When he dialogues with her in the background, I feel like scratching my own fucking ears off as if they were sinful eyes in need of gouging out. He talks to her as if she is less than human and definitely nothing like a woman. He has imbedded his scornful and hurtful words into her head and not only changed her opinion of herself, but he has also taken the drive in her right out. I am not sure at what point she crossed a line of no return, but it definitely happened.
There are days when our random conversations somehow mold into her claiming her ugliness like a broken badge of honor. There are times when she refers to herself in third person as if the person she is talking about is three people from the edge. She’s at the edge but she’s also not going to jump….although there are times where I wonder if she has ever thought about it. One of my favorite homemade sayings, which was taken from a poem I wrote, is “It aint suicide if you can fly.” But if you can’t fly…..if your wings have been pushed into the ground where the worms and bottom feeders have deducted every feather from being attached, if you jump, it might just be suicide. And sometimes, I wonder how many times she has taken at least one foot off the ground.
Remembering the years I spent fighting and arguing with a man over my right to breath….my right to BE…..to exhale and inhale without it being such a big issue….remembering how angry my reflection had become….how I would stand in the mirror and bawl out crying, snot and tears pitching themselves off my face and into oblivion…..i remember how hard it was to find me again. I remember how stuck I was….how I would not leave for one reason or another, but each reason being something so significant that it qualified me to stay for good reasons. #NOT. Remembering those days and that last year brings a dose of melancholy over me that is hard to rid myself of in a phone call. When I talk to her, I am like a child witnesses the reduction of my aunt’s goals and dreams.
Her legs are long. Her beauty is still there, although in her earlier years, she was a Fashion Fair make up lover who never went anywhere without her Plum lipstick. She had a bathroom fit for a queen with a long double sink and wall to wall mirrors. She gave herself facials and gave them to me, even when I didn’t want them and was too young to understand their importance. She loved me. She still does. She used to model and family says she used to sing and had one of the most beautiful songbird voices there was. I used to hear her humming the words to any Luther Vandross song and try to envision a glimpse of her singing in front of people, like maybe she should have gone on to do. She had a major crush on Luther and one of the easiest gifts to buy her was his new tape/cd. It was no fail assignment. She had so much life left in her. Even in her 50’s, 60,s, she was still a woman of amazing grace and beauty. She taught me things about womanhood that I received from no where else. Its only as an adult who occasionally finds herself wondering where she learned XYZ from that I realize a great deal came from her. She wanted a daughter. But she was with someone that I don’t think she could fathom being tied to in such a way.
And yet the anchor still holds her. The love left the port many moons ago and I think the only thing left is the footprints of what was once unconditional. She’s been berated….disrespected. …she’s been told she’s ugly….she’s nothing like she used to be. ….she looks like a tramp and no one, including her niece, wants to be around her. …..she’s been told she’s not sick when she was…..she’s been told what hospital to pick, how to park her car, where to put her mail….how to use her cane…..she’s been pulled from the mirror and thrown into it……pieces of her are probably still scattered along her bathroom walls.
How one could be so evil, so mean spirited and so anything but of God is baffling……or maybe the baffle comes in, in how one can stay around such, day in and day out…..or….maybe the true baffle is in how the beloved niece manages to still love the man who she hates how he treats her aunt. Her last remaining, seventy something year old aunt. The aunt who no longer believes there is anything beautiful about her. In easy conversations, the damage he has done to her becomes more and more evident the longer the call. Its like walking thru the park with a battered woman and suggesting she run like hell while you keep cover….and that battered woman just keep walking, one slow step at a time, with you. She no longer knows what freedom is or what it means…..hell, even she does, the fear that has now entered her existence in place of the strong, fuck you attitude that used to be there has altered her ability to see beyond the now. How would she move on? Where would she go ? What if she gets too lonely and no one comes over for days or weeks at a time??? What if she falls and there is no one there to help her ??? What if she can’t reach the phone or hear the door or what if she just needs some in house help ???? The saddest thing about getting older is the idea that no one will be there to help you when you need it…..
But to become institutionalized in a relationship that is deadly to your emotional capabilities has to be more damaging and scary than the POSSIBILITY that no one will be there when you are alone……her sisters have died and the one left is the hard ass but even she, deep down and not too far from the surface, wants her sister to pack up and leave……but he’s sick too……what if HE needs help….what kind of person are you if you leave a person who can’t read the words on his medicine bottle and has suffered (and survived) prostate cancer? ???
She has all but settled into letting her life end this way…..day by day, she sounds less confident that things will get better, whether its her health or just her living. Bits and pieces of her are still lying on the bathroom floor next to the empty tube of Fashion Fair Plum lipstick…….she wishes she had stopped to save herself years ago and maybe today wouldn’t be as it is……they are too old to throw punches…..so he slings words like IED’s that detonate on emotional contact. People say words only hurt if you allow them too…..
Clearly those people have the strength and will power of Goliath. Truth is, for LOTS of people, it’s not about “allowing” words to hurt……sometimes, words just hurt…..and before you know it, many years of hurtful words have passed and now ….all you know is to be numb from hurting.
I can’t help but wonder how often it is that she cries. Todays phone call that consisted of me and her, no three way, turned into a ménage trios of me, her and the background noise of him responding to things being said to me. His attitude, his interruption, his eagerness to argue pissed me off too easily. When she repeated my response to such, which I am usually able to contain, all I could do was shake my head on my side of the telecommunication while listening to him get even more fired up. All I wanted to say is STOP FUCKING WITH MY AUNT BEFORE I INTRODUCE YOU TO A BRAND NEW ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But its hard to do that
When you love people the way I do. And how, on Gods green and un-green Earth, I am still able to love this man….as my uncle….as one of the only uncles I’ve ever had any real relationship with…..is like fighting with your reflection in the mirror…..there aint shit you can do to change it. 0_o I mean I LOVE my uncle…..my uncle loves me…..he always has…..he still will drop everything to tell some old wacky ass story about me growing up on the race track with him. He named one of his racing horses after me. Kendria’s Killer.
Ahhhh, the irony.
But he loves me…..I am not in doubt or wonder of that….and I love him back…..my relationship with men has always been topsy tervy, so the undying love I have for my uncle, the same man who appears throughout this blog as a monster, will likely not be challenged by his actions……but his actions, by the same token, are challenging me. Not my love, but me.
The woman in me.
The been there done that in me.
the why must you talk to my aunt like that me.
The WOMAN in me…….. and I meant to say that twice.
May you continue to watch over my aunt. One day she will no longer be here with me. ….and that is one of the scariest days I look no forward to. But more scarier than her “going up to yonder’, is her leaving this earth, having lived these last decades as an emotionally battered and broken woman. Today, I heard it. I heard the defeat in her voice. I heard her body literally throw its hands up in the air and just say “auggghgghhh” …..she asked me to never let any man treat me the way my uncle treats her. I wanted to tell her, “I already have, but I ended up letting go 4 years later.” God I ask you that if there is any healthy way to keep my aunt here and keep my uncle here and yet not have them together, I ask your mercy to be. No woman deserves this treatment.
And especially not the long legged beauty with the crush on Luther Vandross that I have known all my life as my favorite aunt. May peace protect her mind.
May You protect her life.
And may I one day climb out of my shell and inspire her to just leave so she can finish LIVING while she still has life left.