There are lives such as mine that grow from shattered seeds, weed seeds. I was born a weed into the shattered lives of my parents. When I was old enough to realize that my life was not like those around me, I learned to tell an untruth about what life was like behind the walls of my house. Telling the lie was easier than I thought, and perhaps because the lie was how I imagined my life to be. There were seven of us, and none of us are sure which blood is true. Mom had depression and severe mood swings, she indulged in a life that was dark.
She often left us for drinking and smoking with a band of lost souls. She even left us in a car outside of her favorite hole with red flickering fluorescent lights, where she enjoyed the rough swallow of fire and callused hands around her waist. My younger sister needed a bathroom, she cried in the backseat of our Ford station wagon, “I have to go potty” on one of those nights we were left to wait. So, I opened the car door and lifted her into my arms and headed toward the red flickering ominous building. The door swung open as I pushed my way inside and there, sitting in a pool of laughing smoke filled mouths sat my mother. Mom didn’t see us, but a woman who worked the bar did see us. I told her our mother was there at the bar and that my sister needed a bathroom; she was five and I was eleven.
The woman pointed toward the bathroom and shortly thereafter, unknown to anyone, proceeded to call the police. My sister’s red hair caught the lights coming out of the bar and for a minute she appeared as a Kodak negative, white face and glowing hair; her hands clutched around my neck. We got back into the car and not long after another strobe of lights flashed behind our car lighting all six of our heads bright red and our pale faces were no longer concealed. The police went into the bar to retrieve our mother from her place of pleasure. Soon, she appeared from behind the bar door with police at her side escorting her to our car. We could hear firm voices coming from the police and saw mom’s furrowed brow and tight lips. She was allowed to drive us home, but she was not happy that we went into the bar revealing that she had left us waiting in a car, in the darkness of night.
This is one story of many throughout my childhood. Mom has passed now, and her illness worsened as she and we became older. I found forgiveness for her later in my adult life, for a brain that was indeed broken. Nothing cured her mental illness, not even electric shock therapy or medications. She cannot hurt anyone anymore, not herself, not her children.
Rhonda is a poet and has been writing for most of her fifty-seven years. She has had two poems published. She has taken a creative writing class with Valley and poetry work shops through The Visual Art Center of Richmond. Rhonda would like to pursue her writing and submit her poetry manuscript for publication, a work in progress this year.