Wednesday, January 30, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Real Life in Comparison

In the real world my friends scoffed at my online life and my mother rolled her eyes as I sat at my desk chattering away about what had happened the night before in the Parlor. She sneered openly when I received a tape cassette from Yak and glared at me when I ran to put it on the tape player. As the sounds of The Phantom Of The Opera eased out into the back workroom of the store – she turned away and pursed her lips. She tried to find out what was written on the card he had sent along, but I tucked it away and refused to speak about it. I knew it was hopeless, but somewhere down deep inside me I dreamed of the impossible.

My mother’s scorn for my lonely life knew no bounds. Every day I took my nephew to school and arrived at the store at 8:20. I then worked throughout the day without a proper lunch or coffee break. I never left the store unless it was on business. Many nights I worked until 11pm and then hurried home so I could find a friend in the chat room. My nephew would catch a ride with his grandma and look after himself once he was home. I didn’t have to baby-sit him and I was grateful. I tried everything I could to please my Mom – and nothing worked. It was never good enough.

I met the men who responded to my ad in the Companions section of the newspaper in the mall. I figured that I was safe with a multitude of shoppers wandering around and that I could always feign a need to return to work immediately if I didn’t like the person. Even though I never was gone for more than 10 minutes, these meetings made my mother furious. I was wasting her money when she signed my paycheck – out gallivanting around the mall like a hussy. She was much like my father in that respect. She just didn’t want to see me with anyone. One day during a vehement argument, she raised her hand and drew it back as if to strike me. I looked her in the eyes and said “It wouldn’t be the first time, would it Mom.” She lowered her hand and turned away, unaware of the horrified stares of the staff. I was so embarrassed by the whole event that I wanted to sink through the floor.

I was not even in the running when it came to being a ‘good’ child. My brother took this category hands down, and I never blamed him. He was good to everyone – no matter what. He had remained living on the farm so he could help our father out with the work, and be there for our mother in all those lonely months when Dad wasn’t speaking to her. Granted – I thought he had it good in many ways. No mortgage, no living expenses, a cook. I also knew it wasn’t any picnic dealing with our parents on a day-to-day basis and I didn’t envy his choice in living there.

Still, the other two siblings rated so high on the ‘good’ scale that my own rating could not even been seen when compared to theirs. Both of the sisters were very religious, and my mother loved this. It did not matter one iota that their actions in no way represented their beliefs. When they quoted the bible to her she simply beamed! I on the other hand was known for flying off at the mouth and saying words that she considered evil. I had worked so long in the bar that foul language came just as easily out of my mouth as did everything else. I toned it down for work, but once I got angry, I often forgot. I tried to live my life in the manner that I believed in. With honesty. I didn’t fake bible quotations and then not go to church. I wasn’t on the look-out for my 3rd husband. I didn’t lie. It just isn’t in me. There was so much bad history between the three girls that we held an uneasy truce just to get through the days. I seemed to have always been battling constantly with everyone in my family, just to hold my own ground. Everyone that is, except my brother.


Sweet Irene said...

I find it hard to figure out your family. I am sure you are leaving a lot of things unsaid, maybe to protect them. They sound like irrational people, yet somehow they manage to get through life. And somehow you stayed with them and worked your butt off for them and managed to survive that. It is all so dysfunctional that it sounds very odd and I am trying to wrap my mind around it. Somehow you all needed each other, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes there is no pleasing another person. We can't please everyone, but when we want assurance of our self worth, we go to those who are suppose to love us the most. The sad thing is, they are people too, flawed and hurting, broken and clawing their way into some kind of self worth. Unfortunately, some choose to gain their self-worth in the destruction of the ones they are suppose to love. Still, we just want to be good enough.

I Beatrice said...

I never cease to marvel at the apparent insouciance of religious people - who always seem so perfectly confident that their own 'take' on goodness is the right one!

It must have been very hard to grin and bear - but we all, your readers, have reason to be very grateful that you did!

I'm hanging-on in here anyway. Enjoying the bad times (well, the reading-about them, at least) - safe in the knowledge that the good ones will come.

Take your own sweet time about it though - you can afford to do so now, having us all well and truly hooked!

Joy T. said...

I waited. Then I came back so I could read a few 'pages' at once. Ohhhhh I love coming here! I can't turn the pages fast enough to see what's happening next :o)

Lola said...

I'm still here, lurking and reading. Hindsight is a murky filter, but loyalty to kin seems to me to be a quality that is too highly regarded. I admire your tenacity, your honesty, your ability to be objective. And the quality of your writing, of course!

Anonymous said...

Loneliness is something we all go through at one time or another, sometimes unable to recognise it.

You write so well.

Crystal xx

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I can only hope that something in you was being satisfied in some way by being where you were. Your family sounds unpleasable at best and downright sadistic at worst.

aims said...

Irene - It is hard to believe that families like this actually exist. I think mine had a lot of mental instability in it that was never addressed. But I still find it hard to believe their treatment of me. I never could figure it out.

Dawn - Absolutely right.

Dearest B - I remember starting this with the idea I was going to write about how wonderful The Man is. Now it has turned into a form of catharsis and a constant goad in the rear to get at my writing.

Joy - (smile)

Lola - It still amazes me that people think you have to be loyal to someone because of blood.

Crystal - Some of us just plain refuse to admit to loneliness. If we did - we might be able to deal with it better. I'm not sure about that either though.

RC - Funny you should say that. There were many times I asked myself why I stayed. Many.