I wish someone would tell me why my mom has permission to put permanent marks on the wall in the bathroom, but I get my ass beat for drawing a beautiful cloud scene on the ceiling of my sister’s room. None of it makes any sense to me.
Mom claims the marks she put on the wall are just a record of her children’s height. Okay, maybe that’s fair enough, but my reasons are just as good. My drawing is a record of what the sky looked like on the day I made the the drawing.
And to add insult to my already injured 14-year-old ego, I got my ass beat a second time when I decided to go back and put a date on the inside of one of the clouds. Mom has a nasty swing like a prizefighter and it hurt like hell.
I tried to explain to her that my drawing was like a work of art and that it was also pleasing to the eye, unlike those marks she scribbled on the wall. I added that our house already looked junky enough, and nobody cared about the height of her children. My clouds, on the other hand, had artistic value.
As soon as those words escaped my mouth I ran out the door to avoid ass beating number three. I could hear her yelling in the background, threatening me about things that were going to happen to me in the near future.
Three beatings in one day was too much to ask and it was something I wasn’t going to tolerate. I realized how bad it was when I noticed a little blood in my pee last week. My tender backside couldn’t take any more.
After I ran out of the house, I stayed outside behind the barn for the next few hours and I talked to myself. My experience with mom told me it could take her a while to cool down.
Why can’t we be like normal people?
I had asked myself that question plenty of times.
Why can’t we write down the results of the height measurements in a notebook? Wouldn’t normal people do it that way? We could keep it that way to go back and compare the numbers, couldn’t we?
I had to regularly remind myself that my family was anything but normal.
Recently, I tried to talk about my family problems with the school counselor, and I mostly told her how unreasonable and mean my mom could be. I don’t think the message was taken seriously.
“I’m making this beautiful artwork and my mom just makes marks on the wall,” I told the counselor, who stared at me without blinking. “I think it’s obvious I’m the mature one in the family, but I’m the one who always gets a whipping.” The silence in the room had been disturbing, but I was determined to keep talking.
I shifted in my seat and looked out the window, trying hard to finish my thoughts. It was tough talking to someone who didn’t blink.
“I’m polite to everyone I know and I help others when they need it,” I said, watching the rain. I felt the counselor’s eyeballs on me and I decided to get real and let it all out.
“I feel like my mom just hates me and wishes I’d never been born,” I squeaked. Tears welled up in my eyes, but I did feel a bit of relief that I had finally said it to another person.
“Our time is up and your appointment is at the same time next week,” she said, her voice never deviating from a place of boredom. She handed me an appointment card. “Come back sooner if you have an emergency but be sure to call first and make an appointment,” she droned.
I left the room quickly, cramming the card in my front pocket.
Mom didn’t deserve to be a parent. Bad things always happen to me and I’m a good person. I was walking fast and getting closer to home.
The anger seemed to be localized in the front of my head as little images of mom’s marks on the wall were prominent in my thoughts. I felt a slight headache pushing to invade my entire head.
When I got home I heard mom talking in a high pitched voice. She was on the phone, gossiping loudly with one of her friends.
I peered in the kitchen and immediately noticed the smell of marijuana. She had the pipe in her hand and was exhaling a large amount of smoke. Her voice was silly and strained, and I could tell she was well on the way to being stoned.
The events of the evening were all too familiar. The couch would soon become her best friend and the volume of the music would increase to a level worthy of being called noise pollution.
Her behavior was so familiar and predictable, and I dreaded these times. I quietly walked past the kitchen to find some peace and quiet.
My body shivered as I walked by the bathroom, home to the markings on the wall. There were so many marks and very few of them indicated the person who was being measured. I saw my initials. I wasn’t even good enough to have my name written.
I tried to put my thoughts together. The worst thing I had to deal with in the immediate future was mom’s paranoia and I wasn’t looking forward to it. The behavior could be unbearable, especially when she started accusing me of unthinkable things.
The counselor had told me mom’s paranoid behavior was probably pot-induced, and that some strains of marijuana made it worse. All I knew was the result was always the same: paranoia followed by arguments followed by ass beatings.
I really do love my mom and that’s why I made sure she was out of the house the next night before I lit the match.
The furniture and carpet had been soaked in gasoline and I splashed a bit over mom’s markings and watched the liquid drip down the wall. It had been a messy venture, but needed to be done. I tell ya, I’ve had enough but I finally feel free.