“Uh, mom? Are you okay?” I asked as nicely as I possibly could.
“I’m just fucking perfect, Lydia.” She slurred her words and stumbled around my room as if she were searching for something. I was hoping she would get whatever was on her chest out so I could settle in bed. I was in no mood and sleep began to linger.
“Your father just left. He said he wants”— Her words cut off by the flow of tears that just started. I was confused by my own feelings for my mother as I sat there and watched her cry. I hated her for being a drunk but my heart ached for her whenever she was hurt in any way. No matter what she will always be my mother and nothing will ever change that. Might as well make the best of it.
I led her to my bed so we could sit down and talk. She could barely stand up and it would have only been a matter of time before her knees gave out on her. I rubbed her back to comfort her even though what I really wanted was for her to get the hell out of my room and sleep off the whiskey.
“What’s wrong? What happened with dad?” I asked as I continued to rub her. She looked up at me with red puffy eyes and mascara stained tears.
“What happened with your dad?” She asked as if I should already know. She shrugged my hand off of her and got up with clenched fists. “What happened with your father is that he’s a piece of shit. I should have left him years ago.” She kept pacing my room in a way that made her look more like a crazy person who’s lost their way.
“Uh, mom? Maybe you should go lie down? You look pretty tired.” I suggested and immediately regretted it as she spun around to face me and stepped up as if to stomp an ant.
“You think I should what? Why? Because I’ve been drinking? Well guess what Lydia? I have never been more sane in my entire life. Your father is a cheating piece of shit and you can go with your precious daddy when he moves his shit out of here.” She said angrily as she stepped closer to me, forcing me to step back until I fell onto my bed.
“Mom, I never said I wanted to live with dad. Is that what you want? Do you want me to go?” I asked, a bit surprised that she would even suggest that since we barely even spoke on a daily basis. She stepped even closer, looming over me and placed her clenched fists on either side of me for support.
Her whiskey breath showered over my face and I turned my face away for fresh air. It was moments like these that I wished I could be anywhere else in the world. I knew my mother had her issues but this was just ridiculous and I wanted to be as far away from her as possible.
“What? You don’t like it when I get all up in your face like this? Huh?” She continued as she leaned in even closer. I had no room left to lean back and found myself lying down on my bed with my mother over me. Her hair brushed against me as she kept poking at me with her words, waiting foe me to react.
I was never much for violence, especially against my mother but she was seriously pushing my buttons and I couldn’t stand the smell of alcohol any longer. I pushed her off me and she landed right beside me on my bed. I got up quickly but to my surprise, even in her drunken state, my mother grabbed a hand full of my hair and pulled me down on the floor.
“You stupid little bitch! How dare you put your hands on me!” She screamed as she jumped on top of me and wildly began releasing her rage. I put my arms up above me to shield my face from her fists. She continued to use me as a punching bag and for a moment I thought, This isn’t really happening to me is it?
I felt a punch to my rib that felt more like a kick as I felt the air leave me. “Mom please! Stop!” I yelled as I kicked my legs up to get her off of me and she only seemed to get heavier as she sat on my midsection.
“You think I don’t know what you really think about me Lydia? I know what you really think of the woman who brought you into this world!” She continued to scream as she hit at my arms.
I wasn’t sure what she was talking about but I didn’t dare say anything as she clawed at my arms, trying to get to my face. When is this going to end? I thought to myself. “Mom, please stop.” I begged as pools of tears formed in my ears.
Much to my surprise, she let her hands drop and sat beside me, crying hysterically as if she were the one getting beat.
“I— I’m so sorry Lydia. You think of me as some terrible woman while you put your father on a pedestal. Well guess what? He’s not so fucking perfect like you make him out to be, ok. I deserve to be treated with respect. I deserve to be loved.” She sobbed as she raked a shaky hand through her hair. I was scared to move from where I lay and I could feel the aches radiating throughout my body. There will definitely be bruises tomorrow, I thought as I slowly pushed myself up with my elbows. I wanted nothing more than to escape her, to escape this hell I was in.
“I found your journal.” She said, suddenly turning the sobbing off. I looked her in utter shock and thought, No wonder she went all ballistic! I wrote about how I felt, knowing she was sleeping around and how I felt like I had no mother at all, just a strange woman who I was stuck living with.
“I know that you hate me, that you think I’m a whore. Well, blame it on your father.” She looked straight at me and I instantly felt the urge to move back but instead, I sat there, frozen. “I found out your father was having an affair about a year ago. I bet you thought your dad was so perfect, huh? Well, your father has been screwing someone else for over a year.” She looked at me as if I should somehow be sorry for her but in a way, I guess I didn’t blame my dad for wanting to find happiness somewhere else. My mother had been drinking long before all this and she wasn’t an easy person to live with.
I wasn’t sure what I should say or more so, what I shouldn’t say. I just wanted her to get out of my room.
“Mom, I”— I started but she cut me off with eyes swimming in alcohol and sadness.
“Save it, Lydia. I know you’ve always loved your father more than me. Maybe I’m too tough on you sometimes but my parents were tough on me too and it’s the only way you’ll learn to survive in this world.” She said as if she were laying out the secrets of the universe.
What a huge load of bullshit, I thought to myself. How could she just sit there and tell me all this while drunk out of her mind? I wondered how much longer my mother would live if she kept going on this way.
“Remember something, Lydia,” she began as she pushed herself up from the floor and walked to my door, “I love you and I would give my life for you, but I won’t live an empty life for much longer.” She stumbled out of my room without another word.
I immediately got up and locked my door and hoped she would pass out for the rest of the night. I looked down at the silver doorknob and made a silent wish for the lock to keep the demons out. I turned around to see what a mess my room had become and quickly started cleaning up.
I bent down to pick up some frames that fell from my dresser and picked up a photo of both my parents and me. We went out for a boat ride in downtown Miami, it was one of those tour boats that take you around to see celebrity homes. I was twelve years old and we looked so happy then. I wondered how far back their problems really went, if it was always screwed up between them.
I wasn’t sure when I started crying but it got harder to look at those familiar smiling faces once they were covered in teardrops. I wiped my eyes and finished cleaning up, not knowing if I felt more pain in my heart or my body. I hated her for doing this to me and I hated her even more because I still loved her.
I turned my bedroom light off and my purple lava lamp on and climbed under the covers. The warmth of my bed felt being kissed by the sun as I nestled into fetal position. My ribs and arms still hurt although the throbbing slowly began to fade. It was in that moment, under the safety of my sheets that I truly let go of the pain in my chest. Tears streamed across my nose and on to my pillow and I dug my face in as I let out a cry that didn’t seem like my own.
I cried so hard that my body shook and I wished it would just stop. I wanted to be freed from the pain that weighed so deep within me. How could someone be so cruel? And where was my father? My sweet, kind, and loving father who was supposed to protect me from times like these. I threw my hand over the side of my bed and felt the oversized stuffed cat he gave me and pulled it under the covers. I held it close to me in desperate need of protection. I closed my eyes and accepted that this was my life whether I wanted it or not. At least in my dreams I could escape this nightmare.
© Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Stephanie Cardozo and Stephanie Cardozo with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.