happy. I asked a few trusted readers to give their thoughts. I may be overreacting. I did not wish to be rash. That little spot in my brain, which most assuredly had been shrunken could not be trusted. I need a consensus. It came quickly. With a loyalty and a love that I am as yet unworthy of I received messages.

  My readers were no more happier than I was. In fact a few were even more angry than I had been. And so I sent another message. I explained to this blogger that I appreciated her exuberance and passion, but not her execution of my story. I had already written it. I was not looking for a rewrite. She seemed to hear me and i thought that that was that. I tried to settle into this mini vacation my husband had given me. And yet I could not. I went back to her blog, one last itme before going to sleep and there it was. More of my words this time chopped up. Sandwiched in between stock photos of strangers . Sentences had been moved around facts reversed. I was angry. Beyond angry this was my life. It had taken me years, decades to pour this all out and someone had stolen it and reworked it? And there at the bottom of her entry that was all about a version of me a counterfeit copy of me. Was her plan. She was going to write an entire section all about me. I was too stunned for speech. Words that I usually find so easily would not come. That is always bad with me. It means there is a storm ahead. And indeed there was.

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