Catharsis

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 – 1:12 pm

I don’t remember her name. She starred in the opening scene and wasn’t even a regular in North Sea. I just remember she was a new girl, ridiculously cute and petite. I know I really wanted to sleep with her.

Her summer job was watching a house or dog or baby or other helpless object at the end of Fresh Pond Lane. When she invited me over, I assumed it was for my great looks and charm. Once all my weed turned to ash, it magically refreshed her memory of having a college aged boyfriend.

Awesome! What’s his fucking name?! Hahaha!

Ever the gentleman, I mostly held my tongue and huffed off to the party already in progress at the end of memory lane. It was no longer light inside or out and I felt a familiar itch for destruction.

In the best winters, Little Fresh Pond freezes over and infests with skaters, drunkards and even a foolhardy truck or two. The ubiquitous bmx boys and I would pedal for hours, fishtailing about slipping sots with our ever toxic levels of freedom and hubris.

I had cash as I worked full time at nearby Sal’s Market. Google Maps now says Sal’s is a Schmidt’s Seafood. I remember driving by it in a rental car in March of 2015, the last time I saw my father alive.

While the store was still Sal’s, it gave me a brief haven to mature. I cut steaks, perfected New York deli sandwiches, bagged ice, stocked shelves, broke labor laws, and even opened at sunup and locked up at night. I treated it like my own place.

You will learn I have been blessed my whole life with unusually strong women friends of every age. One such matriarch owned Sal’s Market of North Sea in the eighties. She took me under her wing and offered sanctuary and slightly raised chances of surviving my teens. Not quite old enough to be my grandmother, Evelyn Honnett had short brown hair and mischievous, striking blue eyes, light and full of life. She was stern, but fair and ever kind. I could not recall many days missing her laughs or smiles.

The first time I asked her for a raise, she bearhugged me, lifted me off the ground and cackled with our faces way too damned close. I did not like this joke. I felt it lacked something, like maybe the joke part. But I still cared for her and admired her greatly. I worked hard, mostly to make her proud. Forced to courtesy laugh at her “give me a raise” pun, I calmly repeated, “Haha great, I still want more money.”

After my cute weed moocher broke my heart earlier in the night, I predicted part of me and that week’s paycheck were doomed to form frozen, rancid puddles of beer, bile and burning spirits.

I hear the demons clanging their cages near the ice and snow. I see a figure like mine falling face first into the fire at the edge of a lake. The orange and blues flicker and refuse time, either to dim or dry. My ghosts gather and stumble there each full moon, their clear countenances ever bowed with concern and confusion.

I woke up some hours later to the sound and feel of scraping below. Slush and mud trenches were gouging fresh under my boots’ steel toes as two midnight shadows floated with me through the most familiar yard. All of me hurt. My jean jacket was both torn and burnt. My hands and face were swollen and bleeding.

Key key door get his key door get the door open it just I got it shut the hell up grab him lift get him up the steps move okay now set him down on the kitchen floor oh god what’s he doing stop him grab him fuck what the fuck is he doing shit fuck fuck get his parents get out of here run run where the fuck are his parents

“What the fuck are you doing?!” someone eventually screamed.

I returned to earth just long enough to see our new glass flooring gleaming throughout, accented with sheetrock and blood. Then I slept again, deep with the rest only the wicked enjoy.

In a fevered dream, I watched a young man’s hand dive in the cool surface of one more window pane. Then the boy was raptured. He flew upward to heaven for the briefest dream. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he was more weightless than he had felt in most his youth.

But we always crash back down.

A hundred year old chair surrendered to the impact of my ribs and back and yet barely woke me. I looked up from under the kitchen table and recognized my night’s newest assailant was my father. He quickly escalated to body slamming me and breaking furniture.

I looked down at the splintered legs, back and antique seat splayed under me and had an epiphany. I realized for the first time that night, I no longer felt any pain. I welcomed the irony and burst into laughter. Before I blanked, I spit blood and taunts once more at my attacker.

I woke up minutes or hours later in my bed. To my right, a caveman had left wet fistprints on the side of my dresser. They begged an answer, like gory rorschachs in red and unread messages. The sheetrock to my left boasted many fresh punctures, wormholes to every possible trauma, carefully kissed with just a hint of red lace around the curved edges of a dozen new wounds.

Convincing a true monster to leave is impossible after inviting them into the light. They somehow know they can never quite find a way back home and remain ever vigilant, however wounded, deaf and blind.

Stop jesus oh god why is he doing that is he even awake oh god stop him we need to go the hospital alcohol poisoning what did you have what did you take did you take more acid did you take more LSD we want to help you stop him he is doing it again jesus stop him stop him look at the blood hold his arms down before he breaks his hands

I woke once more to my arms pinned and dad yelling at me to stop punching. My mom quickly appeared with his pipe. He lit it, put it in front of me and asked me to take a hit to see if it would calm me down. After a few hits, I looked up and tried to force him to say the one thing I needed to hear my whole life.

“You… you never fucking loved me,” I accused.

I still remember the look of shock on his face and how it would never be enough. He leaned down to awkwardly hug me for a moment, the first in a decade. He muttered the most his pride could afford.

“That’s… not true.”

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